One of the original members of his platoon and a featured character in the HBO series, Band of Brothers, Webster reproduces some fine moments from his experiences in the war. He has surprisingly little to do on D-Day, wandering around swampy ground, gets in some very dirty work in Holland, and enjoys the spoils of war in Austria. There is clearly an element of Ernest Hemingway; Webster is better educated and literate than many of his comrades and seems to have looked to the war as a source of material. There is also a strong element of Ernie Pyle present; Webster suffers from 'chickens**t' leaders, bad decisions, wet foxholes, and a general contempt from and for authority. He promises to himself to never 'sir' anyone again after the war, although he has a few kind words for Band of Brothers lead character Dick Winters.
The bad news to report from this front is that there is also a bit of Ernie (as in Bert and Ernie) and the buffoonish character Ernest (from 'Ernest goes to camp' and other forgettable movies). Webster insists on being slow. He hates almost everything he is told to do, much of what he does, and most of those around him. A few, goofy buddies offer insights into the dark side of soldiering, from looting, to whoring, to harassing the defeated German populace, while also shuffling and grinning through a significant part of his story.
Webster comes across as mean-spirited, unlike his portrayal in Band of Brothers and while he makes some reference to his education and wealth, it doesn't show. He makes little of the distance from his platoon when he returns in February 1945 after four months of convalescence from a flesh wound in Holland (and he's most sorry that it was no 'million dollar wound'). He comes across as constantly put upon, abused, and mistreated by his own army. Sure, much of military life allows and calls for grousing, and his company faced some pretty sorry times; it just seems repetitive and pointless. He probably deserved and he would have been better off with better instruction, information and leadership from his superiors.
His sense of sound, smell, weather and place is helpful to the reader. The way he describes the sound of different German shells and ordnance provides a better sense of presence to the inexperienced reader. But the story lacks a strong narrative. He jumps around from place to person without useful transitions. It would seem fair to conclude that he patched together (or did his editor, posthumously) diary entries capturing events in real time.
To one interested in and pretty well read in this genre, the text dragged and disappointed. Up close and personal this may be, it just left me surprisingly unsympathetic and bored.