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Monday, 14 October, 2002, 06:52 GMT 07:52 UK
Band of Brothers writer dies
Tom Hanks, Stephen Ambrose and Steven Spielberg
Ambrose (centre) with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg
Historian Stephen Ambrose, whose best-selling book Band of Brothers was turned into a successful TV mini-series, has died aged 66.

The writer was diagnosed with lung cancer last year.


They called him the poet laureate of World War II.

Douglas Brinkley
He wrote more than 30 books, including histories of 19th Century American explorers Lewis and Clark and the building of the US transcontinental railroad.

But he was best known for his books about World War II, which helped revive interest in the conflict.

'Crowds'

He was an adviser on Saving Private Ryan, the Oscar-winning film directed by Steven Spielberg, and on the mini-series Band of Brothers, which was based on his most popular book.

"Wherever Steve went, crowds of veterans would mob him," said Douglas Brinkley, co-author with Ambrose of a history of the Mississippi River published last week.

"They called him the poet laureate of World War II. He was a genius storyteller with a gift for making the past come alive," Brinkley said

Earlier this year Ambrose was embroiled in "copying" controversies after several passages from his best seller The Wild Blue were found to closely resemble the works of other writers.

Professor Ambrose had apologised for borrowing passages from another book, also about World War II bomber pilots, The Wings Of Morning written by Thomas Childers.

He blamed his prolific rate at writing, about a book a year, for the error in not citing his sources.

"I always thought plagiarism meant using another person's words and ideas, pretending they were your own and profiting from it. I do not do that, never have done that and never will," he wrote in an essay published on his website.

See also:

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