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.
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.
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.