With The Old Breed by E. B. Sledge
Presidio Press published in this edition 2007, originally published in 1981, 352 pages
Biography, History, Military, World War II
This book was bought by me for the purpose of reading/reviewing.
E. B. Sledge or Eugene Sledge enlisted into the Marines December 3, 1942. He was born and raised in Alabama, the son of a doctor. He was in the 1st Marine Division, 5th Marine, 3rd Battalion, Company K. Sledge writes of the 2 major battles that he took part in: Peleliu and Okinawa.
This is how the book is divided: Part 1 is Peleliu and Part 2 is Okinawa. Previous to these are the foreward, preface and introduction, and each of these are powerful and memorable. Sledge writes of his making of a Marine, travels to the Pacific, the 2 historic battles on Peleliu and Okinawa. Sledge also writes of what was in his combat pack, the Gideon Bible he carried, what he ate, his feelings of not being able to stay clean--
"Fear and filth went hand in hand."
and the various Marines that he came to consider family--
"Friendship was the only comfort a man had."
Sledge writes of the destruction and human carnage of war, and the senseless waste of war.
He writes honestly about his fear and trepidation, the end of his youthful innocence, and his feelings of deep hate toward the Japanese. He stated more than once in the book that he was afraid of being a coward.
He writes with piercingly, descriptive, raw details. He is surreal and calm on the exterior, yet his heart is racing and his eyes and ability to perceive what is going on around him is stuporous.
"My mouth is full of dry rocks and I can't speak cannot express words adequate the horrors, pain, sacrifice that these men went through."
He gives the details and statistics of casualties and wounded, the circumference and terrain of the islands.
The book is a stark, acrid, vision through Sledge's eyes of war.
This was probably the hardest book I've ever read, it is horrifying and emotional because it happened. Most of all it happened in defense of all the freedoms that I hold precious. I am overwhelmed that another human would be willing to give his life for me. I have personalized this book, I feel it should be personalized and held in honor.
Yes, I encourage you to read this book and next time you see a Marine or another person in a military uniform, thank them!
The last sentence of the book should be emblazoned in every newspaper in America as a reminder. But this would not be politically correct?
"With privilege goes responsibility."
Semper Fidelis--Always Faithful