Easy Company Soldier
Sgt. Don Malarkey with Bob Welch
St. Martin's Press
Trade Paperback/277 pages
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". . .a gritty and often humorous memoir of a soldier."
Easy Company Soldier : Up close and personal with a member of the Band of Brothers.
Donnie Malarkey was born and raised in Astoria, Washington. Although his father didn’t serve in World War I, his uncles were soldiers and both died. One uncle died during the war at the age of nineteen and the other as a result of his injuries at the age of thirty-one. Donnie seemed destined to follow in his uncles’ footsteps.
Growing up in Astoria, Donnie loved camping and hunting in the outdoors, skills that would stand him in good stead when he became a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne. Donnie was also a scholar with a love of poetry and geography at which he excelled. He was also a “hell-raiser” and an athletic young man.
When he got to Toccoa, Georgia, in the first wave of paratroopers assigned to the newly formed 101st Airborne, Donnie found he was not as fit as he thought. He wheezed like an old man on his first three-mile run up and down Currahee, the mountain in the midst of the camp that was the make or break point for every man aspiring to be one of the Screaming Eagles. Donnie made it and ended up in England as part of the D-Day forces that would begin to drive the Germans out of France. Donnie was one of the most famous fighting groups in World War II, a member of Easy Company, the group Stephen Ambrose chronicled in Band of Brothers.
Sgt. Don Malarkey’s story of growing up in Astoria, Washington, during the Depression is unforgettable. In a world where boys of fifteen are still playing games and being chauffeured about by their parents, Donnie had a job, one of several difficult and physically demanding jobs. What makes his story so remarkable is not just his childhood during the Depression or the rigors of becoming a paratrooper under difficult, demanding and often brutal circumstances, but the honesty and sincerity that shows in his simple, heartwarming style
Easy Company Soldier is a memoir of war and a testament to the men who gave their lives, their bodies and their hearts for what they believed. Sgt. Malarkey neither glorifies war nor glosses over the brutalities and stupidities, but he shares his experiences with candid sincerity. He colors in the details of a momentous period in history, sharing an intimate portrait of patriotism and strength and the fear that comes with war.
Don Malarkey shares his experience in plain unvarnished prose that Bob Welch has done nothing to silence, refine or soften. Easy Company Soldier is a gritty and often humorous memoir of a soldier.
Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell