The Legendary Battles of a Sergeant from World War II`s "Band of Brothers"
This book, co authored by Don Malarkey and Bob Welch is such a fascinating insight into the life of one man – Don Malarkey. You will know the name Malarkey of course from HBOs Band of Brothers series (2001).
Don Malarkey was originally drafted in 1942 and headed to Camp Toccoa in Georgia. D-Day morning saw him parachuting into France displaying some of the most incredible heroism.
He fought for 23 days in Normandy, 80 in Holland, 39 in Bastogne, and around 30 in Haugenau. This book details his life, the battles and life after.
This book is a fascinating telling of the most horrific times in history. It is beautifully told and flows incredibly well. Malarkey writes better than many well known writers I have read. Out of all the ‘Band’ books I have read (and there are many I`ve read!), this is one of my favourites. There are several reasons. Here are just a few.
Malarkey shows respect to officers through his words and actions, even those he had a distain for such as Captain Sobel. Malarkey talks about how “he did what we did” and “it filled you with pride. he was hardening us for times to come” but the biggest respect shown was “I wondered if he wasn’t the reason some of us were still alive”
Malarkey doesn’t hold anything back. One quote sticks out to me. it is “Though we tried like hell, we couldn’t leave war behind, at least permanently. It came after us like a rogue wave”. He demonstrated that war followed him everywhere.That he couldn’t switch off for a moment.
Malarkey talks of not only the physicality of war but the mental scarring that it leaves. While other memoirs have focused on the grittiness of battle, Malarkey focuses on its effects on the man. He talks of looking at a photo of 117 men after the war, and tells of how he wrote KIA (Killed in action) and SWA (seriously wounded in action) on the chest of the men. He tells how he was left with fewer that two dozen men that had nothing written on their chest on the photo. Survivors Guilt.
While other ‘Band’ books focus on timelines, battles and the strategies used, this book focuses in something else, the man behind the battle. We also get the absolute privilege of learning of the humanity of that man, as well as his dedication to his family and friends.
Don Malarkey – thank you for your words, your integrity and your honesty.
Thank you for your service.