"Brotherhood of Heroes" tells the story of the men of K/3/5 of the First Marine Division in the Bloody battle of Peleliu in the South Pacific from September 15 and October 15, 1944. Peleliu was an island which was invaded to protect the flank of Gen. MacArthur's forces which were then invading the Philippines. Historians continue to debate whether the invasion was helpful to the Allied cause or whether the island would have better been bypassed.
Author Bill Sloan has done a commendable job in researching the memories of the survivors to bring the unit to life decades after so many died on this God-forsaken coral. The details of the battle are horrific. The intense heat, Japanese cave-by-cave defense, the grime and death are all transmitted through the pages of this book. In form it is similar to other books dealing with the European Theatre. This work tells little of the big story but does an excellent job of giving the reader a GI's view of a horrendous battle.
on 9 February 2014
Loads of action on this book, and I was really impressed by the US marines who are the focus of this book.
I was also surprised at how small the number of men at the sharp end could be at times. 20 to 30 men would end up cut off in the position they had just taken, and they would defend against over whelming odds, while reinforcements were unable to get to them.
on 8 April 2009
Nicely written book, emotive praise of 1st Marine Division. Pity that in singing the -undoubtedly real- exploits of the Marines, it correspondingly downplays the efforts of the 81st US Infantry Div., an Army unit that didi its part of the job -not only in mopping up operations as implied in the book-, and that took its fair share of casualties. In fact the Eighty-First is not even mentioned in the Index!
Not to mention the Japanese... who could not be relieved and did not have the benefits of huge airpower and naval support.
In fact, the dustjacket masks the truth when mentions that 11.000 Japanese were entrenched against only 9.000 marines... three times that number would be closer to the actual truth. It was not really necessary to pretend numerical inferiority, and to ignore the Army's contribution, to narrate and remember the Marines' heroism at Peleliu.
All in all, a good heroes' tale, but not a good narrative of the battle, and no attempt at all to show the other side of the hill.