With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa

With The Old Breed by Eugene Sledge is THE world war 2 USMC book classic. The upcoming HBO series “The Pacific” uses this book as one of its main sources. It is one of the finest wartime biographies ever written. Easy to read, honest, realistic, violent, brutal and moving. You can really imagine what it must have been like to be a Marine of the 1st Marine Division in the horrific fighting in the Pacific.The viciousnes of the fighting is at times shocking with no quarter given by either side. It is it disturbing to read how some of the Marines under constant exposure to extreme violence and fear  totally loose compassion and without remorse resolve to very cruel behaviours. Contrary to many other books about WW2 (especially by people who did not have to take part in it) there is no overdose of patriotism or glorification of war.
While I noted one or two instances where I think the Author misinterprets Japanese behaviour this does not reflect poorly on him at all . Eugene Sledge wrote down what he felt and concluded at the time from a personal point of view. Even today in hindsight it is difficult for Westerners to understand the mindset of the Japanese solder in WW2. I can not recommend this book strongly enough! A 100% must read!

There have been numerous editions of this book over the years, the latest one has a new cover featuring “The Pacific”  tie in promotion (see above).

The man, the legend. Eugene Sledge on Okinawa:

~ by m1pencil on February 13, 2010.

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