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 Divisionâ"3d Battalion, 5th Marines. Even after intense training, he was shocked to be thrown into the battle of Peleliu, where âthe world was a nightmare of flashes, explosions, and snapping bullets.â 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 killâ"and came to loveâ"his fellow man.
A wonderful first hand view of what the Marines faced on Peleliu and Okinawa. It is easy to understand why the producers of the HBO series "The Pacific" selected this book and its author to help depict the drama of the U.S. Marines against Japan during World War II.
Eugene Sledge's narration of the filth the Marines and the Japanese lived and fought in on Okinawa takes some understanding. When I was a teenager, I lived down the street from a former Marine who also fought on Okinawa. We thought it funny that he would take three and four showers a day, as he wife once told us. But my reading since then of the conditions the Marines endured on Okinawa have helped me understand why he did so.
If this book ignites your interest, then I strongly recommend that you also read "Tennozan." This book covers the battle of Okinawa in much more depth, and mostly deals with the conditions the Americans, Japanese and Okinawans had to deal with during the battle. It offers a tremendous perspective of war from all three viewpoints.
Melvin W. reviewed With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa on
This was one of the best books I've ever read. The true story from one who lived thru the hell of these battles. I was amazed he lived to tell the tale. If anyone is a war history buff you must read this account of a war that the Marines are a legend for. A man that went to war for his country and was willing to lay his life down for it. We will never know his kind. A lucky man to return and share his life changing experiences with us. God bless him.
This excellent first-person account by a WWII Marine on who fought on Peleliu and Okinawa is most valuable, IMHO, because it tells it like it really was with all the goo/glob aka mud, gore, blood, and many, many deaths. I rate this book about 4.25 at least, and maybe even higher, for its honesty and revelations.