Sledge pulls no punches in his personal account of what it was like to be on the front line of the most horrific battles fought by American troops in WWII. It is no small miracle he even lived to write this story with his company suffering over 100% casualties. If they ever made a movie that did justice to this book I don't think I could watch it.
You could compare this book to the classic "Two Years Before the Mast". Both Sledge and Dana were educated, meticulous writers who kept very detailed diaries of their experiences in spite of the extremely adverse conditions they were under. Both were at the "bottom of the chain of command" and its rare we get such eloquent and detailed accounts of the likes of an ordinary seaman and a private in a Marine infantry company.
Sledge's book will humble you and leave you with new respect for these young men who fought, suffered unimaginable hardships, and died for this country.
If you have read or studied physics, astronomy, etc. much beyond the high school level, you'll quickly become bored and soon put it down. If not you may find it an easy read on those topics. The book starts in early on the Bible and religion as if Wikipedia has been around since 1 A.D.and everyone should know better. The "Myths and Superstitions" it debunks...well, to be nice, not news to most people with any science background.
I have not fully understood (nor will I ever completely) the inner workings and politics surrounding conflicts between Israel and it's Arab neighbors, beginning after WWII, and culminating in the Six Day War. Actually, the war hasn't really ended and doesn't seem likely to in the foreseeable future.
It's not hard to see how the Arab world's hatred of the west, and the US in particular, spilled over from this brief and humiliating defeat, though there's no discussion of such issues. The book is quite simply an unbiased, detailed accounting of the facts. No opinions are offered by the author. More than half centers around actions by the key political players and the timing of events, often just by happenstance, that resulted in a an unpredicted outcome with world-wide ramifications.
There's a good accounting of the military actions, but this is not a "shoot-em-up" war story drama. It's much much more.
One can surmise how the seeds of present day Muslim extremism and acts of terror were sewn during the twenty years after WWII along with the creation of Israel. Utter failure and humiliation on the battlefield has led to a war of terrorism--just my opinion.
I would suggest another very good book on the birth and growth of the extremist/terror movement leading up to and including 9-11, "The Looming Tower".
A great story about adventure, survival, and the triumph of the human spirit. I have read many stories about WWII, and this is one of the very best. It further solidifies my belief this was truly the "Greatest Generation" to whom we, in fact the entire world, owe a great debt. There is nothing in history that compares, nor will there ever be again. God bless America and the many who have died and suffered for her.
This is a must read if you want to better understand the history of muslim fundamentalism , 9/11 and the events that followed. I was amazed at my own ignorance and found the book engrosing.. These are people and events that have and will continue to affect the way we live. All you have to do is go to an airport to be reminded.
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