With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa / Edition 1

With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa / Edition 1

4.5 485
by E. B. Sledge, Paul Fussell, Eugene B. Sledge

ISBN-10: 0195067142

ISBN-13: 9780195067149

Pub. Date: 10/28/1990

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

In his own book, Wartime, Paul Fussell called With the Old Breed "one of the finest memoirs to emerge from any war." John Keegan referred to it in The Second World War as "one of the most arresting documents in war literature." And Studs Terkel was so fascinated with the story he interviewed its author for his book, "The Good War." What has made E.B. Sledge's memoir…  See more details below


In his own book, Wartime, Paul Fussell called With the Old Breed "one of the finest memoirs to emerge from any war." John Keegan referred to it in The Second World War as "one of the most arresting documents in war literature." And Studs Terkel was so fascinated with the story he interviewed its author for his book, "The Good War." What has made E.B. Sledge's memoir of his experience fighting in the South Pacific during World War II so devastatingly powerful is its sheer honest simplicity and compassion.

Now including a new introduction by Paul Fussell, With the Old Breed presents a stirring, personal account of the vitality and bravery of the Marines in the battles at Peleliu and Okinawa. Born in Mobile, Alabama in 1923 and raised on riding, hunting, fishing, and a respect for history and legendary heroes such as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene Bondurant Sledge (later called "Sledgehammer" by his Marine Corps buddies) joined the Marines the year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and from 1943 to 1946 endured the events recorded in this book. In those years, he passed, often painfully, from innocence to experience.

Sledge enlisted out of patriotism, idealism, and youthful courage, but once he landed on the beach at Peleliu, it was purely a struggle for survival. Based on the notes he kept on slips of paper tucked secretly away in his New Testament, he simply and directly recalls those long months, mincing no words and sparing no pain. The reality of battle meant unbearable heat, deafening gunfire, unimaginable brutality and cruelty, the stench of death, and, above all, constant fear. Sledge still has nightmares about "the bloody, muddy month of May on Okinawa." But, as he also tellingly reveals, the bonds of friendship formed then will never be severed.

Sledge's honesty and compassion for the other marines, even complete strangers, sets him apart as a memoirist of war. Read as sobering history or as high adventure, With the Old Breed is a moving chronicle of action and courage.

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Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 5.38(h) x 0.68(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

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With the Old Breed 4.5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 485 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sledge carried his war experiences around with him for decades before he was able to rehash his experiences, assisted by notes he wrote in the pages of his Bible. He wrote With the Old Breed as a sort of explanation to his family of what he went through. Luckily for the rest of us, it got published--all the grit, blood, death and fear of the battles for Peleliu and Okinawa. It wasn't uncommon for young men of his generation to volunteer for service the day after Pearl Harbor (not that many waited to be drafted, and almost nobody dodged the draft in those days), or as soon as they came of age. Sledge waited a year before enlisting, went through training as a mortarman and arrived just in time for the battle of Peleliu. Sledge witnessed a whole lot, none of it glorious. In short, he saw combat bring out the best and worst of human nature, and you'll see it, too, through his eyes. Some war veterans tend to gloss over the horrific gore of combat, particularly veterans of WWII, but Eugene Sledge holds nothing back. Perhaps that's why many reviewers consider this the best war memoir written. I highly recommend this book.
1HistoryBuff More than 1 year ago
This is the best first person book on the Pacific war in World War Two that I have ever read. To be fair, I have many more books on the ETO, but this book stands out as a moving account of the miseries of the common soldier who fought eyeball to eyeball with his Japanese counterparts in the steamy jungles. Eugene Sledge is an example of American manhood that I fear is lost. A young man from a good family who was anxious to defend his country, he and his fellow Marines willingly suffered for their country in a way I doubt many young people today would. I hope I'm wrong. I've found the most moving stories of WWII don't come from historians, but from the common fighting man. This is one of the best.
Mr.Krinkle More than 1 year ago
No doubt the greatest book I have ever read. Leaving no emotion untouched, Sledge strips away any notion of glory in battle. I understand war is brutal and senseless, but I now have a new outlook that reinforces that opinion. Should be read by students and anyone who wants to join the military. Praise those who were forced to endure battle. No one can fully grasp the experience, without being there. I do know that I would be very reluctant to.
legacyshooter More than 1 year ago
Sledgehammer describes the two Sosuth Pacific battles he was part of as a Marine in the First Marine Division during World War II. Since I am a Marine who served in the Vietnam War, I am fully aware of how puny our efforts were when compared to the men who served in the Pacific and those who were at the Cosen Reservoir during the Korean War. I had a first hand experience in combat during my two and one-half years with the Frst Marine Division but after reading this book I am left with the understanding of what a real war is like and of what supremen the Marines of those days were. I am very conservative concerning the use of the descriptive noun "hero" and will not use it here. Certainly there were heroes aplenty in that effort just as there were in Korea and Vietnam. What most of you don't seem to understand is that very few of us who served were not heroes. Most of us did nothing heroic. We just did what at the officers told us to do. That is the way this book unfolds. Sledge and his buddies in third battalion of the Fifth Marine Regiment were just ground pounders doing their duty. The unique perspective Sledge uses in this book will put you in a place you will not likely enjoy occupying. I hope you do not have a weak stomach and you have not eaten recently when he describes digging in during the assaults around Shuri on Okinawa. I have had people ask me what combat was like in Vietnam. I have never been able to explain it. I don't suppose I ever will. Since I cannot do it, I can point those curious souls to is book. That is more than enough. As a fellow Marine, I am very glad that EB Sledge took and kept all those notes. If you want to understand there are nor has there ever been any John Waynes or Rambos in combat just give this book a read.
Pogeybait More than 1 year ago
"With the Old Breed" is one of the best books that I have read about WWII. Mr. Sledge put you in the foxhole with him. He even takes time to describe the weapons being used. After reading this book, one has to wonder how a human could do what they did. Being a former Marine, I know about the Marine Corps training and I am sure that it had something to do with what happened on those islands. Semper Fi, Mr. Sledge, Bravo!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book gives you a personal insight of the Pacific war front from a soldier who lived a breathed all the experiences that impacted his life. The experience and emotion is passed on to the reader in a way that helps you better understand how difficult life was for these heros.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After watching Ken Burns 'The War' and the accounts attributed to E. B. Sledge, I had to read his book. What an amazing story that everyone should read. Concise, well-written, and heart breaking in the sorrow our troops go through in war. Bless everyone in uniform.
Guest More than 1 year ago
These marines did what they had to do. I also had no compassion for the Japanese for what they did to our soldiers during WW II. What these Marines did was retribution for the sadistic way the Japanese treated our wounded and prisoners of WAR Way to go MARINE Eugene Sledge
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most of these war stories are hard to understand unless you are of a military mind. This is one that is easy to read and to understand whether a veteran of combat like myself or not. Knowing that he is one of the characters portrayed in the HBO series 'Pacific" adds to the feeling of being at home with him and a friend of his throughout this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you love the USMC, then you'll love this book. It's a gripping and compelling memoir of a Marine and his life on Peleliu and Okinawa. As a fellow Marine, I definitely have a new respect after reading this non fiction for the pacific theater and the Marines that went through the war. Love this book, and highly recommend if you are a WWII buff or a Marine lover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book! Well written, easy to follow. After I finished reading the book, I flipped through a paperback version in a bookstore. There were lots of photos that were not in the ebook. I contactd BN and the publisher. The publisher doesnt have the electronic rights to the photos, so they are not in the ebook. BN blames the publisher. I blame them both, had I known I would have bought the paperback. There was no warning, however when an ebook is enhanced they are quick to point that out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a veteran of World War II having served as an infantry rifleman in the 328th Infantry Regiment in the European theatre. I am proud of my service in combat against the German Army but after reading this book, I am convinced that what I experienced was child's play compared to the suffering and horrors descibed by the author of this book. His descriptions of the filth and stench of battle are authentic but at the same time beyond belief. This is unquestionably the best anti-war book you could possibly read. Bravo to Sledgehammer and the Marines!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw "The Pacific" before reading this book. I loved the mini-series and thought I was moved, then I read Sledge's book. It was real, from a real marine's viewpoint and real feelings and fears. I thank him for passing on his story to me. I will always cherish it as part of my library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great recounting of on man’s experiences detailing what he documented during his time in U. S. Marines in the Pacific campaign in WWII. Excellent reading. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a well written first hand account of some of the most historic battles in our nations history. Sledge did not glamorize war, but vividly described it as he saw it. This was a great read, and a chance to see these epic battles through a veterans eyes.
howellusmc More than 1 year ago
As a young man, Eugene Sledge joined the US Marines "to do his bit" in World War II and because of his choice of the Marine Corps, he was sent to fight in the Pacific War against the Japanese. "With the Old Breed" describes his experiences in two of the nastier campaigns in that theatre, Pelelieu and Okinawa. There was nothing civilized about the Pacific war. Lives were thrown away on both sides for possession of tiny islands with a reckless abandon that matches the waste of the Great War. It was fought with a savagery and hate that beggars belief and Sledge pulls no punches in describing the horror. There are notes at the end of each chapter that add a little context, but Sledge wrote the account from the point of view of a young Marine, working from a battle diary that he kept in his pocket bible. He had little or no idea of the big picture and in most cases he had no idea of what was going on. His perspective comes from over the sights of his rifle; all he can see is the wall of his foxhole, the bodies of friends and foe scattered around him. All he can hear is the rattle of rifle fire, the screech and crash of artillery and the screams of the dying. Sledge fully understood his position in all of this. He also understood the horror and waste of what was happening around him and he conveys the brutality and futility very well.
monet61 More than 1 year ago
I have been looking for this book for a long time. It is a well written diary of a regular guy and his mates during the two battles in the title. Any one who has served in a combat unit will recognize people from their unit, and perhaps even themselves. I highly recommend it.
MameWI More than 1 year ago
Everyone should read this book - you will be enlightened by what our brave men and women go thru to protect us - Highly Recommended - a must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perfect for 10+ great book i loved it
ionestjames More than 1 year ago
Again, this is a book I had to read for my class on WWII here at school and I absolutely fell in love with it. I'm a sucker for well written account of battles during World War II and life in the military. The detail that Sledge goes into is incredible. He remembers every single detail and the description is so vivid that I actually believe I am there on Pavuvu, Peleliu, and Okinawa. I can really see, after reading this book, why HBO picked it up and made it into a miniseries, just like Band of Brothers. The battles at Peleliu and Okinawa were brutal and some of the worst that occurred in the Pacific. Many men returned scarred for life, refusing to even hear the words "Asia," "Japan," and "war." Many were even put into homes for veterans (some even checked themselves in) and most were young men in their early-late twenties and thirties. I think this book is a great testament to those who fought, died, and survived the horrors in the Pacific. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I would advise that there are graphic scenes in this book and I would caution those with weak constitutions to avoid this book. Or at least avoid the moments of "graphic"-ness...
Elizabeth Alaniz More than 1 year ago
A must read for anyone who really wants to know what combat looks like, smells like and feels like should read this book. Sledge writes an honest story and pulls no punches. If you have ever served in combat especially in the infantry you will see that while years pass, weapons evolve and tactics change combat remains the same.
Anonymous 8 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
This is, by far, one of the best personal accounts of a combatant in WWII that I have read What a great job of describing this terrible part of world history
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