“Eugene Sledge became more than a legend with his memoir, With The Old Breed. He became a chronicler, a historian, a storyteller who turns the extremes of the war in the Pacific—the terror, the camaraderie, the banal and the extraordinary—into terms we mortals can grasp.”—Tom Hanks NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER In The Wall Street Journal, Victor Davis Hanson named With the Old Breed one of the top five books on epic twentieth-century battles. Studs Terkel interviewed the author for his definitive oral history, The Good War. Now E. B. Sledge’s acclaimed first-person account of fighting at Peleliu and Okinawa returns to thrill, edify, and inspire a new generation. An Alabama boy steeped in American history and enamored of such heroes as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene B. Sledge became part of the war’s famous 1st Marine Division—3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Even after intense training, he was shocked to be thrown into the battle of Peleliu, where “the world was a nightmare of flashes, explosions, and snapping bullets.” By the time Sledge hit the hell of Okinawa, he was a combat vet, still filled with fear but no longer with panic. Based on notes Sledge secretly kept in a copy of the New Testament, With the Old Breed captures with utter simplicity and searing honesty the experience of a soldier in the fierce Pacific Theater. Here is what saved, threatened, and changed his life. Here, too, is the story of how he learned to hate and kill—and came to love—his fellow man. “In all the literature on the Second World War, there is not a more honest, realistic or moving memoir than Eugene Sledge’s. This is the real deal, the real war: unvarnished, brutal, without a shred of sentimentality or false patriotism, a profound primer on what it actually was like to be in that war. It is a classic that will outlive all the armchair generals’ safe accounts of—not the ‘good war’—but the worst war ever.”—Ken Burns From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Robert Leckie
Publisher: Pickle Partners Publishing
Release Date: 2015-11-06
Includes over 220 photos, maps and plans following Robert “Lucky” Leckie’s Pacific War with the 1st Marine Division “Here is one of the most riveting first-person accounts ever to come out of World War II. Robert Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January 1942, shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In Helmet for My Pillow we follow his odyssey, from basic training on Parris Island, South Carolina, all the way to the raging battles in the Pacific, where some of the war’s fiercest fighting took place. Recounting his service with the 1st Marine Division and the brutal action on Guadalcanal, New Britain, and Peleliu, Leckie spares no detail of the horrors and sacrifices of war, painting an unvarnished portrait of how real warriors are made, fight, and often die in the defense of their country. From the live-for-today rowdiness of marines on leave to the terrors of jungle warfare against an enemy determined to fight to the last man, Leckie describes what war is really like when victory can only be measured inch by bloody inch. Woven throughout are Leckie’s hard-won, eloquent, and thoroughly unsentimental meditations on the meaning of war and why we fight. Unparalleled in its immediacy and accuracy, Helmet for My Pillow will leave no reader untouched. This is a book that brings you as close to the mud, the blood, and the experience of war as it is safe to come.”-Print Ed.
The true story of R.V. Burgin, the real-life World War II Marine Corps hero featured in HBO®'s The Pacific. “Read his story and marvel at the man...and those like him.”—Tom Hanks When R.V. Burgin joined the U.S. Marines on November 13th, 1942, he never imagined what was waiting for him and his fellow riflemen in the Pacific Islands during World War II. From New Britain through Peleliu to Okinawa, Burgin’s platoon, Company K, Third Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, First Marine Division, encountered a ferocious, committed, and desperate enemy in the Japanese—engaging them in some of the most harrowing and horrifying conflicts of the war. In this harrowing memoir, R.V. Burgin reveals his experiences as a marine at war in the Pacific Theater. Schooled in Melbourne, Australia, by the veterans who had just returned from combat in Guadalcanal, Company K confronted snipers, ambushes along narrow jungle trails, abandoned corpses of hara-kiri victims, and howling banzai attacks as they island-hopped from one bloody battle to the next. During his two years of service, Burgin rose from a green private to a seasoned sergeant, and earned a Bronze Star for his valor at Okinawa. With unforgettable drama and an understated elegance, Burgin’s gripping narrative chronicles the waning days of World War II, bringing to life the hell that was the Pacific War.
Author: George Peto
Release Date: 2017-07-19
On September 15, 1944, U.S. Marines landed on a small island in the Central Pacific called Peleliu, as a prelude to the liberation of the Philippines. Among the first wave of Marines that hit the beach that day was 22-year-old George Peto. Growing up in on a farm in Ohio, George had always preferred exploring to being indoors. This made school a challenge, but his hunting, fishing and trapping skills helped put food on the familyÕs table. As a teenager living in a rough area he got into regular brawls, and he found holding down a job hard because of his wanderlust. After a succession of jobs he decided that joining the Marines offered him the opportunity for adventure plus three square meals a day, so he and his brother joined the Corps in 1941, just a few months before Pearl Harbor. Following boot camp and training, he was initially assigned to a guard unit. Found not guilty of misconduct after falling asleep on duty while very sick, he was then shipped out to a combat unit. His first experience of combat was during the landings at Finschhaven and Cape Gloucester. He was a Forward Observer in one of the lead amtracs of the 1st Marines for the Peleliu landing, and saw fierce fighting for a week before the unit was relieved due to massive casualties. The unit was then the immediate reserve for the initial landing on Okinawa. They encountered no resistance on landing on D+1, but would then fight on Okinawa for over six months. This is the wild and remarkable story of an "Old Breed" Marine, from his youth in the Great Depression, his training and combat in the Pacific during WWII, to his life after the war, told in his own words.
