The celebrated 2010 HBO miniseries The Pacific, winner of eight Emmy Awards, was based on two classic books about the War in the Pacific, Helmet for My Pillow and With The Old Breed. Audible Studios, in partnership with Playtone, the production company co-owned by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and creator of the award-winning HBO series Band of Brothers, John Adams, and The Pacific, as well as the HBO movie Game Change, has created new recordings of these memoirs, narrated by the stars of the miniseries. James Badge Dale (who portrayed Robert Leckie) and Joseph Mazello (who played Eugene Sledge) bring all the passion and emotion of their riveting television performances to these new audio productions.
With the Old Breed is a modern classic of military history AND has been called "one of the most important personal accounts of war that I have ever read," by distinguished historian John Keegan. Author E. B. Sledge served with the First Marine Division during World War II, and his first-hand narrative is unsurpassed in its sincerity. Sledge's experience shows in this fascinating account of two of the most harrowing and pivotal island battles of the Pacific theater.
On Peleliu and Okinawa, the action was extremely fierce. Amidst oppressive heat and over land obliterated by artillery shells, the combat raged ferociously. Casualties were extreme on both sides, and by the time the Americans had broken through at Okinawa, more than 62,000 Japanese soldiers were dead. Against military policy, Sledge scribbled notes and jammed them into his copy of the New Testament. Those notes form the backbone of what Navy Times said "has been called the best World War II memoir of an enlisted man."
BONUS AUDIO: Tom Hanks, one of the executive producers, has written and narrated an original introduction to With the Old Breed where he describes his appreciation for the book's author, the narrators, and the soldiers who had fought in the cauldron of the Pacific Theater during World War II.
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©1981 E.B. Sledge (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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This is indeed greatest war Memoir I have ever read. Normally, with first hand accounts there is a lot of bluster. However, E.B. Sledge's writing is void of any bravado and it's truly an amazing story. The book will really give you a deep appreciation for what these Marines went through and the brutality that they had to endure. The totality of the conflict in which these young men were swept into is really awe inspiring. I think everyone should really read this work.
Narrators matter and it is rare for me to buy an audiobook that I already own, and enjoy just to hear another perspective in the way it is read. But this book lends itself to the two pretty much different voices. Sledge wrote this book about his combat experience in his maturity. I think like many veterans of war, especially ground combat. some distance, in terms of years, often decades, is required to tell the story. But E. B. Sledge lived it and survived it, and not just physically, as a young man.
George Wilson does a terrific job of telling this story as an adult explaining what happened, in the voice of someone who not only survived, but is strong enough to remember and acknowledge the ordinary people who accomplished remarkable things, good, bad, and horrific. The drama comes from the written word, and Sledge does not add many flourishes. The stated facts of what he saw and experienced do not need them.
Marc Vietor reads in the voice of the young man experiencing the fatigue, terror and even humor, of the ground combat soldier in the Pacific of World War II. It is good to remember that Sledge and his fellow marines were very young. In another time they would have been deciding what they would do when they grew up. In that time they were just trying to stay alive to grow up.
I am glad I indulged myself and bought both books.
A great history of a tough breed of everyday guys rose to the challenge and in the face or hardship and death became heroes. The narration was great. There was a humbleness about the author who lived and fought through that troubled time. You will not be disappointed.
The graphic detail brought the battles to life and made the reader feel the horror of the situations.
The fact that it was a true story.
The most memorable scenes were the battles in the mud on Okinawa.
The horror of the maggots and rotting bodies.
Eugene B. Sledge's diary of the war is one of the best memoir that I've read in a long time, ever since Louis Zamperini and "Unbroken." In many ways, "With the Old Breed" is far better than Laura Hillenbrand's rendition of Zamperini's story because E. B. Sledge is not an author by trade. He is a soldier. Eugene took notes during the combat of the Pacific and later published his memoir.
Instead of telling his story to a schooled prep writer that has little or no experience of war, Eugene wrote his own experience with his own words. It makes his book that much more creditable to read.
As for the performance of Joseph Mazzello, (he played Sledge's character in the HBO miniseries of the Pacific), the first half of the read wasn't that good. I struggle through his pace of reading and found his voice to be very bland. Maybe someone gave a talk or a cup of coffee to Mazzello, but his performance becomes much more enjoyable in the second half.
Just my .02."
The greatest generation is right. These men went through something other soldiers won't, I dare say. Have you thanked a veteran today?
Yes. The details and horror and numbness and waste of war made clear by the author.
I liked one narrator, but not the other. I was really unsure why it kept skipping back and forth. This is my only major criticism of the book.
Sledge does appear to be without flaw in this telling. After awhile, I wondered "What noble thing will he do now?" but it was a great book overall.
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