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With the Old Breed: The World War Two Pacific Classic (Pacific TV Tie in) [Paperback]

Eugene B Sledge
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)

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Book Description

4 Mar 2010 Pacific TV Tie in

Now 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 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 batte-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


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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (4 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091937531
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091937539
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 13 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 242,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

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 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 Burn Of all the books about the ground war in the Pacific, [With the Old Breed] is the closest to a masterpiece. The New York Review of Book

Book Description

The amazing and moving WW2 memoir, on which the major new Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg series The Pacific is based.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
104 of 104 people found the following review helpful
By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
E B (Gene) Sledge's memoir of his time in the Pacific War has been an incredibly rich source for for television history. Ken Burns drew extensively upon his account for his brilliant series "The War" particularly in Episode 9 "FUBAR" and his words are read and quoted. Now it extensively figures again in the what will be one of the great series of modern television, HBOs "The Pacific" a 10-part mini-series from the creators of "Band of Brothers" telling the intertwined stories of three Marines during America's battle with the Japanese in the Pacific during World War II. "Helmet for My Pillow" by Robert Leckie is the other key primary source and you may wish to read the reviews elsewhere of that excellent book. It is Sledge's memoir however that in my subjective opinion is the definitive account of this terrible conflict.

Gene Sledge was no backseat General or causal observer, he gave up a graduation course leading to a commissioned officer's position to serve as a Private First Class in the Pacific Theater and saw combat at the raging infernos of Peleliu with its controversial airfield and Okinawa. He played others roles such as a stretcher bearer and constantly throughout his service, Sledge kept extensive "unauthorised notes" of what happened in his pocket sized New Testament. If you go over to the US Amazon site you will see that this book has nearly 300 reviews and Sledge is rightly compared to Robert Graves as a war author. This is no American hyperbole. Gene Sledge aside from his military feats is a great writer and remembrancer.

This is by no means a "jolly romp" war memoir it is a brutal and often terrifyingly honest account of a soldiers experience and the deep fear and boredom that underpins this.
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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Into the Abyss 13 April 2010
By N. Brown VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The decision of HBO to use `With the Old Breed' as one the key sources for their $ 200 million mini-series ` The Pacific' has brought Eugene Sledge's war memoirs has a whole new global readership. First published in 1981 but using notes taken at the time of the battles in 1944/5, this is an account of the author's recruitment and training in the US Marine Corps and his participation in two of World War Two's most brutal and horrific battles . The original working title of was `Into the Abyss' and nothing comes closer to describing the particular forms of hell that were the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa. Whilst the author refers to the wider strategic picture, that is only reference events and this remains a very personal account.

Sledge doesn't shy away from describing in detail the horror of the battlefield with its rotting corpses, mangled body parts and human excrement. Too often in other literature comparisons with the First World War's trenches are drawn, yet on Okinawa the combination of multiple assaults against a well entrenched enemy and a rain saturated battlefield lead to a repeat of those conditions. It was only the lack of Japanese re-enforcements that ensured this campaign did not develop into the same stalemate.

Despite all the horror around him and the killing he had to do, Sledge's own humanity, whilst tested, survives and shines through. There is no sense of blood lust for the death of the Japanese, even though their conduct is often appalling, and Sledge finds no glory in war even in the eventual US victory.

The writing is one of the great strengths of this book. The author was well educated and after the war went on to become a Professor of biology.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sobering account of the realities of war 30 May 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
By the end of this book I felt a real attatchment to the author and the men who shared the experiences described in the book.
It is not one of the best works of literature I have come across, however it is one of the best accounts of the reality of war on a group of men I have read.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
E.B.SLEDGE writes with authority and from bitter experience, he explains how and why he joined up to the marine corps. The rigours of the training, and eventually how he felt when faced with certain death on the beaches of the Pacific islands. He relates the joy of comradeship, and of the sorrow at losing friends and respected leaders.
This is a book not for people who see war as Glory and Hurrahs, it is one mans account of the true horror of combat, and of the comradeship that kept him sane!
A must read book!!! !! !
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book 25 Nov 2003
By Querfs
Format:Paperback
I would defy anyone, having started this book, to put it down before the final page. A plainly narrated and therefore haunting personal account of bitter and bloody conflict. How human nature succumbs or survives in 'survival conditions', the unfiltered realities of battle experience in the mechanised era, and the loyalty that binds fighting men together.
No political preambles and chapters devoted to strategy here - this is the life of the enlisted men and some of the officers they knew.
I sincerely hope that EB Sledge, by writing of his experiences without artifice or literary illusion, realised he created required reading for anyone interested in the realties of war.
Read it and be awed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a very good book love it sorry to get to the end ....david
Published 7 days ago by david owen
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic reading
Currently reading this book and i love it never been so consumed in a book before the detail is amazing yet horrifying at the same time the description of the brutality of the... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Christopher
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good old school read from a breed of Man we're unlikely to see again.
Published 17 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars easy and enjoyable read
Right from the very first page I could tell that I was going to appreciate this true account of bravery .This is the first ebook I have read and found it difficult to put it down. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Christine Buxton
4.0 out of 5 stars This is an easy book to read in that it maintains a brisk
This is an easy book to read in that it maintains a brisk, matter-of-fact pace and retains your interest throughout but that doesn't make it a great one. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Neil D
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A must have for anyone interested in WWII !
Published 1 month ago by Lars Jönlid
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Really good book my partner loves it thanks
Published 1 month ago by aimee gill
4.0 out of 5 stars great stuff
Prompt delivery, great stuff thanks
Published 1 month ago by V Albani
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good read.
Published 1 month ago by adrian smith
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome
one of the books behind the series 'the pacific'. as war books go, this is just superb. Made me feels as though I was in the middle of it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by R. G. Hancox
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