Author: Thurman Miller
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: 2013-05-21
Born in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia in 1919, Thurman Miller was the sixteenth of eighteen children in a family so poor, the local coal miner's kids looked down on them. His father was a subsistence farmer and it was rare for the Miller family to have enough food for everyone. But for Thurman, Appalachia was not just a region: it was a culture, a frame of mind, a being. Fighting, playing, and hiding in the hills would soon serve him well. In 1940 he enlisted and served in World War II with the legendary unit K-3-5 of the First Marine Division. He was involved in some of the most horrific and famous battles in the Pacific Theater, including Guadalcanal and New Britain, where as Gunny Sergeant he sent men to their deaths and narrowly escaped it himself. From harrowing battlefield experiences to the loss of comrades, his powerful combat experiences would stay with him forever. Upon returning stateside, he taught at the prestigious Officer Candidate School at Camp Lejeune, preparing young officers for the horrific battles to come on Okinawa and Iwo Jima. After the war, suffering badly from the malaria and other diseases he contracted in the Pacific and unable to find work, Miller took a job in the coal mines in his home state of West Virginia, where he toiled in darkness for thirty-seven years. The blackness of the mines fed the terrors he lived with since the battlefield and the backbreaking labor ate away at his already compromised body. Bowed but unbroken, Miller survived because of his strength and lifelong devotion to his beloved wife of sixty-five years—a relationship that shines brightly in this distinctly American journey. With uncommon wisdom, intelligence, and humility, this member of the Greatest Generation spins a gripping tale through peace and war, work and family, love and redemption across ten tumultuous decades.
A rifleman's account of his experiences in the fabled 1st Marine Division in the Pacific War, describing the brush with the law that led to his enlistment and the harsh lessons he learned about bravery, death, and survival.
In 1944, the U.S. Marines were building the 5th Marine Division—also known as “The Spearhead”—in preparation for the invasion of the small, Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima…. When Charlie Tatum entered Camp Pendleton to begin Marine boot camp, he was just a smart-aleck teenager eager to serve his country. Little did he know that he would be training under the watchful eyes of a living legend of the Corps—Congressional Medal of Honor recipient John Basilone, who had almost-single-handedly fought off a Japanese force of three-thousand on Guadalcanal, and survived. It was from Basilone and other "Old Breed" sergeants that Tatum would learn how to fight like a Marine and act like a man, as he went through the hell of boot camp to the raucous port of Pearl Harbor with its gambling, gals, and tattoos, to the island of death itself, where he hit the black sand of Iwo Jima with thirty thousand other Marines in the climactic battle of the Pacific Theater. It was on that godforsaken strip of land that Tatum and Basilone would meet again under a hellish rain of bullets and bombs—and where Tatum would make his own mark, carrying ammo for the machine gun carried by Basilone. Together they would lead the breakout off the beach, driving through and destroying a swath of enemy soldiers in the first man-to-man combat on Iwo Jima. Red Blood, Black Sand is the story of Chuck’s two weeks in hell, where he would watch his hero, Basilone, fall, where the enemy stalked the night, where snipers haunted the day, and where Chuck would see his friends whittled away in an eardrum-shattering, earth-shaking, meat grinder of a battle. Before the end, Chuck would find himself, like Basilone, standing alone, blind with rage, firing a machine gun from the hip, in a personal battle to kill a relentless foe he had come to hate. This is the island, the heroes, and the tragedy of Iwo Jima, through the eyes of the battle’s greatest living storyteller, Chuck Tatum.
Author: Robert Leckie
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Release Date: 2010-02-09
Written by Robert Leckie, whose wartime exploits will be featured this spring in the upcoming Tom Hanks/Steven Spielberg HBO miniseries The Pacific, Strong Men Armed has been a perennial bestselling classic account of the Pacific theater in World War II. As scout and machine-gunner for the First Marine Division, Leckie fought in all its engagements until his wounding at Peleliu. Here he uses firsthand experience and impeccable research to re-create the nightmarish battles of the Pacific campaign.
Author: Eugene B Sledge
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 2010-07-07
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
The inspiration behind the HBO series THE PACIFIC This was a brutish, primitive hatred, as characteristic of the horror of war in the Pacific as the palm trees and the islands... Landing on the beach at Peleliu in 1944 as a twenty-year-old new recruit to the US Marines, Eugene Sledge can only try desperately to survive. At Peleliu and Okinawa - two of the fiercest and filthiest Pacific battles of WWII - he witnesses the dehumanising brutality displayed by both sides and the animal hatred that each soldier has for his enemy. During temporary lapses in the fighting, conditions on the islands mean that the Marines often can't wash, stay dry, dig latrines, or even find time to eat. Suffering from constant fear, fatigue, and filth, the struggle of simply living in a combat zone is utterly debilitating. Yet despite horrendous conditions Sledge finds time to keep notes that he would later turn into a book. Described as one of the finest memoirs to emerge from any war, With the Old Breed tells with compassion and honesty of the cruelty, bravery and deaths of the men he fought alongside, and of his own journey from patriotic innocence to battle-scarred veteran. 'Eugene Sledge became more than a legend with his memoir, With The Old Breed. He became a chronicler, a historian, a storyteller who turns the extremes of the war in the Pacific - the terror, the camaraderie, the banal and the extraordinary - into terms we mortals can grasp' Tom Hanks
Author: Bill Sloan
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2008-10-14
A narrative account of the large-scale land-sea-air battle during the spring of 1945 profiles the conflict as a sobering clash that was marked by the death of America's highest-ranking officer killed during World War II, the hara-kiri deaths of two top-ranking Japanese commanders, and the deaths of more than 250,000 soldiers, sailors, and civilians. Reprint. 35,000 first printing.