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With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa [Kindle Edition]

E.B. Sledge
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,346 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
You Save: $2.00 (25%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

“Eugene Sledge became more than a legend with his memoir, With The Old Breed. He became a chronicler, a historian, a storyteller who turns the extremes of the war in the Pacific—the terror, the camaraderie, the banal and the extraordinary—into terms we mortals can grasp.”—Tom Hanks

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In The Wall Street Journal, Victor Davis Hanson named With the Old Breed one of the top five books on epic twentieth-century battles. Studs Terkel interviewed the author for his definitive oral history, The Good War. Now E. B. Sledge’s acclaimed first-person account of fighting at Peleliu and Okinawa returns to thrill, edify, and inspire a new generation.

An Alabama boy steeped in American history and enamored of such heroes as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene B. Sledge became part of the war’s famous 1st Marine Division—3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Even after intense training, he was shocked to be thrown into the battle of Peleliu, where “the world was a nightmare of flashes, explosions, and snapping bullets.” By the time Sledge hit the hell of Okinawa, he was a combat vet, still filled with fear but no longer with panic.

Based on notes Sledge secretly kept in a copy of the New Testament, With the Old Breed captures with utter simplicity and searing honesty the experience of a soldier in the fierce Pacific Theater. Here is what saved, threatened, and changed his life. Here, too, is the story of how he learned to hate and kill—and came to love—his fellow man.

“In all the literature on the Second World War, there is not a more honest, realistic or moving memoir than Eugene Sledge’s. This is the real deal, the real war: unvarnished, brutal, without a shred of sentimentality or false patriotism, a profound primer on what it actually was like to be in that war. It is a classic that will outlive all the armchair generals’ safe accounts of—not the ‘good war’—but the worst war ever.”—Ken Burns


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

Review

"Eugene Sledge became more than a legend with his memoir, With The Old Breed. He became a chronicler, a historian, a storyteller who turns the extremes of the war in the Pacific —the terror, the camaraderie, the banal and the extraordinary—into terms we mortals can grasp."—Tom Hanks

“In all the literature on the Second World War, there is not a more honest, realistic or moving memoir than Eugene Sledge's. This is the real deal, the real war: unvarnished, brutal, without a shred of sentimentality or false patriotism, a profound primer on what it actually was like to be in that war. It is a classic that will outlive all the armchair generals' safe accounts of—not the "good war"—but the worst war ever.”—Ken Burns


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Review

Eugene Sledge became more than a legend with his memoir, With The Old Breed. He became a chronicler, a historian, a storyteller who turns the extremes of the war in the Pacific - the terror, the camaraderie, the banal and the extraordinary - into terms we mortals can grasp. Tom Hanks In all the literature on the Second World War, there is not a more honest, realistic or moving memoir than Eugene Sledge's. This is the real deal, the real war: unvarnished, brutal, without a shred of sentimentality or false patriotism, a profound primer on what it actually was like to be in that war. It is a classic that will outlive all the armchair generals' safe accounts of--not the "good war"--but the worst war ever. Ken Burn Of all the books about the ground war in the Pacific, [With the Old Breed] is the closest to a masterpiece. The New York Review of Book

Product Details

  • File Size: 2471 KB
  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Presidio Press; Reprint edition (December 18, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000VMFDW2
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,988 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
579 of 593 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars With Gene Sledge and The Old BreedBeedd August 6, 2004
Format:Paperback
As I found outshortly after I first read With The Old Breed...Gene Sledge and I were in the same replacement draft which joined the 1st Marine Division on Pavuvu, British Russell Islands, but were in different units in the division. We both made the Peleliu and Okinawa landings, and his account of both battles--the savagery and bloodletting is exactly as it was. Coinicidentally, I was a stretcher bearer supporting Company K, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, Gene's outfit but I didn't know that until long after the war. Gene became a close friend after his book was published and we exchanged experiences. With The Old Breed deserves every commendation it has received over the years, from Marine veterans and others We lost Gene to cancer several years ago, but his memory and memoir will live on and be an inspiration to Marines of this and future generations, as will the exploits of the 1st Marine Division in all of its combat operations. Benis M. Frank, Chief Historian of the Marine Corps, Retired.
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692 of 712 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SLEDGE: THE ROBERT GRAVES OF THE MARINES November 26, 2002
Format:Paperback
Although the cover and the title may not sound that eloquent or poetic, make no mistake, Sledge's elegy stands along perhaps 10 other wartime biographies written this century. He not only recounts war and the charnel houses of these two battles, but does it in a way that is both extremely moving in a prose style that is very reminiscent of the Robert Graves' WWI "Goodbye to all That" or WWII's Farley Mowat's "And No Birds Sang."

Sledge, who is not a professional writer like the above gentleman but writes, in my opinion, equally as well. As such Sledge has written the quintessential experience of the Marine in the Pacific War. it is one of the best, eloquent, haunting, and poetic reads I have every come across, and more than most war memoirs it is very, very scary.

I think that one should be able to read through it quickly. I also liked it cause I ended up clawing through the jungle in the Horseshoe region on Peleliu and seeing nothing but gun positions, caves, and small human shaped holes in the coral landscape with Sake Bottles and used and unused cartridges in the holes.

I took this book to Peleliu in 1998. The Jungle has mostly come back and there are few tourists on the Island, and none off the very few trails. The caves are littered with broken Japanese Army helmets, some rusted badly, others with the green in good condition.

