A bright young mind that aspired to delve into the mysteries of the human brain to alleviate human suffering had itself been destroyed by a tiny chunk of metal. In a quiet, calm voice he told me to get a battle dressing out of his pouch and press it firmly against his face to stop the bleeding while he finished work on the wounded arm. Individual moments Sledge describes kind of get at what they endured every single day - it's not just the battles, but the truck that brought water to a remote unit, except the water was in a 55-gallon drum. Eugene Sledge was a freshman at Marion Military institute, his family pushing for him to eventually become an officer in the United States Army. He dropped out in order to be a fighting Marine before the war was over. Little boys tear around with swords and guns fighting off imaginary enemies.
This is an honest, at times sad Not much can be added to the previous reviews of this excellent book. On 8 May Nazi Germany surrendered unconditionally. When we learned that the flag of the Confederacy had been hoisted over the very heart and soul of Japanese resistance, all of us Southerners cheered loudly. His descriptions provide insight into these battles, and war in general, that have so far escaped more graphic, visual mediums--including The Pacific. Would I become so casual and calloused about enemy dead? I almost immediately took the return flight so I could finish the book, but since my sister was waiting for me I paused reading the tale, but got back to it as soon as I could. In his case 60mm Mortars, so he was fairly close to the front line, in some cases on it. It was his wife who persuaded him to submit it to a publisher.
Sledge wrote this memoir less for strangers than to tell his own family what his war had been like. Like a true Marine, Sledge possessed gifts and talents beyond fighting. 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. So all the armchair generals who think we messed up by dropping the A-Bomb need to read this book and remember that it took more than 80 days and over 110,000 dead Japanese to get a six mile island named Okinawa. . Then I told myself that God loved us all and that many would die or be ruined physically or mentally or both by the next morning and in the days following. I think what sets Sledge's account apart from others like it are his honest and thoughtful introspective musings on the inhumanity of war, fear, his anger and resentment against the Japanese, and many other heartfelt opinions.
This book is different from other memoirs because of the detail. In the summer of 1962, Sledge was appointed assistant professor of biology at Alabama College now the University of Montevallo. Sledge with one of his dachshunds. If you have eve I would give it six stars if I could. Men must be trained realistically if they are to survive it without breaking, mentally and physically. What is it about war which makes us glorify it? From basic training, to the pre-launch nervous intestinal visits to the head, to landing in the fray of battle and wondering which bullet was going to kill you. They are almost always among the bravest and most dedicated part of a unit.
The book follows him through training, then to the Pacific outpost of Pavuvu, then into the battlefields of Peleliu and Okinawa. Warning: this review includes some spoilers. Burgin and Eugene Sledge is in his squad, a morater squad. Each shovelful had to be knocked off the spade, because it stuck like glue. We were unable to understand their attitudes until we ourselves returned home and tried to comprehend people who griped because America wasn't perfect, or their coffee wasn't hot enough, or they had to stand in line and wait for a train or a bus. But the authors desire to serve his country in battle with the enemy before the war was over was strong enough to make him end his college career and begin anew in the Marine Corps. Both books are well worth reading even if I probably enjoyed, and would recommend, this one more.
Few seemed to realize how blessed they were to be free and untouched by the horrors of war. Described as one of the finest memoirs to emerge from any war, With the Old Breed tells with compassion and honesty of the cruelty, bravery and deaths of the men he fought alongside, and of his own journey from patriotic innocence to battle-scarred veteran. From 1956 to 1960 Sledge attended the University of Florida and worked as a research assistant. I gazed down in horror and disbelief as the metal scraped a clean track through the mud along the dirty whitish bone and cartilage with ribs attached. It is this honesty, simplicity, and modesty that gives Sledge's book its extraordinary power. The commander of Japanese forces spent weeks preparing the island beforehand. He talks about officers they admired and those they hated and feared.
He describes having watched corpse being feasted on by huge blowflies. The technology that developed the rifle barrel, the machine gun and high explosive shells has turned war into prolonged, subhuman slaughter. I had hoped that by sharing his pain a healing could take place. One marine that Sledge was not familiar with, budged in and took a share of the spoils. Sledge along with his friends in company K. His students would have been hard pressed to understand the horrific memories that lay beneath his gentle exterior as he led them on field trips identifying native botanical plants.
Everything smells awful, because maggot-infested corpses are everywhere. Throughout the book marines are seen on litter duty; volunteering to run into the midst battle with a stretcher to carry out dead or wounded Marines. In 1982, he published his memoir under the title With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa. This book should be on everybody's list. When he's not being forced into extreme emotions due to extreme contexts, Sledge shows nothing but unadorned respect for his fellow marines, the army soldiers he fought alongside, and every once in a while, however begrudgingly, the Japanese soldiers he fights againts.
Frankly, it's almost unnerving how little perspective and context inform the tale. I like it and i will share it to others. Sledge describes the feeling of waiting to disembark the amtrac. I think of the young men and woman of today that have served in country and how some do not understand the trauma they experience. In this book, God shows us the relationship He is making with his people and all that He has created. One of them was Haney, a gunnery sergeant, who was very Asiatic apparently with his antics won't spoil them here - you have to read it yourself! Sledge's account is told in frank, straight forward and understated language.
Alas, Sledge was so tired, he concedes he couldn't take it in. Situations like that can only be avoided through a more constant focus on the situation and situational awareness. He felt a hand pull at him from the shoulders and pushed him to his senses. They really were extraordinary young men. Sledge encounters an elderly Okinawan woman in a hut, who opens her kimono to reveal a hideously infected, gangrenous wound in her abdomen, no doubt from the shelling that happened during the initial invasion of the island. His memoir of men at war should be read throughout the coming generations by anyone ever inclined to take the matter of war with an attitude of indifference.