68 of 74 people found the following review helpful
An Eloquent Account of Wartime Experience,
This review is from: Helmet For My Pillow (Military History (Ibooks)) (Paperback)
Robert Leckie gives a gripping first person narrative in which he seemingly pulls no punches about life in the mud and among the flawed but heroic men of the First Marine Division. He recounts hardship, cameraderie, and combat in an engaging, almost lyrical, fashion. I came away from "Helmet" with a renewed respect for the sacrifice of the Greatest Generation. Uncommon valor was truly a common virtue. Leckie's story will make any 18 year old want to march down to the recruiting station and sign up.
Leckie's story dovetails quite nicely with another memoir, "With the Old Breed at Peliliu and Okinawa," the account of another First Division rifleman, E.B. Sledge. The First Marine Division's WWII career began in the jungles of Guadalcanal, went through New Britain and on to Peliliu and ended at Okinawa. Leckie was in at the beginning, but his combat career ended when he was wounded in the Hell of Peliliu. Sledge's combat career began at Peliliu and ended on Okinawa. Together the two give you an enlisted man's eye view of all the First Division's campaigns.
Sledge doesn't turn a phrase as well as Leckie, but his description of combat will make your blood run cold in a way that "Helmet" does not. Any 18 year old reading "Old Breed" will want to tear up his enlistment papers. It seems odd that Leckie, obviously the more accomplished wordsmith, does not paint as horrific a picture of combat as Sledge. Could it be that Leckie has shied away from revealing the full extent of the hardship of combat? Or could it be that Peliliu and Okinawa served up privation and hardship on a much grander scale than Guadalcanal and New Britain? Read both books and decide for yourself. For all its stark description, "Old Breed" will engender the same kind of respect for the men of the First Division that the reader takes away from "Helmet."
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 28, 2010 3:24:37 PM PDT
Bob Smith says:
awesome review George.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2015 4:44:54 PM PDT
Thanks for the review. I've read Sledge's account, I will read this one too. BTW, Sledge was part of a 60 mm mortar crew.
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