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Helmet for my pillow : from Parris Island to…
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Helmet for my pillow : from Parris Island to the Pacific (originale 1957; edizione 2010)

di Robert Leckie

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8432319,032 (3.86)34
Leckie provides one of the most riveting first-person accounts ever to come out of WWII. Follow his odyssey, from basic training to the raging battles in the Pacific.
Utente:samtimjones
Titolo:Helmet for my pillow : from Parris Island to the Pacific
Autori:Robert Leckie
Info:New York : Bantam Books Trade Paperbacks, 2010.
Collezioni:Non-Fiction
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Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific di Robert Leckie (1957)

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I first learned of this book when I read that it was being used as one of the sources for a new miniseries about the Pacific theater in the Second World War. Having enjoyed the other source material being used, E. B. Sledge’s superb memoir, [b:With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa|771332|With the Old Breed At Peleliu and Okinawa|Eugene B. Sledge|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1297640051s/771332.jpg|757389], I decided to track down a copy of Leckie’s account and read it for myself. Because of this, I found myself comparing the two works as I read it, which influenced my overall opinion of the book.

In many ways, the experiences of the two men were similar. Both were civilians prior to the Second World War; Leckie enlisted in the Marines a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. His account of basic training feels incredibly authentic, in part because of his attention to details. Leckie captures much of the mundane minutiae of learning how to be a Marine, from the bureaucratic experience of inoculation to the quest for a good time on leave. This sense of authenticity continues as he describes his deployment to Guadalcanal with the First Marine Division and his engagement with the war there. These experiences form the best part of the book, as his initial encounter with life as a Marine in both training and war reflect his interest in the novelty of it all.

From Guadalcanal, Leckie’s unit was returned to Australia for rest and refitting. This transformation into what he calls a “lotus-eater” also bears a real sense of verisimilitude, as unlike many memoirs of war he does not gloss over the search for release that often characterized breaks from the battles. It is here, though, that his account flags a little, and his return to combat in New Britain as part of Operation Cartwheel was perhaps the least interesting part of the book. The book improves with his subsequent experiences in the hospital in Banika and his final, abbreviated deployment to Peleliu, which ended with his injury and return to the States for the duration of the war.

Reading this book, it is easy to see why it stands out as an account of the Second World War. Leckie’s prose brings alive both the mundane routines of service and the violence of combat. It is when he is between the two that the book suffers, as his efforts at evocative prose about his surroundings in the jungle suffer from being a little overwrought, particularly in comparison to Sledge’s plainer, more straightforward descriptions. Yet both need to be read for a fascinating portrait of what the war was like for the “new boots” who gave up their lives as civilians to fight in the humid jungles and barren islands of the Pacific. ( )
  MacDad | Mar 27, 2020 |
Newspaper reporter’s narrative of his life in the Marines during WWII, which is a lot more boredom and hunger than terror, though there is a fair amount of horror and death. Also a lot of racism; “Japs” is the only word ever used for the Japanese, and the various indigenous people of the Pacific appear as mostly silent and/or ridiculous, plus there’s the Southern racist whose charming quirk is how much he hates black people, but you had to like him anyway because “you” was a bunch of white guys. Takeaway: it’s possible to be a sharp observer of certain white/military foibles without being reflective in other ways. ( )
  rivkat | Dec 19, 2019 |
How do you review a classic? You can't, so I will just say this: War as poetry. Every bit of it, especially for those who know. From a different time, for all time. ( )
  PCHcruzr | Oct 7, 2019 |
Well written account by a Marine in 1st Division who was present until wounded on Peleliu. It is not always pleasant or feel good in nature, which is appropriate for the subject matter. He was not a conformist and had a temper which lands him in the brig, which makes this account a bit more unique. The confusion and chaos that was the Pacific campaign is brought home painfully. There is a fair amount of bitterness in his story which I dont begrudge but do mention for those looking for a more light or heroic tale. Reccommended reading, especially for those interested in the Pacific campaign. ( )
  Whiskey3pa | Mar 1, 2019 |
Helmet For My Pillow is the written account of U.S. Marine, author and military historian Robert Leckie on his experiences during the Second World War. The book starts on the day of his enlistment and takes the reader through basic training and his assignment to the 1st Marine Division. He was deployed to the Pacific theatre with his first stop being the island of Guadacanal.

Helmet For My Pillow is a personal story about one actual on-the-ground ‘gyrene’. From his time fighting from island to island and his liberty adventures in Australia, his recollections are vivid and gives the reader a sense of what these young men went through on a day-to-day basis. The author was 21 when he enlisted and he and his fellow marines were sent into some of the war’s fiercest fighting. Eventually Robert Leckie was evacuated with wounds from the island of Peleliu.

From his sense of kinship with his fellow marines, the laughter and fun they shared to the harrowing battle scenes and the horror of dead bodies strewn about, the author gives the reader a glimpse of one man’s war experience which makes for a very gripping, interesting and intense read. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Dec 12, 2016 |
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Nome dell'autoreRuoloTipo di autoreOpera?Stato
Robert Leckieautore primariotutte le edizionicalcolato
Lau, TomProgetto della copertinaautore secondarioalcune edizioniconfermato
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Leckie provides one of the most riveting first-person accounts ever to come out of WWII. Follow his odyssey, from basic training to the raging battles in the Pacific.

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