Helmet for My Pillow

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Robert Leckie, one of America's greatest military historians, was both an eyewitness and participant to some of the greatest battles in the Pacific. Helmet for My Pillow is his vivid account of combat and survival in World War II.

In January 1942, in the aftermath of the infamous Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. From boot camp in Parris Island to the bloody war in the Pacific, Robert ...
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2001 Trade paperback New. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 336 p. Military History (Ibooks).

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Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific

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Overview

Robert Leckie, one of America's greatest military historians, was both an eyewitness and participant to some of the greatest battles in the Pacific. Helmet for My Pillow is his vivid account of combat and survival in World War II.

In January 1942, in the aftermath of the infamous Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. From boot camp in Parris Island to the bloody war in the Pacific, Robert Leckie experienced it all - the booze, the brawling, the loving on sixty-two-hour liberty; the courageous fighting and dying in combat as the U.S. Marines slugged it out, inch by inch, island by island across the Pacific to the shores of Japan.
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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
A powerful book that pulls no punches.
Los Angeles Times
Even Professor Jame McPherson's matchless Battle Cry of Freedom is challenged by the narrative excellence of None Died in Vain.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743413077
  • Publisher: ibooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/15/2001
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.33 (w) x 8.21 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 234 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(95)

4 Star

(72)

3 Star

(36)

2 Star

(16)

1 Star

(15)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 237 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Marine Who Was There

    Veterans of combat are affected in different ways by their experiences in war: Some are traumatized for life by the ordeal, and try their best to forget all of it; others re-up/volunteer to go back to the fighting if they are physically able. Bob Leckie became an avid military historian, examining wars from Desert Storm back to the French & Indian War. A burgeoning journalist before enlisting, Leckie knew how to tell a story. I found him just about as objective as a writer can be, considering that he himself is a part of the story.

    Many will probably watch HBO's miniseries, the Pacific (partly based on this book), without reading Leckie's memoir. They owe it to themselves to read the source material. Many things are (out of necessity) condensed, changed or omitted when adapting to the screen. For instance, during the R&R in Australia, Leckie caroused with a few different women, who the film makers had to amalgamate for the camera.

    The Pacific War was a battle not just against the Japanese, but against jungle rot; tropical diseases; horrendous weather; dehydration; and insanity. The biggest differences between Vietnam and the island-hopping campaign during WWII were 1) Commanders in the field, right up to MacArthur, were allowed to pursue victory and 2) The fighting men who returned home after WWII were appreciated by a grateful nation. The horrors endured by both generations was comparable.

    Nonetheless, there are also lighthearted moments, humorous moments, tedious segments...all in all, representative of the wartime military experience.

    20 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2011

    Good book by a man who was there

    This book is a great read. I gave it 4 stars because Leckie is a writer by trade, so the book feels a little more polished than if it were just written by an ordinary soldier with a story to tell. Still a very good read you will not regret.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2010

    For those of you who don't believe me....

    For those of you how don't believe me, one of Robert Leckie's sons teaches Social Studies goes to my middle school in Chester, New Jersey. I have read this book, and it is one of the greatest pieces of literature I have ever read, and even though I am only in 7th grade, I have read my fair share of books. I highly recomend this book to anyone.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2011

    Classic Memoir: A Helmut For My Pillow, A Helmet For My Heart

    World War Two Classic: A Helmet For My Pillow, A Helmet For My Heart
    Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific, Robert Leckie, Bantam Books, 305 pp., 1957, 2010 edition, 16.00.

    First published in 1957, Helmet for My Pillow is the World War Two memoir of Robert Leckie, United States Marine Corps veteran and military historian. Born in 1920, Philadelphia Pennsylvania native Leckie served in the Pacific Theatre with the First Marine Division as a machine gunner and intelligence scout during the Battle of Guadalcanal and later campaigns. One of eight children born into an Irish Catholic family began his writing career, at age 16 as a sports writer for The Bergen Evening Record in New Jersey.

    In 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Leckie enlisted in the Marines. He was assigned to H Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. He deployed to Guadalcanal, Australia, New Guinea, and Cape Gloucester and participated in every major First Marine Division campaign except Okinawa. Drill instructors, disappearing individuality, drunkeness, and new comrades enter Leckie's life during boot camp in MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina, and then during his first post at New River, North Carolina.

    Each take their toll on Leckie: heavy combat at Guadalcanal, jungle patrols in New Guinea, bread-and-water in the brig twice, more months of combat at Point Glouster, assignment to the psychiatric ward for a month, more combat at Bloody Nose Ridge, and blast concussion.

    His comrades are Artist, Chuckler, Commando, Hoosier, Ivy League, Runner, Souvenir, and Straight Talk. Officers steal his cigars and his foot locker. Like William Manchester's Goodbye, Darkness Leckie's memoir offers brilliant descriptions, an amazing use of language, and masterful storytelling. The 2010 HBO mini-series The Pacific was adapted in large part from Helmet for My Pillow, and Eugene Sledge's With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa.

    Leckie's memoir is literature. Leckie's work is fascinating, compelling, highly descriptive writing by one who lived through what hell mankind could make. The conclusion of the story is humane and heartfelt with reflections of the use of the atomic bomb, the loss of comrades, and the nature of sacrifice. A few weeks ago David McCullough prescribed a remedy for the dearth of knowledge about American history among citizens, young and old. He wishes teachers would create history lab exercises for students much like National History Day competitions. CWL would teach history through biography and on the list would be Robert Leckie's Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2011

    Good firsthand account of a private during WWII in the Pacific

    I was inspired to read this book after watching the Pacific miniseries. The thing that is lacking in Leckie's book is the details of the battles. This was not a problem with E.B. Sledge's book, With The Old Breed, which I found to be superior to Leckie's book. With Sledge's book you could feel the horrors of being on the front lines in battle whereas this book seems to skim the surface. I do recommend this book but not as wholeheartedly as two other books that I have read dealing with the Pacific war, With The Old Breed and Unbroken.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2010

    How can you not be proud of our servicemen

    This was a terrific read for anyone interested in what our servicemen go through to give us our freedom. A great read,if you have any interest in history and WWII.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

    Thoughts

    "Helmet for my Pillow" by Robert Leckie combines all of Leckie's past war expriences from World War II. The book had all of Lecki's squad members and the tales in which they when island hopping after the Japanes attacked Pearl Harbor. The squad started on Parris Island and went to Okinawa and continues to make their wa to the west in the Pacific Islands.Leckie is one of the only few remaining members of his squad left after the war ended. The book was overall a well tuned experience and would be reccommended to most anyone.
    It seemed like the book was a cliche war story about World War II and did not have much of a difference than any other person's experience in fighting the war. Most people go through the same feelings, like the war would never end and the fear of dying in battle. Although there was aa few negetive feelings towards the book, the positives, such as the actions parts while the squad was island hopping, or maybe a close friend being injured which takes the reader on an emotional spiral of; somber, adrenaline, fear, and many other emotions. Overall, the positives out weigh the negetinves. One of the major negetive influences of the book is the long chapters when the squad is sitting around at night talking about their life back home and their feeling towards the war.
    Some of the themes that play a major role in the book which effects the characters the most would be: strength through hardship, personal desire to find a way through the war, and the unity of a single squad to help each other out in times of pain and suffering. The protagonist continually had to stay strong through the battles the sqaud encountered. Each individual of the book had to strive to find some way to keep fighting. All the members of the team help one another to find peace and content when facing an emotional challenge.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2013

    You can definitely tell that Leckie was a writer.  Well put toge

    You can definitely tell that Leckie was a writer.  Well put together and engaging.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    Entertaining, but leaves out too much of the graphic details. &q

    Entertaining, but leaves out too much of the graphic details. "With the Old Breed" is a better read for anyone who enjoys World War II literature.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    no thanks

    I found the writing so awkward that I had difficulty becoming absorbed in the story

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2011

    Ugh! painful read

    This is considered a "classic war story" ?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2011

    Different

    I read this after I read "With the Old Breed" as I understand that these two books were the basis for the movie "The Pacific". This book wasn't really what I expected. While the other books in this genre dealt mainly with the battles this book tended to focus more on the general life of this marine (and more specifically how much trouble he got into). It was interesting but in many ways I felt like I was reading a sports columnist. (Which I believe Leckie actually was for a time...)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2011

    Poor

    Horrible dissappointment for an avid WWII historian. Immature storyline includes fraternity-like partying on shore with drunkenness and beyond. Nothing more than a soap opera style of writing that blemishes the heroic behavior of thousands of brave men. Don't waste your money!

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 11, 2014

    A great read for all Marines. Took me back to P.I.

    True to life and historically correct. A true reminder for us to give thanks to all the veterans of "The Greatest Generation" !! They made it possible for us to live today the way we do. I grew up hearing many similar tales. Thank you Robert Leckie (USMC). I am proud to have served in your Marine Corps.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2013

    Hannah

    No it is wait for seth

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2013

    Zac

    Sticks an large toy in ur Azz and penetrates you again while slapping ur big bouncy tiats

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2013

    Piercr

    Zac and Stife. Of course you can

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2013

    To below

    U mean pierce? Lol

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2013

    Pierce

    Mounts her head shoving his d.i c.k down her throat

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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