The list author says: "This is a work in progress. I'm interested in Pacific memoirs and I hope to fill this list up with examples that I've been able to read. Within the 'comments' space allowed I will note the authors unit, places of service and other points of interest. My particular focus will be the combat experiences of the author and the star rating I give at the start will indicate the degree to which an author reveals what he saw and did. It will also reflect the quality of the writing. Five stars signifies a very well written memoir with lots of combat. Sledge's 'With the Old Breed' is the premier example of this and it is so good that it bumps other very good books down a notch or two. Three stars is still an interesting read and four stars or thereabouts is highly recommended. Anyway, I hope this guide is of use to readers and researchers who are interested in war memoirs from the Pacific Theatre of Operations. As an aid to readers interested in this theatre of operations I've made a 'Supplimentary' list for memoirs I've found but I'm unlikely to read. See my other lists for books by those who served in the ETO."
"5 stars: This is Sledge's epic account of his time as a mortar-man with the 1st Marine Div (K 3rdBn, 5thRegt) on Peleliu and Okinawa. It is a true war memoir in that it is virtually entirely about the author’s combat experiences, almost on every page, very graphic & often not for the faint hearted. This book is one of the top three memoirs of war that I have ever read. Very Highly Recommended!"
"4¾ stars: An astounding book! Overton was a Naval Corpsman with D Co 26th Marines, 5th Div on Iwo Jima. His descriptions of battle are incredibly detailed, virtually rush by rush, graphically conveying the incredible tension & danger. While a medic, Overton is very much in a combat role & he recounts some absolutely gripping events. In some ways this surpasses Sledge’s account. A must read!"
"4¾ stars: McEnery served with the now famous K/3/5 Marines, of 1st Marine Division, fighting on Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester & Peleliu. He sees an enormous amount of close combat, including with the bayonet. There is more detail on Cape G than in other memoirs & his account of capturing Ngesebus (off Peleliu) is extrodinary. There are views on Sledge & the others and heaps of vicious combat!"
"4½ Stars: Manchester, later a celebrated historian, fought on Okinawa with 2/29th Marines, 6th Division. This book is testament to how the written word can knock your socks off! Some of his descriptions of combat are jaw dropping! They are revealed around a later return to the Pacific where he also explores the history of the war, and a curious implication he was in a greater part of it."
"4½ stars: Leckie was with 2/1st Marines, 1st Marine Div on Guadalcanal, New Britain & Peleliu. It is a fairly raw account, covers things like being AWOL, drunk & in the brink. As for battle, he uses his firearm to deadly effect and endures much in the way of return fire & malaria. It is a deeply considered and extremely descriptive account & I found it amazing in many ways. Highly Recommended!"
"4½ stars: Another outstanding book by a 1st Marine Div man. Johnston served with E 2/5th on Bouganville, Pelelieu & Okinawa. Johnston is particularly articulate in the way he reveals combat & wounds. Also fascinating is his journey from naïve country boy to hardened marine. His reflections cover nightmares and a critique of the Corps. A shorter book but a very intense read. Highly recommended!"
"4½ stars: Ladd was with 1/8th 2nd Marine Div on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan & Tinian. Ladd’s central narrative is engrossing, he writes extensively about his own actions, including killing but includes intelligent context and the relevant experiences of others. So it is broader in scope than a standard memoir and while this is a strength I will rate it just under Sledge. Highly Recommended!"
"4½ stars: Rogal volunteered & fought with ‘A’ Co 2nd Marines of 2nd Marine Div on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan & Tinian. He is very much involved in the fighting & several times he comes face to face with the enemy. He writes in detail on these and much else & you are left with a very clear picture of what it meant to fight in this war. A very interesting book."
"4¼ stars: Burgin was Sledge’s Sgt in K/3/5th Marines of the 1st Division, fighting at Cape Gloucester, Peleliu & Okinawa. He clearly recognized that Marine training & practices were to make him able to kill & he certainly goes about doing that, sometimes at very close quarters. He also gives some interesting commentary on Sledge & the events in ‘With the Old Breed’. Stark & unsanitised."
"4¼ stars: Another memoir stemming from the TV series ‘The Pacific’. Tatum was a member of Medal of Honor winner John Basilone’s group that forced its way off the beach when the landing on Iwo Jima had stalled. His story here covers in great detail his Iwo experiences as a machine-gunner with B/1/27, 5th Marine Division, clearly revealing the relentless nature of this battle. Strongly recommended."
"4 stars: This is a special book. Kirby served with 3rd Marine Division on Bouganville, Guam & Iwo Jima. While not a standard linear memoir, it is a collection of stories about various events & experiences, explored as it suits the author, it reveals the journey of a young marine with rare power. He revisits boot camp, killing, the bond between men, all with incredible insight. Highly recommended!"
