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I'm Staying with My Boys: The Heroic Life of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC Paperback – February 2, 2010

4.0 out of 5 stars 99 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“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 is a writer and film producer. He lives in California.

Jerry Cutter is the nephew of Sgt. John Basilone. His current projects are the documentary and feature film versions of his uncle's story. He lives in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312611447
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312611446
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This was, quite simply horrible, it purports to be a biography of one of the legends of the USMC, Gunnery Sgt. " Manila" John Basilone. Basilone was a machine gunner at Guadalcanal who was instrumental in breaking the back of the massive Japanese assault on Henderson Field on 24/25 October 1942. For his bravery and effectiveness Basilone was awarded the Medal of Honor and sent on a War Bond tour. After the tour, Basilone was assigned to train Marines for later amphibious assaults. In 1945, he gave up his safe state-side training billet, demanding to accompany his trainees into combat. He was killed on the first day of the Iwo Jima invasion after single-handedly destroying a Japanese bunker that was pinning down his unit.

The book was not nearly worthy of Gunny Basilone. In the first place, somebody decided to write the damn thing in the "first person" as if Basilone himself were the author. Since everyman and his dog knows that Basilone died in combat, this is just creepy. Second, there is a lot of "mental explanation" in the book (the authors, one of whom is Gunny Basilone's cousin, probably chose the "first person" perspective so they could put this crap in the book), but it is largely stuff the authors had no way of knowing. Stuff like How Basilone felt about a particular girl back home, or how he ended a "friends with benefits" type of relationship he had with another woman.

The book in short on facts, but long on made up stuff about what GySgt Basilone was thinking or about how he felt, which stuff the authors have no way of knowing since the man has been dead for 65 years.

Don't be suckered by the blatant attempt on the cover to tie in with the new HBO. This book just sucked. GySgt Basilone deserves a better biography.
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Format: Paperback
This is a very bad book. It is billed as "The Authorized Biography of the Legendary Marine Featured in HBO's The Pacific", but in reality should be sold as A Novel Based on the Life of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC.
As stated in previous reviews, the use of first person narrative is very wrong. Proser justifies this approach "based on hundreds of hours of interviews with people who knew John well and spoke with him frequently". But he does not give us any sources stating with whom and when he conducted these interviews, and the specific citations used from them. We are supposed to just take his word that these interviews took place and support his contention that this work accurately reflects Basilone's innermost thoughts and beliefs.
First person can only be legitimately used in autobiographies and novels. Since Basilone is dead this cannot be an autobiography, and so it is a novel.
The second major problem, again previously cited, is the constant and glaring mistakes in period facts and details. The authors should have used a good technical editor who knew the period detail to weed these out.
For example, one of many really bad mistakes can be found on page 266: "From the Army was Sgt. Schiller Cohen, the Navy man was Bosun's Mate Second Class Ward Gemmer and the Air Force threw in Machinist Mate First Class -which was their grade name for a pilot- Robert Creak".
Machinist Mate was, and is, a Navy grade for personnel who work with the power plants in ships. The Air Force has never used that grade and it certainly was not what they called pilots. Anyone with even a rudimentary knowledge of the WW II military would have spotted this.
The military is in general very detail orientated, and the Marines particularly so.
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It is interesting that Amazon asks whether one is over 13 years old when you are going to review a book here. I am sure a thirteen year old would LOVE this book. I know I would have if I were 13. It is just the kind of book I read back then (early 1960's) AND enjoyed.

I feel sorry thst the Basilone family could not find a better writer than Mr. Proser to write this book.

FIRST the attempt at first person NARRATIVE is off putting. Mr. Proser did not do enough research into actual military history, OR the history of the period to be able to pull his trick off. I find it outrageous (bordering on sacriligeious) that he felt competent to insert himself "into" the head of John Basilone- one of the Marine Corps' GREATEST heros.

Mr. Proser has a mighty high opinion of his writing skills that I do not share.

He mixes up facts, introduces wording/phrases that are not only incorrect for the period, but lifted almost directly from Hollywood "Marine" movies from the Sands of Iwo Jima to Heartbreak Ridge. He should be ashamed of himself.

He also makes the mistake, in trying to set scenes, of ascribing to Basilone information/knowledge he could not have known at the time that Proser has him saying them.

Second, when ANYONE writes military history, you need to have MAPS that allow one to understand the Strategic AND Tactical situation. This book is woefully inadequate in this department.

Someday, someone will write a definitive, respectful biography of this great American Warrior - THIS AIN'T IT!
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