Stephen Ambrose

I’ve been terribly distracted lately, but did manage to finish a book before the end of the month. Band of Brothers was sometimes a little hard for me to follow. I don’t know much about the military. For example, if I can’t correlate a rank to a character on M*A*S*H then I won’t know who is the boss of whom. A major is higher than a captain, because Frank Burns somehow outranked Hawkeye. The colonel (Potter) is in charge. A corporal (Klinger) is higher than a private (Radar). That’s all I’ve got. I also can’t identify weapons or vehicles. It turned out to be very helpful that I’d seen the miniseries. Having Damon handy would have been even more helpful. His dad was in the Navy and he knows a lot more about military matters than I do. (I do know that the book is not about the Navy.) But most of my reading happened on the subway so I was on my own.

All that said, it’s a moving book. My Grandpa fought in WWII and was awarded a Purple Heart when he got shot running out from cover to save a wounded fellow soldier. He wasn’t a paratrooper, but his story (which he only told once as far as I know) gave me a more visceral touchstone for books like this.

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20 responses to this post.

  1. I think Radar was also a corporal. The MASH flow chart is a pretty good idea. I get confused with naval rankings, which I have to apply to Star Trek characters.

    Reply

  2. I think Radar was also a corporal. The MASH flow chart is a pretty good idea. I get confused with naval rankings, which I have to apply to Star Trek characters.

    Reply

    • What a great tip about Star Trek. I only know James Kirk’s rank, but knowing they’re based on naval rank will make me pay more attention next time Damon is watching.

      Reply

    • What a great tip about Star Trek. I only know James Kirk’s rank, but knowing they’re based on naval rank will make me pay more attention next time Damon is watching.

      Reply

    • What a great tip about Star Trek. I only know James Kirk’s rank, but knowing they’re based on naval rank will make me pay more attention next time Damon is watching.

      Reply

    • What a great tip about Star Trek. I only know James Kirk’s rank, but knowing they’re based on naval rank will make me pay more attention next time Damon is watching.

      Reply

  3. I think Radar was also a corporal. The MASH flow chart is a pretty good idea. I get confused with naval rankings, which I have to apply to Star Trek characters.

    Reply

  4. I think Radar was also a corporal. The MASH flow chart is a pretty good idea. I get confused with naval rankings, which I have to apply to Star Trek characters.

    Reply

  5. I think Radar was also a corporal. The MASH flow chart is a pretty good idea. I get confused with naval rankings, which I have to apply to Star Trek characters.

    Reply

  6. Then, once you figure out the order, you’ve got to learn the insignia – for a confirmed old civilian like myself, it’s just too much to bother with.
    This I know: in the Army, there have been only four 5-star generals: Eisenhower, Bradley, Marshall and MacArthur. The other branches have had a handful, too – Nimitz and Halsey among them (5-Star Admirals). That classification is only outranked by General of the Armies of the United States, and only G. Washington and Pershing have held that title.
    Knowing that, and the fact that Jefferson & Adams both died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826 – 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was ratified – are the only two reasons I’m helpful in the “History” category when playing Team Trivia.
    Class dismissed.

    Reply

  7. Then, once you figure out the order, you’ve got to learn the insignia – for a confirmed old civilian like myself, it’s just too much to bother with.
    This I know: in the Army, there have been only four 5-star generals: Eisenhower, Bradley, Marshall and MacArthur. The other branches have had a handful, too – Nimitz and Halsey among them (5-Star Admirals). That classification is only outranked by General of the Armies of the United States, and only G. Washington and Pershing have held that title.
    Knowing that, and the fact that Jefferson & Adams both died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826 – 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was ratified – are the only two reasons I’m helpful in the “History” category when playing Team Trivia.
    Class dismissed.

    Reply

  8. Then, once you figure out the order, you’ve got to learn the insignia – for a confirmed old civilian like myself, it’s just too much to bother with.
    This I know: in the Army, there have been only four 5-star generals: Eisenhower, Bradley, Marshall and MacArthur. The other branches have had a handful, too – Nimitz and Halsey among them (5-Star Admirals). That classification is only outranked by General of the Armies of the United States, and only G. Washington and Pershing have held that title.
    Knowing that, and the fact that Jefferson & Adams both died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826 – 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was ratified – are the only two reasons I’m helpful in the “History” category when playing Team Trivia.
    Class dismissed.

    Reply

  9. Then, once you figure out the order, you’ve got to learn the insignia – for a confirmed old civilian like myself, it’s just too much to bother with.
    This I know: in the Army, there have been only four 5-star generals: Eisenhower, Bradley, Marshall and MacArthur. The other branches have had a handful, too – Nimitz and Halsey among them (5-Star Admirals). That classification is only outranked by General of the Armies of the United States, and only G. Washington and Pershing have held that title.
    Knowing that, and the fact that Jefferson & Adams both died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826 – 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was ratified – are the only two reasons I’m helpful in the “History” category when playing Team Trivia.
    Class dismissed.

    Reply

  10. Then, once you figure out the order, you’ve got to learn the insignia – for a confirmed old civilian like myself, it’s just too much to bother with.
    This I know: in the Army, there have been only four 5-star generals: Eisenhower, Bradley, Marshall and MacArthur. The other branches have had a handful, too – Nimitz and Halsey among them (5-Star Admirals). That classification is only outranked by General of the Armies of the United States, and only G. Washington and Pershing have held that title.
    Knowing that, and the fact that Jefferson & Adams both died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826 – 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was ratified – are the only two reasons I’m helpful in the “History” category when playing Team Trivia.
    Class dismissed.

    Reply

  11. What a great tip about Star Trek. I only know James Kirk’s rank, but knowing they’re based on naval rank will make me pay more attention next time Damon is watching.

    Reply

  12. I enjoy a good history lesson. Thanks!

    Reply

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