Hero of the Pacific: The Life of Marine Legend John Basilone

Hero of the Pacific: The Life of Marine Legend John Basilone

3.3 18
by James Brady
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

The Pacific island of Guadalcanal was a terrible place to fight a war. Although heaven for mosquitoes, malaria, and infections of all kinds, it combined hellish equatorial temperatures with heavy rains and dense jungle. Yet it was here that a shoeless, shirtless, mud-streaked Marine gunnery sergeant known to his buddies as "ManilaJohn" first displayed the courage,… See more details below

Overview

The Pacific island of Guadalcanal was a terrible place to fight a war. Although heaven for mosquitoes, malaria, and infections of all kinds, it combined hellish equatorial temperatures with heavy rains and dense jungle. Yet it was here that a shoeless, shirtless, mud-streaked Marine gunnery sergeant known to his buddies as "ManilaJohn" first displayed the courage, tenacity, and devotion to duty that would define the remainder of his brief life and the manner of his death two years later on another island, Iwo Jima.

In Hero of the Pacific, the late columnist, best selling author, and Marine James Brady examines the life and death of a man who, though now all but forgotten, was one of World War II's most celebrated figures. Medal of Honor winner John Basilone willingly and repeatedly put himself in unthinkable danger to repel a prolonged and determined Japanese attack, reluctantly became a national celebrity and a leading salesman in America's "buy bonds" campaign, then begged his superiors to return him to active duty.

Brady provides a taut and thrilling account of Manila John's extraordinary heroism as more than 3,000 crack Japanese troops stormed his machine-gun positions in a relentless overnight battle in October 1942. He reveals Basilone in action,calmly repairing a jammed machine gun, even as the enemy rushed at him; abandoning the relative safety of the foxhole amid a hail of grenades and mortar shells to replenish diminishing ammo and water supplies; fighting at close quarters with the few attackers who survived his team's withering fire; and more.

If Manila John's sheer courage and stubborn refusalto succumb to exhaustion were on full display at Guadalcanal, his tactical shrewdness and coolness under fire came to the fore on Iwo Jima's Red Beach 2. Brady's account of Basilone's last few hours on earth is among the most awe-inspiring tales of real-life heroism you will ever read.

This powerful biography includes revealing stories of Basilone's youth in the Rockwellian any-town of Raritan, New Jersey, in the 1920s and 1930s; his first cross-country railroad trip with fellow soldiers in 1935; and his decisions to leave the Army and, later, join the Marines.

Brady explains the machine gunner's sly grinwhen legendary Marine commander Chesty Puller threatened to charge him with desertion. He cuts through the amateurish and exaggerated tales of earlier biographers to provide a gripping account of Manila John's extraordinary heroism—the actions that led Puller, just a few days after the"desertion" comment, to recommend Basilone for the Medal of Honor.

Complete with the definitive account of Basilone's death on the World War II island of Iwo Jima, and the actions for which he was post humously awarded the Navy Cross, Hero of the Pacific revives and honors the memory of one of the most unusual and compelling figures of America's greatest war.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

* ""Now comes a carefully reported, briskly written book by James Brady, Hero of the Pacific: The Life of Marine Legend John Basilone, that could go a long way toward correcting that historical oversight."" (The Los Angeles Times, February 10, 2010)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780470535554
Publisher:
Turner Publishing Company
Publication date:
12/04/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
233,864
File size:
1 MB

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >