In The Wall Street Journal, Victor Davis Hanson named With the Old Breed one of Now E. B. Sledge’s acclaimed first-person account of fighting at Peleliu and. 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. WITH THE OLD BREED At Peleliu and Okinawa By E.B. Sledge Illustrated. pages. Ballantine Books. $ Eugene Bondurant Sledge.
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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 and raised on riding, hunting, fishing, and a respect for history fb legendary heroes such as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene Bondurant Sledge later called “Sledgehammer” by his Marine Corps slfdge joined the Marines the year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and from to 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, eith month of May on Okinawa. Thw honesty and compassion for te 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 wledge and courage. If in some smothering dreams you too could pace Behind the wagon that we flung him in, And watch the white eyes writhing in his hte, His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,– My friend, you would not tell with such high zest To children ardent for some desperate glory, The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.
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Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene B. Sledge’s memoir of his In his own book, Wartime, Paul Fussell called With the Old Breed “one of the finest memoirs to emerge from any war.
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. Paperbackpages. To thw what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
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Lists with This Book. Nov 16, J. With the Old Breed should be required reading in our classrooms, for this is the brutal reality of war at its most horrific. No sensationalism here; E. Sledge merely tells it the way it was. There is no glory in war, in the shedding of another man’s blood; in digging a foxhole in a torrential downpour only to uncover the badly decomposing body of a Japanese soldier crawling with maggots; in watching helplessly as four of your comrades retrieve, on a stretcher, a wounded Marine amid machinegun With the Old Breed should be required reading in our classrooms, for this is the brutal reality of war at its most horrific.
There is no glory in war, in the shedding of another man’s blood; in digging a foxhole in a torrential downpour only to uncover the badly decomposing body of a Japanese soldier crawling with maggots; in watching helplessly as four of your comrades retrieve, on a stretcher, a wounded Marine amid machinegun fire “If it were me out there,” Sledge recounts, “I would want to know I wouldn’t be left behind.
This is why war should be avoided at all costs, and this is why no one man should ever be given the authority, with a flourish of his signature, to risk the lives of young men and women.
With the Old Breed – Wikipedia
My dad fought on Okinawa, receiving a citation from the office of the president for his participation in the taking of Shuri Ridge. I never knew my dad as a Marine, as he retired from the Corps before getting married and starting a family.
I asked him once, when I was a boy, to tell me about his service, but he refused. I asked him again, about six and a half years ago, during the final year of his life, and he again refused. I had hoped that by sharing his pain a healing could take place. Unfortunately, what he saw, what he endured, died with him. Sledge, in this memoir of his service on Peleliu and Okinawa, told me everything my dad withheld from me.
This incredible account, told with frank detachment, is hailed as the best World War II memoir of an enlisted man, and with good reason. Thanks, Sledgehammer, for sharing your story, and my dad’s, with me. He perhaps felt I couldn’t understand what he endured. Perhaps no civilian can. Yet after having read With the Old Breed, I understand a little better why he was the way he was.
Your generation is truly the greatest generation. View all 8 comments. Apr 03, Gloria rated it it was amazing Shelves: You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye Who cheer when soldier lads march by, Sneak home and pray you’ll never know The hell where youth and laughter go. What is it about war which makes us glorify it? Little boys tear around with swords and guns fighting off imaginary enemies. Larger boys now sit glued before gaming devices doing essentially the same thing, complete wi You smug-faced crowds with kindling eye Who cheer when soldier lads march by, Sneak home and pray you’ll never know The hell where youth and laughter go.
Larger boys now sit glued before gaming devices doing essentially the same thing, complete with pixellated blood and gore. I will admit to holding a longstanding fascination with “The Greatest Generation. The patriotism, the sense the country pulling together, the neighborhoods where people still knew one another, the clothes, the cars, the music Eugene Sledge’s book didn’t lessen my love for that time period, nor my awe and gratitude for the men who served As graphic and as detailed as some more recent movies focusing on WWII have gotten, there always still seemed to be gaps at least in my mind.
I always wondered about goofy specifics of battlefront life and fox hole warfare. Sledge’s memoir hit every one of those questions– and then some. The horrific sights, the deafening noises, the putrid odors, the physical maladies running from annoying to disabling. All encircled by the overarching twist of fear which never quite left their guts while they were on their missions.
I won’t even try and relay so much of what he saw and experienced because without it being in the context of the rest of his thoughts, it would come off as a gratuitous and b unbelievable. Eugene Sledge takes you with him every step of the way.
From basic training, to the pre-launch nervous intestinal visits to the head, to landing in the fray of battle and wondering which bullet was going to kill you. Along the way, he interposes his deeper thoughts.
His wonderings at how men can be so cruel and beed become animalistic so quickly within the confines of a battlefield. But he laments more for those whose core runs toward tenderness and sensitivity. As I crawled out of the abyss of combat and over the rail of the Sea Runner, I realized that compassion for the suffering of others is a burden to those who have it.
As Wilfred Owen’s poem “Insensibility” puts it so well, those who feel most for others suffer pld in war. As horrific as his experiences were, as often as he had to watch his friends and comrades die, he summed up his thoughts thusly: War is brutish, inglorious, and a terrible waste. Combat leaves an endelible mark on those who are forced to endure it. The only redeeming factors were eeb comrades’ incredible bravery and their devotion to each other.
Until the millenium arrives and countries cease trying to enslave others, it will be necessary to accept one’s responsibilities and to be willing to make sacrifices for one’s country– as my comrades did. As the troops used to say, “If the country is good enough to live in, it’s good enough to fight for. To Eugene Sledge, and to the many others who have fought and many who have died to preserve for us so many things we take for granted View all 11 comments.
May 01, Lawyer rated it it was amazing Shelves: Eugene Sledge would seem an unlikely author of what I consider the most powerful memoir of war in the Pacific theater.
The son of a Mobile, Alabama, doctor, Eugene began his military career as a candidate in an academic college program that would have made him an officer. Brsed, he deliberately failed to become a Marine assigned to infantry in the Pacific. Sledge’s account is told in frank, straight forward and understated language. The Pacific war was a fierce world of barbaric conduct by tro Eugene Sledge would seem an unlikely author of what I consider the most powerful memoir of war in the Pacific theater.
The Pacific war was a fierce world of barbaric conduct by troops on both sides.
With the Old Breed
Sledge understood the ease with which a man could lose his sense of humanity and recognized how close he came to that sledgf. Sledge quietly states the futility of war and the unnecessary sacrifice of life in the Peleliu campaign.
The battle had no strategic effect on the outcome of the war. The island could have easily been hopped over as other pockets of Japanese resistance were. He wrote,”To the slwdge and those on the periphery of action, the war meant only boredom or occasional excitement, but to those who entered the meat grinder itself the war was a netherworld of horror from which escape seemed less and less likely as casualties mounted and the fighting dragged on and on.
Time had no meaning, life had no meaning. The fierce struggle for survival in the abyss of Peleliu had eroded the veneer ole civilization and made savages of us all. He wrote “With the Old Breed” over a number of years, originally intending it to be a memoir to be read by his family.
Following the war he became a professor of botany and zoology at the University of Montevallo in Alabama. His students would have been hard pressed to understand the horrific memories that lay beneath his gentle exterior as he led them on field trips identifying native botanical plants.
Sledge’s story was published in His story was later central to Ken Burns’ series, “The War. His memoir of men at war should be read throughout the coming generations by anyone ever inclined to take the matter of war with an attitude of indifference. Do not think that Sledge should ever be considered a pacifist. Nor should his work ever be considered a polemic against any war.