My Life Before, During and After the Band of Brothers
Author: Lynn "Buck" Compton
If I said ‘Band of Brothers’ I’d lay odds that the first soldier that would come to your mind would be Major Richard Winters. However, I would strongly urge you to look deeper into Easy Company. Yes Richard Winters may be well known. We know Sobels reputation from the series. But what about Buck Compton? Who was he? Was the man on screen, the man he was? This book will give you all the answers you’re looking for.
This book is beautifully written. It doesn’t pretend to be something it isn’t. Mr Compton is the first to say that he doesn’t want to repeat everything that other Easy Company veterans have said. This book is honest. The events and people of his life grace the pages from his parents through to his wife, children, grandchildren, friends and more.
What I love of this book is simple. It’s bare bones of Easy Company but all about the man that Mr Compton was. Exactly what a true memoir should be. What else do I love? The book feels like a conversation. I feel as if I could be sitting with my dad or grandad, chatting about his life. It’s a comfortable book in that respect. The authors tone and words see to that. This book is also incredibly rich with life and experiences.
The nice thing I found reading this book was that while there were name drops here and there, Chaplin and Lamarr being just two, they were talked about discreetly. No scandal. No titbits of gossip. Through his words Mr Compton simply said ‘I met these people in my life and here’s what happened’. His life as a prosecutor was something of legend, with him being on the Sirhan Sirhan trial following Robert Kennedy’s assassination. He has had several careers in life, all incredibly interesting.
His life in Easy Company was something I had seen portrayed on screen and I was looking to understand the man behind that screen persona. I have seen a review that stated “he used the book to refute his portrayal in the TV series”. This was the correct thing to do. It needed to be refuted.
As a reader, I was happy to see how Mr Compton corrected what we had seen in Band of Brothers. It helped me to understand not only who he was, but how incidents that happened affected him. The piece that I really wanted to understand from Mr Comptons book was the shelling in Bastogne, and the injuries to Bill Guarnere and Joe Toye. Mr Compton shares words of how he was first on the scene and how it affected him. To use a quote of Mr Comptons “I didn’t walk off the line after that. I ran”.
His life was certainly something incredibly special. How many people can claim to have been fired by Charlie Chaplin? His life as a child actor. His life as an athlete. His post war career as detective, prosecutor and judge. What a resume. Punctuate that with three years of service during the war, and you have one hell of a life.
Thank you Sir, for your service.