They were the young ones, the bright ones, the ones with the dreams. From the Nazi-prowled wastes of North Africa to the bloody corridors of Europe, they honorably answered the call. War - it was their duty, their job, their life. They marched off as boys and they came back - those who made it - as soldiers and professionals forged in the heat of battle....
I wonder if something like The Brotherhood of War could be written today. Begun over thirty years ago or thereabouts, it candidly but often light-heartedly tells a tale that begins where and when the author served, Germany immediately after World War II, and follows the personal and professional lives of a very diverse cast of characters as they rise through the ranks in the aftermath of the Second World War. During this time, the very nature of war was thought to be changing, though no one quite knew how.
Despite war and the profession of arms forming the core of the story, combat makes up very little of the narrative. Instead, we come to know the characters through the way in which they conduct their lives; the degree to which they play the army's political games, the passion with which they pursue the women they love and the degree to which they remain faithful, and ultimately the bond that links them as fellow officers. Along the way, we get a colorful depiction of life in the post-war army.
As we watch them grow, we see the army transform to meet the challenges of the new Cold War. We see this in the advisory duties two of our new lieutenants in this first volume, as well as the hints that the airborne legions that stormed into Normandy may soon be a thing of the past. Later installments would deal with the advent of army aviation and the rise of the army special warfare community.
These new unabridged editions are quite good productions. Dove's reading thankfully imparts a great deal of humor and self-awareness but also can bring seriousness and drama where appropriate.
Across nine volumes starting with this one, the army's triumphs and tragedies forms the backdrop for the drama of some extremely memorable personalities, and some of Griffin's best characters. This is why after all these years, technical errors, typos and continuity problems aside, the series as a whole remains a favorite and an easy recommendation for anyone remotely interested in a good story about soldiering. For the price, you simply can't go wrong.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
This is a great series to introduce someone to W.E.B. Griffin. If you listen to this book you will come back for more. Mr. Griffin gives a unique perspective to the military culture, I believe he does it justice. W.E.B. Griffin is not only a good writer he is a generous person, he is one of the few writers that goes above and beyond for his fan's. I sent him a few books a while back and he was gracious enough to sign them for me. How many authors these days are willing to do that for their avid readers? I digress, The Brotherhood of War Series is defiantly worth listing to if you have never listened to it before, and is worth re-listening to if its been a while since you have.
13 of 14 people found this review helpful
I first read this book, in paper format, almost 30 years ago and enjoyed it so much I subsequently bought and read all of the “ranked” sequels (The Captains, The Majors, The Colonels and The Generals). All were equally good and I was sorry to have completed the series.
While the characters in the book were well drawn and their life stories interesting, I asked myself why I was so taken with these books. Even 30 years after reading them I could remember events in the books and how the characters reacted to them, and it is unusual for me to remember specific characters and events in a light read 30 years after I finished reading a book. I finally decided that it was because WEB Griffin had developed such life-like characters with interesting backgrounds and presented the military environment in which the characters function completely accurately. I spent 3 tours of duty in the military before leaving to take advantage of the GI Bill to attend both undergraduate and graduate schools and the events taking place in the book, the military characters and their wives and the world in which they live felt as realistic to me as it was possible to be. Even the military orders and letters of commendation sounded completely authentic and I could see, in the characters the writer created, traits and reactions to events that paralleled those of career military people I knew well. Nothing in the books seemed artificial, inaccurate or unreal.
I bought the Audible book with some trepidation. I had some concern that if the book was not well narrated I would be terribly disappointed and, if the book was well-done, I would end up buying all 9 volumes in the series. Still, the draw was too strong and I fairly devoured this first book, largely unable to put it down until I had completed it. Everything was as I remembered (with one exception described below), Eric Dove’s narration was first class and I had a tear in my eyes when I reached the end of the book. And, as I feared, I ended up buying the remaining 8 volumes (during the Audible sale).
The one thing about the book that surprised me was the harsh language. These are soldiers and their manner of speech is representative of the way soldiers spoke, at least years ago, when this book is set. There is not too much of it and, while it did not offend me much (I have gotten more sensitive to it as I have gotten older), I did think I should mention it in case others might find it either annoying or truly offensive.
The characters, their lives and the events are all interesting and well presented. The world in which they live and function is both interesting and accurately presented. The writing is flawless. I feel able to highly recommend this book almost without reservation.
10 of 11 people found this review helpful
If you have not read Griffin, you may think these are war stories. This is my fourth book, mostly due to liking the first book and then a sale that came out. Very little of the books have to do with war. They are mostly military soap operas. This starts out at the very end of World War 2. There is also some action that takes place in Greece afterwards.
