Discussion in 'Land Warfare in the Pacific' started by texson66, Jan 27, 2010.
Try "Tears in the Darkness" - Michael Norman
I just re-read "With the Old Breed" for the 4th time and it is, without a doubt the best war book of all time! He provides perfect descriptions of the infantryman's life and details the minutiae that everyone else misses.
When the wife and I took the youngest son to the airport to return to his unit from pre-deployment leave, we stopped at a bookstore and I bought him a copy of the book to read on the long flight to Afghanistan. He bought me Burgin's "Island's of the Damned". I read it, and it made me want to re-read Sledge's book. I dug it out and it's as good as I remembered, for the 4th time! That says something about the book. I think I'll write a letter to Ryan today and see how he liked it.
Looking forward to reading it. I just got my Great Uncle's SRB from the Archives. He was a member of the Marine Detachment aboard the USS Yorktown at Midway. After he got back stateside he requested to be sent to a 'Raider Bn' and was eventually stationed with Kilo Company 3rd Bn, 5th Marines and fought and received Purple Hearts at both Pelelilu and Okinawa. It is amazing to see and feel the connection to history. We were taught about the history of the USMC and of the major battles in the pacific, and while I did my best to absorb it all, I had no idea that I had family that was actually there.
With a great uncle in K/3/5 you'll really connect with Sledge's book. Get it, read it, don't delay! Burgin's while not as good as Sledge's does round out the story.
If you didn't get a chance to watch HBO's the Pacific, you might want to look into checking it out. It's supposed to be out next month on DVD. About half the series covers Sledge and his comrades in K/3/5.
Over the last couple of days I read "With the Old Breed", "Islands of the Damned by Burgin", and "Helmet for my Pillow" by Leckie.
Of the three books, With the Old Breed is far and away the best written and most compelling. I liked Islands of the Damned as well because of the Kilo 3/5 story line. Burgin and my great uncle were promoted to Sgt on the same Bn Order, pretty cool connection.
Helmet for my Pillow was good, but in my opinion it was too flowery in the way it was written.
I just read "With the Old Breed ..."
An impressive testimony that makes me glad (and much) that my generation has not suffered a "total war"
Like all infantry soldiers in the world, in all times complained of sores and pains in the feet, fifteen days without taking off his boots ... in Peleliu, Okinawa also has mud ...
My question is why not get some espadrilles? The Japanese wore "Tabi" (their special socks) and "zori" a traditional flip-flop made of wood.
At Peleliu, where the author was going to take off his boots, a veteran asked what would he do if the Japanese attack... well, wear flip flops might not be right, but his enemies were doing ..
Sidi Ifni, sandals were sent to the Legion, by plane and urgently ...
I first learned of Sledge while watching Ken Burns' documetary, "The War" and immediately went out and ordered, "With the Old Breed."
I recently finished reading it for the second time. And I recently purchased Sledge's follow-up memoir, "China Marine," which I am about to start reading. I was reading this book while watching "The Pacific," I was just trying to remember/compare the mini-series to the book. The mini-series was mostly accurate, but like all Hollywood depictions, if you will, it combined characters and actions. The priceless parts were the interviews with the actual people that were included with the DVDs, particularly Sid Phillips and RV Burgin.
I find Sledge fascinating because we are able to see him transform from the idealistic, patriotic young man raring to go to war, to the war-weary Marine who is horrified and disgusted by the senseless waste of war. And his post-war struggles are well-documented.
I've never been in combat, which makes my admiration for men like Sledge that much greater, but I think Sledge's book is probably one of the most vivid depictions of what it is about.
(I was re-reading this book when I first saw a post on another site by Sterling Mace. I was quite tickled to find Mr. Mace's name listed in the acknowledgements in front of Sledge's book. It just seemed so extraordinary to make that connection.)
I know its been awhile since this particular post, but for anyone still interested, check out "Baby of Bataan" (Joseph Q. Johnson) and "My Hitch in Hell" (Lester I. Tenney). And, while not dealing directly with Bataan, two other excellent books regarding the PoW conditions in Japanese-run prison camps: "Ghost Soldiers" (Hampton Sides.....basis for the movie "The Great Raid", excellent film!) and "Devil At My Heels" (Louis Zamperini).
Amazon.com: Baby of Bataan: Memoir of a 14 Year Old Soldier in World War II (9781590960028): Joseph Quitman Johnson: Books
Amazon.com: MY HITCH IN HELL (Potomac's Memories of War) (9781574888065): Lester I. Tenney: Books
Amazon.com: Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission (9780385495653): Hampton Sides: Books
Amazon.com: Devil at My Heels: A Heroic Olympian's Astonishing Story of Survival as a Japanese POW in World War II (9780060934217): Louis Zamperini, David Rensin: Books
Great thread and review. I remember the passages you quote well. Mr. Sledge is an outstanding writer. I am just now getting to the Shuri Line section of this AMAZING book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
My Grand Uncle was a Seabee on Okinawa. I believe he was with the first wave, with the 130th NCB. My Navy NCO may still have some connections in the Yeoman and Personnel ranks and I am hoping he can help me dig
up some information. After the war Max went on to become a prison guard at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. I remember all of the brothers and my Dad going out to hunt Deer in the late 60's near the family home in
Glenmont, OH, Pop. 110. All quiet strong men who drank hard and smoked harder. I now know why - the things they saw.
Yes by far my favorite war memoir I have read from the picific! I read this book once a year and somehow I come out with another angle on the war. I guess it just sinks in more and more everytime I read it. Gene put so much work into this book and it shows. I always try and get people to read this book, not just because it is one of the best memoirs but to have people understand what happen to these men on Peleliu, Okinawa, and all the other islands. Also to go along with this R. V. Burgins Island of The Damned is a great book to go along with With the Old Breed. I would recommend this book also for anyone that wants another view of the man that Gene served with including Gene.
Here are some pix my dad took at Peleliu:
If I may be so bold to suggest another if you want a rifleman's perspective:
Amazon.com: Battleground Pacific: A Marine Rifleman's Combat Odyssey in K/3/5 (9781250005052): Sterling Mace, Nick Allen: Books
You may suggest all you wish. One can never have too many perspectives.
Great writing and observations, Mr. Mace. Highly recommend your riveting history.
I recently read Sledge's With the Old Breed primarily because I read Sterling Mace's book Battleground Pacific earlier this year. I strongly recommend both books.
Having read both, they are equally good perspectives on how riflemen saw the fighting. Frightening.
We used to have things called Jackdaw publications, before the Internet..I did my whole project on Waterloo with one...litterally cut and paste, siccors and glue...And quote the lot....Add a bit of text from books..and voila...some pics..and an A....Thanks Jackdaw whoever you are.
Old thread I know but just finished it the other day.
One of the best memoirs I've ever read.
It should be on everyones MUST READ list.
I'm glad you enjoyed it Owen. He wrote it to exorcise his demons. We're all fortunate he did because he did such an good job of telling what it was really like.
Mr. Mace did not know the mortar squad well but he knew Sledge a bit and talks of him from time to time. I really enjoyed With the Old Breed too, TD.