Book Reviews of HELMET FOR MY PILLOW (Bantam War Book Series)

HELMET FOR MY PILLOW (Bantam War Book Series)
HELMET FOR MY PILLOW - Bantam War Book Series
Author: Robert Leckie
ISBN-13: 9780553282658
ISBN-10: 0553282654
Publication Date: 4/1/1989
Edition: Reissue
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 1 rating
Publisher: Bantam
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

6 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed HELMET FOR MY PILLOW (Bantam War Book Series) on + 125 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I got this book on PBS and couldn't put it down. The best war stories are told by the men and women who were there. This covers the Pacific during WWII. Leckie's prose is a tone poem, in spite of the horrors of war.
reviewed HELMET FOR MY PILLOW (Bantam War Book Series) on
This book is said to be a personal account of WWII and perhaps it is. The entire book is Leckie's personal experiences during the war, with some excellent stories and trivia points. But the majority of those stories seem to be either of their training before being shipped out or their times on leave in Australia. I'm not discounting those time periods, but I'm 200 pages into a 300 page book and less than 100 pages have not been stories about various drinking, women or mischevious rule-breaking exploits.

I had a very hard time getting into this book and almost decided not to finish it. However, there are some excellent tidbits about a Marine's life that are generally not found in second-hand accounts and can be rare even in first-hand accounts. Everyday things such as sleeping and eating seem obvious when you don't think about it, but in the course of his stories, Leckie talks about they managed to find sleep in the Pacific rainy season or about various trips to other camps to get food (it's not stealing if you're fighting on the same side). Those tidbits are the reason I'll finish this book, they completely make it worth the read to me.

To be honest, I suppose part of the reason I'm not truly enjoying this book has little to do with the content. Leckie, throughout the entirety of the book, doesn't refer to anyone as their given name. He doesn't even mention anyone's given name, just a nickname. At times, especially with senior officers, it's difficult to tell whether these were nicknames used for them during the war or he just assigned them afterwards. There are perhaps half a dozen photos of individual marines which have both the nickname and given name of the subject, but nothing in the text. Leckie grants them such names as Hoosier, Runner, Chuckler, Lieutenant High-Hips, Smoothface, Oakstump, the Gentleman, the Artist, Lieutenant Racehorse, Straight-Talk, Broadgrin, McCaustic, Big-Picture ... Well, you get the idea. To me, it makes it difficult to feel a connection to the individuals when I partly feel like I'm reading about comic book characters.

All in all, it's not a bad read, provdided the lack of names doesn't bother you as it does me. While Leckie does tend to wax poetic at times, he truly does give an interesting account of the men he fought with and their interactions together, as well as their spirits and survival techniques during their time fighting.
reviewed HELMET FOR MY PILLOW (Bantam War Book Series) on
Helmet for My Pillow was an interesting book about the war in the Pacific. It was well written and easy to follow. I would recommend it to anyone interested in reading true accounts of WWII.
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the true story of the u.s. mirines in WWII.
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A vivid account of combat and survival in WWII by one of America's greatest military historians. Special to this edition, The Battle of Tenaru. Good read for military buffs.
reviewed HELMET FOR MY PILLOW (Bantam War Book Series) on + 13 more book reviews
A good nitty gritty view of WWII from the point of view of a grunt.It give a totally different view of the first Marine Division and their battles during WWII. Everyone should read this book along with the history books which view the war from a higher level.