A Band of Brothers: Stories from Vietnam

A Band of Brothers: Stories from Vietnam

A Band of Brothers: Stories from Vietnam

A Band of Brothers: Stories from Vietnam


Walt McDonald's A Band of Brothers sheds light on the Vietnam war through the eyes of a pilot in painstaking detail. Memorable characters struggle to hang on to life and humanity in the face of a brutal war.


War has always been hard to understand. Why here? Why now? Why in this way? Why me? And, above all, why in the name of God and humanity can’t we seem to live without it?

War has also been hard to explain. Writing about war to someone who has never been in war is like explaining marriage to a eunuch. It’s a different world. It’s a doubly different world because military life is already difficult enough to explain, and wartime military life is distinctly different from peacetime military life.

It’s particularly difficult explaining war to Americans because most Americans know little of war. No living and native-born American has seen bombs falling on his neighborhood, enemy troops marching down his street, or tanks rolling across his lawn. Most American citizens do not know what war looks like or feels like or smells like. It is doubly difficult to explain war to Americans because, unfortunately, they think they do know.

They think they know what war is like because they live in the age of information and they have the facts. They have seen war as it has been represented by artists. They have seen paintings of the sweep and grandeur of battle, with flags waving and generals prancing on white horses. But the lines are too clean, the colors too bright, and no matter how accurate, paintings convey none of the stench, the incredible carnage, the shrieks and moans of the frightened, the wounded, and the dying.

They have read poems glorifying heroes and heard the songs of the victors. Poetry, trapped in its very form, lends refinement to horror, as in Dylan Thomas’s “A Refusal to . . .

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