“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 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER In The Wall Street Journal, Victor Davis Hanson named With the Old Breed one of the top five books on epic twentieth-century battles. Studs Terkel interviewed the author for his definitive oral history, The Good War. Now E. B. Sledge’s acclaimed first-person account of fighting at Peleliu and Okinawa returns to thrill, edify, and inspire a new generation. An Alabama boy steeped in American history and enamored of such heroes as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene B. Sledge became part of the war’s famous 1st Marine Division—3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Even after intense training, he was shocked to be thrown into the battle of Peleliu, where “the world was a nightmare of flashes, explosions, and snapping bullets.” By the time Sledge hit the hell of Okinawa, he was a combat vet, still filled with fear but no longer with panic. Based on notes Sledge secretly kept in a copy of the New Testament, With the Old Breed captures with utter simplicity and searing honesty the experience of a soldier in the fierce Pacific Theater. Here is what saved, threatened, and changed his life. Here, too, is the story of how he learned to hate and kill—and came to love—his fellow man. “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 Burns From the Trade Paperback edition.
with the old breed
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On Friday, August 7, 1942, at 1300, after a furious cannonading by the Navy fighting vessels slamming salvo after salvo into the shores, 36-year-old Marine Sergeant Abraham Felber jumped from a Higgins boat onto Beach Red in the first-wave assault on the deadly jungle island of Guadalcanal. Felber was responsible for writing the Record of Events for his unit, and recorded in meticulous detail the fighting that wrested Guadalcanal from the enemy in the skies, off the shores, and in the muddy jungles. This work is part of the diary that Abraham Felber kept during his service in World War II. It begins with January 7, 1941, and ends with December 31, 1945. As the 1st Sergeant of Headquarters Battery, 11th Marines, Felber dealt with both officers and enlisted men, which exposed him to the perspectives and insights of both. Felber was also granted the unusual privilege of taking photographs during the Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester campaigns, some of which are published here for the first time. Felber’s accounts of his unit’s role in the combat at Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester; his time at Guantanamo Bay, Parris Island and Camp Lejune; daily life, and other experiences are presented here as he recorded them.
The true story of R.V. Burgin, the real-life World War II Marine Corps hero featured in HBO®'s The Pacific. “Read his story and marvel at the man...and those like him.”—Tom Hanks When a young Texan named R.V. Burgin joined the Marines 1942, he never imagined what was waiting for him a world away in the Pacific. There, amid steamy jungles, he encountered a ferocious and desperate enemy in the Japanese, engaging them in some of the most grueling and deadly fights of the war. In this remarkable memoir, Burgin reveals his life as a special breed of Marine. Schooled by veterans who had endured the cauldron of Guadalcanal, Burgin’s company soon confronted snipers, repulsed jungle ambushes, encountered abandoned corpses of hara-kiri victims, and warded off howling banzai attacks as they island-hopped from one bloody battle to the next. In his two years at war, Burgin rose from a green private to a seasoned sergeant, fighting from New Britain through Peleliu and on to Okinawa, where he earned a Bronze Star for valor. With unforgettable drama and an understated elegance, Burgin’s gripping narrative stands alongside those of classic Pacific chroniclers like Robert Leckie and Eugene Sledge—indeed, Burgin was even Sledge’s platoon sergeant. Here is a deeply moving account of World War II, bringing to life the hell that was the Pacific War.