Reading and learning are two of my passions and it is my pleasure to share these books with you.I have read them all and have found them to be both insightful and engaging. I encourage your feedback and I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did.
Maj Chris Buckham
Thursday, 25 July 2013
With the Old Breed - E.B. Sledge
Title: With the Old Breed Author: E.B. Sledge ISBN: 978-0-89141-906-8 Softcover Pages: 326 Illustrations: 42 B/W, 10 maps Publisher: Ballantine Books
Sledge was a soldier. Like soldiers everywhere who have experienced and lived
through war, he was profoundly affected by it. His memoire of his experiences,
originally drafted for his family, has become a classic of the wartime genre.
Joining the Marine corps in 1942, he took part in the battles of Peleliu and
Okinawa. Originally slated to become an officer, Sledge transferred to the
ranks in order to get to the front faster. This was not because he was enamored
with the idea of fighting but because of a simple desire to do his part on
behalf of his country. He became a rifleman in the 1st Division, 3rd
Bn, 5th Company and remained with that unit as a mortar man for the
rest of the war.
writing style is very straightforward and direct. He does not glorify his participation
(if anything he downplays his role) in the fighting but focuses his attention
at trying to relate what he saw and did to those who can hardly imagine the
horrors that he and his buddies experienced. Given that he was writing as a
rifleman, his view and perspective was very local and has little if any vision
beyond the tactical. This is enlightening because so many memoirs are written
by those who were removed from the front line due to rank or task.
related the good and bad in his peers, the enemy and himself. Such things as a
Gunnery Sergeant that makes him dig his foxhole through a buried Japanese
corpse (literally) or a Lieutenant that actually briefs the men onwhere they are and what they are to do and
why (with maps) is indicative of the spectrum of experience that he sees. The description
of the environment in which he and his fellow marines fight and the brutality
that he witnesses beggars belief. That so many of the marines not only
functioned effectively but were able to recover to civilian life once the war
ended is testament, as Sledge puts, to
the outstanding esprit des corps within his unit, the Marine Corps and the
mental toughness developed through realistic training.
is a quiet, humble man who returned to civilian life following the war as a
professor in a small university. He is adamant that what he experienced and
accomplished was unremarkable within the context of the Pacific war. While this
may be true (as far as it goes), what he has written for himself, his family
and really, as a testimony to the Marine Corps in the Pacific war, is anything
but unremarkable. He has created a lasting legacy for future generations of the
scope of sacrifice and dedication that he and his peers gave for future
is, quite simply, mandatory reading for anyone, regardless of whether they are
military or civilian, who strives to understand the true meaning of the word