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With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa Paperback – 13 Feb 1992


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Product details

  • Paperback: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; New edition edition (13 Feb. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195067142
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195067149
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.7 x 13.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 332,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'One of the most arresting documents in war literature.' --John Keegan, in The Second World War

'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 Books --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The amazing and moving WW2 memoir, on which the major new Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg series The Pacific is based. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
I enlisted in the Marine Corps on 3 December 1942 at Marion, Alabama. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 April 2010
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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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By N. Brown VINE VOICE on 13 April 2010
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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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mr. K. Puddephatt on 6 April 2010
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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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 30 May 2000
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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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Querfs on 25 Nov. 2003
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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