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I'm Staying with My Boys Paperback – February 2, 2010
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“Everyone should read this book, the story of a true American Hero. I served with John Basilone and I can hear his voice in every page.” ―Thomas O. Nass, 5th Marine Division, WWII
“This book about the legendary John Basilone is presented in such a personal style that one would believe that "Manila John" is still alive. Not since William Manchester authored his memoir GOODBYE DARKNESS twenty-five years ago has a book been written about one man that seems so authentic.” ―Col. Ken Jordan, USMC, ret.
“A lot has been written about my brother in the war, but it's important to know his whole story. This book tells the story of John as a boy, a teenager, and a man. Every student should study and learn from it.” ―Carlo Basilone, John's brother
About the Author
Jim Proser's first book, I’m Staying with My Boys, was awarded the United States Marine Corps Commandant’s Recommendation. Prosner wrote and directed, with Jerry Cutter, a documentary of the same name, and I'm Staying with My Boys was used as source material for HBO's critically acclaimed, award-winning miniseries, The Pacific.
Jerry Cutter is the nephew of Sgt. John Basilone. He also collaborated with Prosner on the documentary version of his uncle's story. He lives in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
- Item Weight : 10.9 ounces
- Paperback : 350 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0312611447
- ISBN-13 : 978-0312611446
- Dimensions : 5.65 x 0.88 x 8.24 inches
- Publisher : Griffin; 1st edition (February 2, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #103,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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What is so heart-warming about all of this is that once a person actually perceives what his calling is in life, his mind is clear from that day forward as to exactly what he should be doing, and he is infinitely happier once he has discovered his true calling, and not just treading water, or doing something he isn't totally convinced is the right thing to do.
He was a fish out of water, trying to get into the role of all the mundane things most of us find ourselves doing, just to earn a living, and he was totally frustrated in trying to find just exactly what he was destined to do.
He felt comfortable being a soldier, and felt capable and not overly disturbed at the notion of killing people, if that was what he was called upon to do. After all - somebody has to do it, so why not someone who was good at it?
And then, in his off time, being surrounded by others who were just like him, that he felt comfortable with, to back him up, and who he was readily willing to also back them up.
He was also honest enough to admit that womanizing and boxing and golf rounded out the rest of his existence, and, speaking for myself, I don't find anything about that attitude that's not to like.
(With the possible exception of the boxing. I wouldn't exactly relish the thought of my face being used as a punching bag.)
The first half of the book deals almost exclusively with his life before joining the Marines. It includes his early years in Raritan, New Jersey and through his Army career, part of which was served in the Philippines where he was known as "Manila John". This part of the book is somewhat tedious as it depicts a confused young man desperately trying to find his path in life. Many will relate to his fallibility and humanity as Basilone struggles with the competing impulses within him to find himself and settle down or continue to wander carefree and aimlessly through life.
The book picks up steam in the second half as he finally finds the meaningfulness in his life as a United States Marine. The many battles on Guadalcanal are capably described in this section along with the utter depravity and ghastly conditions on the battlefield. The author needed to do better research so he would know the difference between "The Slot" and "Ironbottom Sound".
Basilone resorts to his aimless and restless ways when transferred back to the States on a War Bond Drive tour and had to leverage his celebrity with senior Marine brass to wangle a training assignment back to the "fleet" with the newly formed 5th Marine Division. That assignment leads him ultimately to his untimely death on the black sulfur sands of Iwo Jima. While this book was at times both difficult and unsettling to read, it by no means detracts from the heroism and devotion to duty and to country that was the hallmark of Sgt. John Basilone.
John E. Nevola
Author of The Last Jump - A Novel of World War II