"4 Stars: Lane got into the Marines at 16 (Sgt at 17!) & was with 1st Pioneers of the 1st Marine Division on Guadalcanal, later winning the Silver Star on Cape Gloucester with 2nd/17th Marines (Engineers). He is often in the line & experiences combat, particularly on patrol. He is adept at providing bigger picture context & his book is engaging on many levels. A good starting point for this battle."
"4 stars: Davis served with 2/1st Marines on Peleliu & Okinawa. Apparently the ‘Scholar’ referred to by Leckie, Davis is very articulate & really conjures up the chaos of battle. A runner, he shoots less than others but he is certainly shot at a lot. Some of his material is very vivid, the Peleliu landing in particular but also some fascinating stories of being off the line. Highly Recommended"
"3¾ stars: Friedman enlisted in Sept 42 & was posted to 3/21st Regt of the 3rd Marine Division. He was in the heavy weapons platoon & had quite a variety of interesting experiences in training, at sea & in combat on Bouganville, Guam & Iwo Jima. He is involved in beach assaults, patrols & close quarters fighting, with the first two campaigns being particularly revealing. A short but engaging read!"
"3½ stars: Thomas was assigned to F-2-10, the artillery regiment of the 2nd Marine Division and fought on Tarawa, Saipan, Tinian & Okinawa (as well as in Korea with B-1-11 as FO with F-2-5). There is a lot of variety in the author’s experiences, with many desperate battles, particularly in Korea! There was real insight into the complications of peacetime soldiering too. A very rewarding book!"
"3¼ stars: Marion was a squad leader on Guadalcanal with L/3/5, 1st Marine Division & was very much in the thick of things. He conveys the swirling nature of battle & there is some vivid stuff but he generally writes only sparingly of his personal actions. There is a lot of detail though on the conditions in the beachhead & he witnesses some extraordinary things. Overall, a fascinating read."
"3 stars: Yaffe, an officer with 3rd Marine Tank Bn,fights on Bougainville, Guam & Iwo Jima. He is extremely articulate & fits a lot into a short book. He has some combat in Stuarts early on but largely directs the actions of Shermans. Even so, everywhere was dangerous & he has some extraordinary experiences with the combat very vividly described. The thinking mans war memoir. Highly recommended"
"3 stars: Gallant served with the 11th Marines (1st Div artillery) on Guadalcanal but most of this memoir concerns his training & few have exposed it so comprehensively. While written with edge, Gallant has little to say about direct combat (his book on Iwo is more of a novel), though he has many interesting observations to make. There is some wry humor & it is an interesting read all together."
"3 stars: Neiman fought on Kwajelein, Saipan, Tinian & Iwo Jima as CO of ‘C’ Co, 4th Marine Tank Battalion before going to Okinawa to join 1st Marine Tank for the final stage there. As such, he is mostly directing the fighting but he is certainly in the thick of things, though without being too specific on his own deeds. The strength is the wealth of info on organization & tactics. Recommended"
"2¾ stars: Masters served with 2/2nd Marines of 2nd Marine Division on Tulagi (Guadalcanal), Tarawa and Saipan. He joined the Marines as a young man before the war, learned soldiering properly & had a varity of experiences. His battles are as a machine-gunner & as leader of a recon squad. Despite being in such epic battles & having several close shaves, Master’s account generally lacks detail."
"2¾ stars: Darnell joined aged 17, volunteered for the Raiders but ended up as a cook with 1st Medical Battalion of the 1st Marine Div. He served on Cape Gloucester, Peleliu & Okinawa & as a stretcher bearer on Peleliu sees a lot of death, dealing out a little himself. He sees & experiences some amazing things, one of his recurring themes being the inexplicable nature of battle. Of some interest."
"2¾ stars:This is a self published affair by a veteran of the 2nd Marine Division who fought on Saipan & Tinian. Eardley was a radioman & though certainly in the front line, the bulk of his recollections are of what he saw, rather than of what he did. He got his share of nightmares though. The war aside (the combat covers 40 pages), it is an interesting personal story of a man of the times."
"2½ Stars: Kerr served with 2nd Marine Division on Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan & Tinian & acted as an observer for the 3rd Division’s attack on Kwajalein. Initially he commands a platoon of A/1/6th Marine Regt but is Company Executive Officer for the later battles. He sees some combat and is wounded but the details are generally slight. The book is based on questions put to Mr Kerr by his son."
"2¼ stars: Caruso was with 9thMarines, 3rd Div, briefly on Guam & for 2 weeks on Iwo Jima before becoming one of the many casualties. He writes of combat but his story is mostly presented in short vignettes, sometimes with minimal detail & context. He includes brief accounts by fellow survivors & short tributes to friends killed. A quick read of some interest but disjointed & hard to engage with."
"1½ stars: O’Rourke entered the Marines through the V12 program, where the Navy kept promising men in college with a view to taking them into full time service later. He did well & was selected for Anti-Aircraft school ending up as a battery commander of the 12th AA Battalion on Peleliu. He saw no combat & his book is therefore about his training & general life as a Marine. Of limited interest"