One can see nothing but jungle cleaved coral. After passing the usual "squid pots" (what the Japanese called the small coral caves and holes the dot the island), I was suddenly standing on an old oil drum, now rusted the same colour as the brown moss of the jungle. Then another drum.... rows of drums filled with coral. About at least 50 of them lined to a depth of three of four-deep covering the entrance to a coral cave.
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401 of 420 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book on combat ranks in the very highest tier. January 4, 2000
Format:Paperback
This account by E.B. Sledge, a Marine PFC who landed on Peleliu and
Okinawa, details the violence and brutality of these two battles so
realistically that it is a disturbing and haunting book. Peleliu was
supposed to last 3 to 4 days, but went on for 2 months and cost the
Marines 1,262 dead and 5,274 wounded. The statistics from Okinawa
contain a action, and 26,221 neuropsychiatric "non-battle
casualties." At Peleliu, Sledge "had tasted the bitterest
essence of war, the sight of helpless comrades being slaughtered, and
it filled me with disgust." Peleliu was a jagged coral island
which caused cuts and tears on contact with human flesh, and there was
a lot of such contact. "It was almost impossible to dig a
protective foxhole in the rock." Once inland one's senses were
overwhelmed by the sight and smell of corpses filled with maggots,
human excrement on top of coral everywhere, dysentery, rotting
American and Japanese rations, huge flies, knee deep mud, rainstorms,
tropical oven heat, snapping bullets, and exploding shells. More than
once Sledge saw a Marine slide down a ridge into rotting Japanese
corpses to find himself covered with maggots and vomiting from the
smell. Peleliu was an "assault into hell;" the landscape
"hell's own cesspool." After the landing, with Marines
suffering from heat prostration, even the water came from hell --it
came in old oil drums, and the oil residue caused the troops to retch
in the broiling sun. When Sledge sees his comrades cutting gold teeth
from the Japanese--some while they are still alive--he is disgusted
and sickened.
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82 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book describing war July 30, 2002
Format:Paperback
"With The Old Breed" is a stunning eye witness account of one Marines trip from Boot Camp to the South Pacific during World War II. Sledge writes an autobiographical and historical account of his own experiences as a member of K Company, Third Battalion, Fifth Marines, First Marine Division. Coming late to the war in 1944, Sledge "only" participates in two of the famous 1st Marine battles - Peleliu and Okinawa. Throughout his account he speaks of his training, the closeness of combat and the horrors of war.
After initially enlisting in the Marines in 1942, Sledge enrolled in Marine ROTC but like may others in his class, he felt the call of the war and after a semester he went to boot camp. It was here that he got his first taste of Marine training. By this time the Marines had plenty of combat veterans who had been rotated home to fill the ranks of instructors. The effect of having veterans train the newest can be measured by their initial survival in combat. The instructors prepared Sledge and his peers well with tough, realistic training - training that would keep them alive in the first days in combat. His state side training was followed up with more once he reached the Pacific and a healthy dose of iron discipline. Again, the hard training paid off for Sledge. Later in the war the Marines ran out of time for proper training and integration of new troops. The result was dead Marines, to new to know what to do. Training and discipline were the difference between life and death in the initial days in combat. Sledge received and absorbed his training and went home without a scratch.
Though Sledge does not specifically address it, I was struck by the closeness of the combat he faced. Peleiu was a only 12 square miles - 6 miles long by 2 miles wide.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars He loved it.
A classic of WW II in the Pacific; I bought this copy as a gift to my doctor's father who served in that area of the war. He loved it.
Published 9 hours ago by Charles T. DeShong
4.0 out of 5 stars WWII book well written
Very enjoyable book on WWII
Published 1 day ago by R. Pinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A must read for all Marines.
Published 4 days ago by Jodi bishop
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loves it
Published 4 days ago by Debra muhl
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Account of a Foot Soldier in the Pacific Theater in World War...
I have a good friend who comes from a military family. His own resume is outstanding, have served as a Marine Fighter Pilot, a Navy Flight Surgeon, and an Air Force Doctor; he... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Michael A. Nelson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Alarming,
Published 5 days ago by Michael P Baumann
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd say "incredible story" if it was fiction. The ...
I'd say "incredible story" if it was fiction. The fact that it is not a story, but rather a documentary of what happened at the battles to take Peleliu and Okinawa from the... Read more
Published 6 days ago by sheila saunders
5.0 out of 5 stars pacific battles
Powerful telling of what one man went through in war. Great balance of keeping attention but also gave commentary on the horrors of war!
Published 6 days ago by brian
5.0 out of 5 stars The story of the Marenes who fought and died.
I saw Mr Sledge in a PBS story of the Pacific canpagne. This made me want to know more about the man.His experiences as a Marine were riviting. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Raymond Holderman
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Pacific WW II Book!!!
Great book! If you've seen The Pacific and liked it then I recommend this book. I thought it was a little better than Helmet For My Pillow (which was also excellent).
Published 6 days ago by Mike B.
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More About the Author

E. B. "Sledgehammer" SLEDGE was born and grew up in Mobile. In late 1943 he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. After basic training, he was sent to the Pacific Theater where he fought at Peleliu and Okinawa, two of the fiercest battles of WW II. Following the Japanese surrender, Sledge served in China as part of the occupation force. Upon his return home, he obtained a Ph.D. in biology and joined the faculty of Alabama College (later the University of Montevallo), where he taught until retirement. Sledge initially wrote about his war experiences to explain them to his family, but he was persuaded by his wife to seek publication. Sledge died on March 3, 2001.

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