I have read many books on the campaigns fought by Easy Company, in World War 2, put it this way, I have read fifteen so far. There are still five to be reviewed on my list that I have not done yet, so here is the first one.
Darrell Powers was the legendary sharpshooter from Band of Brothers, and rumour has it, he was used as inspiration for the sharpshooter in Saving Private Ryan too. Darrell, aka Shifty, was a quiet man, and well respected.
There have been some comments I have seen in book reviews, about how it is written in the first person, and after Shiftys death. However, if you have seen Band of Brothers, if you have heard Shifty talk on the documentaries, you will note that the language in this book is an accurate reflection of Shifty and his tone and inflection of words.
The words that come through the pages of Marcus Brotherton`s exquisite book, hand you everything. You get to know who Shifty is as a boy. Who Shifty was as a man. Marcus, through his research and interviews with other members of Easy Company, are able to share Shiftys experiences as a soldier. From family and friends, we get to hear of Shifty the family man. Shifty, the devoted friend. We hear how a young country boy from Clinch, Virginia, killed 8 men before he was twenty two.
I could hear Shifty in my head, reading this book to me. In my head as I was reading, I imagined myself sitting in his lounge room, or on his back porch having a coffee and listening to his stories. I dont want to say the book was easy to read, because no war memoir should be, but it was an insightful read.
Sgt Powers family commissioned this book and so the author, Marcus Brotherton, knew he had mountains of research that he needed to do. Shiftys family were beautifully open with the author, sharing everything they had. The author spoke with friends and acquaintances of Shifty, as well as the members of Easy Company that were surviving at the time. Marcus Brotherton spoke with Peter Youngblood Hills, who was gifted the honour of playing Shifty in Band of Brothers.
This book is up there with the best of the best, as far as Easy Company books go. While others were more military based, more procedural, (due of course to the people that they were discussing), this book was personable. It felt like a conversation. That can only be achieved through such thorough research and great writing.
Marcus Brotherton: Thank you for your words.
Sgt. Shifty Powers: Thank you for your service Sir.