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.
If you have read With the old breed by E.B Sledge and Helmet for my pillow by Robert Leckie then this is a must ! it completes the trilogy of the story told by the HBO mini series The Pacific .It picks up the baton where the other books have almost finished and takes you through one of the last great battles of the pacific campaign - Iwo jima .
Chuck Tatum writes from the heart and leaves no detail out, from when he first enlisted ,to hitting the beach at Iwo jima ,although he covers quite a lot about the hero John Basilone the book is a testament to all the ordinary men who did an extraodinary job - the job of heros,who then returned to the USA and tried to pick up life where they left off .
This book tells their story ,by a man who has been there and done that ,and survived - Chuck Tatum ( bronze star)
I have read other books about the Pacific war but not one that is on such a personal level. Iwo Jima was an awful and horrific ordeal for the Marines and Japanese who took part and this book manages to convey that to the reader, even though I have no experience of such ordeals. If you are into military history then I recommend this book.
Purchased for avid reader of anything to do with WW II. Recipient was more than pleased. Another welcome paperback to add to his collection. Fast delivery after disappointment when Ordered from an American company that was a non-delivery after waiting over a month. Amazon saved the day. Many thanks.