From New York Times
bestselling author James Brady—the story of Marine legend John Basilone, one of three main characters in HBO's The Pacific
Hero of the Pacific tells the dramatic, compelling, and all-but-forgotten life story of a small-town boy who became one of World War II?s greatest and best-known heroes. His bravery on Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima earned him the Medal of Honor and Navy Cross, respectively. Once you read this powerful tale, you?ll never forget John Basilone.
- Profiles one of three main characters in HBO's The Pacific, the sequel scheduled for March 2010 to the incredibly popular 2001 mini-series Band of Brothers
- Sorts through the differing accounts of Basilone's life and exploits, including what he did on Iwo Jima and how he died
- The final book by James Brady, the Korean War veteran and well-known columnist and author of books that include Why Marines Fight and his memoir, The Coldest War, a Pulitzer Prize finalist
An incredible story masterfully told, Hero of the Pacific will appeal to anyone with an interest in World War II and military history as well as fans of HBO's The Pacific.
Amazon Exclusive: Q&A with Author James Brady’s Daughters
Photo of the late James Brady, courtesy of the author's family
The late James Brady commanded a Marine Corps rifle platoon during the Korean War and was awarded a Bronze Star for valor. For more than two decades, he wrote the "In Step With" column for Parade magazine. He authored eighteen books, among them several on the Marines, and was a New York Times bestselling author.
Read the Amazon-exclusive interview with Brady’s daughters, Susan Konig and Fiona Brady.
Why do you think your father chose to focus on John Basilone for this most recent book? What sets Basilone’s story apart from the thousands of other Marines who fought in WWII?
Our Dad understood first hand how the Marine Corps can shape a person’s character. In this book he explored the question, “can a single night define a man’s life?” John Basilone was an everyman from humble beginnings who found himself in the midst of extraordinary circumstances during World War II. His courageous actions earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor, and also—for a short but intense period—resulted in an uncommon degree of public attention and adulation. He wasn’t a poster boy by any means, but a rough and tumble character who became an American idol when the nation was sorely in need of heroes and daring deeds. Our Dad knew that the idea of a regular guy being called upon to do extraordinary things always makes a good story.
Since WWII, there’s been some controversy surrounding Basilone’s legacy as a war hero. How does the book deal with this?
Famous inaccuracies grew up around John Basilone’s legacy, even as he was fading from national memory, except among the Marines and in his hometown of Raritan, New Jersey. Our Dad was a seasoned writer and reporter with nearly seven decades of experience to call on as he tracked down sources who had known John Basilone—people he grew up with or fought along side. He investigated historical documentation, discovered errors, sorted out truth from hyperbole, and ultimately had to make his own determination about Basilone and what happened at Guadalcanal and on Iwo Jima.
Basilone is one of the soldiers profiled in HBO’s new series The Pacific. Why do you think Basilone was chosen as one of the main characters for the show?
John Basilone is a compelling figure, a tragic hero in some ways because of his ultimate fate. There were many young men of valor on the battlefields of the Pacific, but how many of them came home, were paraded around associating with Hollywood stars, and then chose to return to the islands of the Pacific to battle alongside their men?
If it weren’t true, it would make a great story. The fact that it really happened makes readers sit up and take notice. There is also the underlying recognition that our young men and women serving in the United States military right now face these kinds of challenges and defining moments on a daily basis.
Sadly, your father passed away just after completing the manuscript for this book. What do you think he would have thought about all of the attention Basilone is now receiving?
He would have been proud to know that a new generation is learning about a great American hero.
The first serious biography of Medal of Honor winner “Manila John” Basilone is also, sadly, Brady’s last book. He died immediately after completing it, having done his work well. Basilone came from a blue-collar Italian family in New Jersey and had served in the army in the Philippines before the war. For World War II, he joined the marines and won the Medal of Honor as a machine-gunner on Guadalcanal. Sent home as a celebrity for a bond tour, he found his new status a burden and repeatedly tried to get back into combat. Before he did, he married a fellow marine, but what promised to be a highly successful marriage was cut tragically short when Basilone was killed in action on the first day on Iwo Jima. Brady has ferreted out and interviewed practically all the survivors of those who knew Basilone, critiqued most of the previous accounts (sometimes scathingly) on the basis of his own experience as a marine, and generally left us one good marine’s tribute to another. --Roland Green