I did enjoy this book, mostly due to the characters. I also learned more about why we had a cold war. It seems Russia may have taken Americans prisoner and may have killed on purpose some Americans. It was all kept hush hush. We on the other hand killed some Russians. The Russians are depicted as doing a lot of raping of the Germans and torturing, etc. Course we are getting our side of the story and I am pretty sure the Russians have some atrocities to report.
I also didn't know about the civil war in Greece, where the communists tried to take over the country and we sent in advisors, of which some were killed. Those who fought in Greece did not get the benefits or acknowledgements that the WWII soldiers got since it was a police action.
There was a lot about the politics in the Army and the caste system.
The two books I enjoyed were written in the 80's and the two I did not enjoy were written in 2008. I don't know if that had something to do with it. This does have some lovable characters.
13 of 15 people found this review helpful
These books are addictive , you may even find yourself downloading the next one before you get finished the the current one. Plain great story telling. Enjoy!
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
I was pleasantly surprised when I started listening to this novel. I had been steered towards W.E.B. Griffin by a friend of mine but had been dragging my feet about reading them because of the "orders" that are so numerous within the novel. I knew that if I had to read them I would soon find myself bored to tears and skimming more than reading.
When I discovered them here at Audible.com I was delighted. I knew that I would be engrossed in the story and could easily get through the "orders" if they were read to me, rather than being forced to read them myself.
The Lieutenants gives a wonderful foundation for the series, giving us the background needed to follow the 4 main characters throughout their careers and their personal lives.
Griffin is a first rate storyteller, making his characters memorable. I found it difficult to turn the book off.
As a narrator, Eric G. Dove is pure delight to listen to. Griffin's writing stands on it's own, Dove however, breathes life into the characters, not just the males but the many women portrayed in the novel as well. He personalizes each character so that even if you have not listened to the novel in a few days when you hear his voice you know which character is speaking.
What I have enjoyed most about the series is that even though it is military based, it is not all about war...the novels are about life, military life and as a military brat, I do have first hand knowledge of what military life is like.
My only concern at this point is that even though there are 9 novels in the series, Audible.com, only has 4 of them recorded with the 4th not being released until October of 2012. I do hope that the other 5 will be forthcoming.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
I love this series. I have been hoping the early ones would finally appear. My problem is now I am waiting for The Captains. The early Corp books would also make great additions. These are stories I happily read/listen to more than once.
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
This book is tied together because the major characters are simply Lieutenants. While it begins in WWII with a major character being captured by the Germans and sent to a prison camp, most of the book actually takes place between WWII and the Korean War. Sort of a soap opera with military families.
The part of the book that describes the escape from Germany is fast paced, but the majority is fairly dull. Nothing much happens in the entire second half of the book. The major characters go from one posting to the other and it's really a story about daily life in the military when there are no battles to fight other than with the Pentagon bureaucracy. If you have not read the Winds of War series go with that alternative, this is not quite as good.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I do not know what took me so long to find the Brotherhood of War series, but now that I have, I cannot pull myself away from them. I read and listen to military history with an insatiable desire. I tend to stay away from fiction, but I must say that W.E.B. Griffin weaves a great story line through historical periods, with great characters that draw you in and make you care. He gets it right in both history and mindset. The narration by Eric G. Dove, is very good, however, his pronunciation of some of the German could use some help. In my opinion there is no way your coming away from the Lieutenants, without going on to the next book in the series. Listening entertainment at its best...
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
At first I wondered why the book was titled the Lieutenants. The narrative just didn't seem to fit the title, not that I minded but it seemed to talk about the Colonels and Generals and not the Lieutenants. After awhile it became clear that two Lieutenants were the central focus of this book. If Audible had the second book of the series "The Captains I would have down loaded it right now. I will when it is available. Good stuff.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
I enjoyed this book. The story was engaging and the voice acting was good.
I've just finished reading Griffin's Corps series, and I'd say the characters in this series aren't quite as engaging as 'The Killer' and Pickering from the Corps books, but a couple do stand out, such as the young Lieutenant and his German girl, and it's certainly still a very good book.
One thing it's worth noting is that very little of this book actually takes place during WWII, despite what the blurb might lead you to believe. Most of the book occurs in the immediate aftermath of the war in Germany (where the author himself served) and in Greece, where conflicts occurred after WWII. That's not a bad thing, I just thought it was worth pointing out. There's several action sequences during the Greece part of the book.