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China Marine: An Infantryman's Life after World War II Paperback – September 4, 2003
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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"Vivid, lively, personally touching.... The book will last. Like With the Old Breed, it will be read, appreciated, and taught, now and for decades to come."--Stephen E. Ambrose, from the Foreword
About the Author
E. B. Sledge was a World War II veteran, author of With the Old Breed, and a professor of biology at the University of Montevallo, Alabama. He died in March 2001.
Stephen E. Ambrose was an American historian and professor of history at the University of New Orleans.
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With Sledge's experience, one would have thought that he would have been among the first among the military to be demobilized after the end of the war with Japan -- but no, he and his colleagues were sent to China to disarm the Japanese soldiers there and to maintain order in several northern Chinese cities. This is Sledge's account of the six months he spent in China. His view is that of a Private First Class -- but an educated and sophisticated PFC, the son of a medical doctor from Mobile, Alabama, and an outstanding writer. He delighted in Peking, fresh food, a clean bunk, light duties, and friendship with the sophisticated Soong family -- but the danger from attack by communist armies was always there.
Sledge goes on to tell of the trauma of his discharge from the Marines and homecoming to Mobile and, briefly, his long years of struggle with what we call today Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It's a small book, only 160 pages, and an interesting, beautifully written, account of the decompression of a combat soldier and his return home.
Sledge died in 2001 but he was often quoted in Ken Burn's recent PBS series on World War II. Sledge is a true American hero.
Sledge gets caught up in revolution in China pitting Mao Tse Tung against the forces of Chiang Kai-shek. However, while these events are certainly important and there was danger in being there, if you're looking for battlefield action, the reader will be disappointed. But there's a more important aspect to the book that will not disappoint, though it should be saddening.
We know Sledge the soldier from his previous book. China Marine shows us the toll on the soldier. The reader can feel the pain and anguish the author feels and that makes it worth reading. A short but powerful book.
His description of the hurricane, floating mines, the clogged Hai Ho River, Japanese repatriation, the unbelievable horrible poverty the biting North China cold, and the fragile relations between the Chinese and the US Military brought back so many memories. Our primary duties were to bring in supplies for the Marines which were unloaded from ships off shore into barges that were towed up the river to Tangku. These included food, ammunition, aircraft fuel, and general supplies. On a recent visit to the area, the river was dredged to allow large ships to come upstream. The previous decrepit cities of Tangku and Taku were now modern busling ports. Tangku has been renamed Xiangxiang (sec?) aptly meaning New City.The people were clean well fed and thriving. Adversity has created a new tough confident Chinese populace. While I was able to visit Tiensin many times we were cautioned to avoid Peking (Beijing). This had to await my return as a tourist.