Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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"Helmet for My Pillow is a grand and epic prose poem. Robert Leckie's theme is the purely human experience of war in the Pacific, written in the graceful imagery of a human being who - somehow - survived" (Tom Hanks)
"A powerful book that pulls no punches" (The New York Review of Books)
"One hell of a book! The real stuff that proves the U.S. Marines are the greatest fighting men on earth!" (Leon Uris, author of Battle Cry) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Robert Leckie's gripping memoir of fighting as a US Marine in World War 2, which inspired the epic Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg HBO series, The Pacific. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
In many ways, the experiences of the two men were similar. Both were civilians prior to the Second World War; Leckie enlisted in the Marines a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. His account of basic training feels incredibly authentic, in part because of his attention to details. Leckie captures much of the mundane minutiae of learning how to be a Marine, from the bureaucratic experience of inoculation to the quest for a good time on leave. This sense of authenticity continues as he describes his deployment to Guadalcanal with the First Marine Division and his engagement with the war there. These experiences form the best part of the book, as his initial encounter with life as a Marine in both training and war reflect his interest in the novelty of it all.
From Guadalcanal, Leckie's unit was returned to Australia for rest and refitting. This transformation into what he calls a "lotus-eater" also bears a real sense of verisimilitude, as unlike many memoirs of war he does not gloss over the search for release that often characterized breaks from the battles.Read more ›
Despite his training, Leckie is a wilful and even sometimes rebellious character, and where Sledge always uses full rank and proper name, Leckie favours nicknames. Such small details and differences give the two memoirs very different flavours. There are moments where Leckie's self-consciously prosey style seems overdone, but sometimes it really works, as when he evokes the paranoid flesh-crawling fears of sitting in a jungle foxhole in the dark of night, his floridly evocative description contrasting with a simpler conclusion: 'I know now why men light fires.'
Where Sledge's detached coolness might be said to foreshadow his later vocation of biology professor, Leckie's wilful nature and flighty language might be also said to have the zest and poetry properly becoming a sports writer turned author. It's certainly interesting to see the differing nature of their responses. In the end these differences make the two books excellent complimentary companions: they cover much the same ground but feel different. Leckie took part in Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester and Pelelieu, whereas Sledge saw action at Pelelieu and Okinawa, so their stories overlap, together building a fuller picture of the Pacific theatre.Read more ›
Leckie spends far more time detailing the friendship and camaraderie between him and his fellow Marines than Sledge did. Often describing periods between combat, these were very interesting; so too was the long section about the wild times the exhausted soldiers had when they arrived in Melbourne for some R & R after the terrors of Guadalcanal. It's amazing and heart-warming to read about how for months discipline went out the window. I suppose that the Marine commanders must have decided just to let their men have a good time rather than worrying about spit and polish and parades.
The last section of the book concerns Leckie's return to the war - it speeds through the campaigns at Cape Gloucester, New Britain and Pelelieu. The book comes to a snappy conclusion, and I was a little sorry that it didn't give more details of his return home.
Overall, this is a book that is well worth reading, but it doesn't quite match up to Sledge's memoir.
Ben Kane, author of The Forgotten Legion.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A nust read, chilling.... so real you can feel and smell as if you were therePublished 2 months ago by morwar
What a well written & moving story! Having watched the series on TV I was compelled to look this book up! Highly recommend.Published 3 months ago by james
Like other readers, I came to this via the HBO series The Pacific - which is outstanding. But this book is a great missed opportunity. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Leigh
Bought this after watching " The Pacific". What a good read from start to finish. Respect to all those guys who fought and died in the Pacific, this book tells you what it... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Tony
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