Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Guadalcanal Diary” as Want to Read:
Guadalcanal Diary
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Guadalcanal Diary

4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  2,167 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Offers an eyewitness account of the U.S. Marines' struggle to regain control of Guadalcanal and the Solomon Islands from the Japanese.
Paperback, 250 pages
Published May 30th 2000 by Modern Library (first published January 1st 1943)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Guadalcanal Diary, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Guadalcanal Diary

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 24, 2009 Colleen rated it it was ok
This wasn't a great book but it was an interesting read. I expected more than what I got out of it. Richard Tregaskis is a journalist who tags along with the U.S. Marines when they invade Guadalcanal during WWII. Each day he records what he sees and hears for the people back home in the U.S. Where Tregaskis succeeds is in his description of Guadalcanal and the surrounding islands. He made these exotic South Pacific islands come alive for me. Where he fails is his inability to convey the exciteme ...more
Vasile Jurca
Feb 27, 2015 Vasile Jurca rated it it was amazing
Richard Tregaskis is the original war reporter vérité. His accounts are a straightforward narrative of the action, without the ego puff that a khaki and Rayban-wearing modern 'war correspondent' would inject. A modern correspondent uses the word "I" much more than Tregaskis ever did. A modern correspondent will let you know if he's hot, or hungry or tired, whereas Tregasksis was solely interested in the soldier who asked to do a very tough job for his country in very tough circumstances. Brian W ...more
Jul 01, 2015 Betsy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guadalcanal--a battle that remains a milestone in the history of WWII. Along with Midway, it became a turning point in the Pacific. The author wrote of those violent days without resorting to hyperbole. It may not be the definitive book on Guadalcanal, but it is very readable.
Feb 24, 2013 Joseph rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Military History buffs
I’m in the process of trying to get a feel for what it was like on Guadalcanal because my dad fought there with the 25th Inf Div. The 25th didn’t arrive until December of 1942 well after the Marines went in. This book covers the period July 26th until September 26th 1942 and follows the Marines through the eyes of and words of War Correspondent Richard Tregaskis. Tregaskis went in with the Marines and like the Marines slept where he could, when he could. He also got shot at regularly. The editio ...more
Mar 06, 2012 Kevin rated it really liked it
Guadalcanal Diary was originally published in 1943 while the battle for the Solomon Island group was fresh in the minds of Americans. The book was written as a memoir Richard Tregaskis, a war correspondent for International News Service, in the form of a daily journal. The book recounts the activities prior to the invasion and the first months of the battle for the islands in the Solomons. During the battle, Tregaskis lived with the Marines and went through several battles on the front lines. Tr ...more
Oct 30, 2008 Gavin rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: warriors.
Shelves: war
This is a journalist's reporting of our first invasion in the Pacific that was also supposedly the first use of air, land and sea resources in an amphibious invasion. He lived on the island for more than a month in harsh conditions, and he took a lot of risks accompanying marines and Raiders on assaults, raids and the main invasion. He was a literature major from Harvard who signed up for the press corps at the start of the war, and was pretty tough to do it considering he was a diabetic. The bo ...more
Jeffrey Payne
Aug 11, 2011 Jeffrey Payne rated it really liked it
Shelves: research-books
I found this book in my late Grandfather in-law's library -- a first edition hardcover from the forties. It sounds trite, but the effects of war, the mark it leaves on the those who fight it, is always more interesting to me than the mechanics of combat or tactics. This book gives a good historical boots-on-the-ground perspective of Guadalcanal from a theatre of the second world war that often takes a backseat to Europe given the scale of Nazi atrocities.

Shortly after I finished this book, my wi
Aug 22, 2016 Susan rated it it was amazing
Unusual military memoir in that he published it as a book immediately after he returned from Guadalcanal. During the war. With names of individuals he interacted with and where they came from. The details are great and focused more on how men at war live and work than on military strategy.
I was intrigued by his size 14 shoes--he had a hard time getting replacements from the Army. Turns out his was 6 ft 7 in, especially tall for the 1940s. He also had diabetes and carried along insulin. Presumabl
Dec 17, 2015 Feliks rated it it was ok
Shelves: good-nonfiction
I'm rating this only two stars ONLY because it is not exactly a pleasant or cheerful read. It is brutal, cold, raw, and ferocious. However, its place in the canon (get it? canon?) of WWII historical documents is well-established and firmly assured.
It is one of the finest works of its kind. Nevertheless, it is somewhat dry. Not for the 'casual' reader.
Jun 27, 2013 Manray9 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii-asia
A gyrene's perspective on America's first step back across the Pacific. Great battlefield reporting from a noted war correspondent. The movie's a hoot, with geezer William Bendix as a Marine!
Michael Kelley
Dec 20, 2016 Michael Kelley rated it it was amazing
Terrific first hand account.
Deborah Sowery-Quinn
another book recommended from the "100 One-Night Reads", it is a memoir by a war correspondent & it takes place in WWII 1942 on Guadalcanal. It is well written & was well received at the time, eventually being made into a film, but it got very repetitive for me & I can't say I enjoyed this one.
Mar 29, 2012 Andres rated it liked it
Shelves: ww2
Nothing beats reading someone's first-hand account since the details are personal and immediate. Guadalcanal Diary is just that, the author in this case a reporter who was with U.S. forces when they landed on Guadalcanal (and surrounding islands) on August 7, 1942 in order to fight the Japanese for the island's top resource: a strategically important airfield.

Tregaskis was the first to write and publish a book about the events that happened those first few months on the island---in fact the book
Apr 30, 2014 Christopher rated it really liked it
I have to say upfront that this is a book that had specially meaning to me as I read it in that my paternal grandfather fought on Guadalcanal. As a matter of fact he was in the first wave. The family, however, knows little of what he truly experienced on that island because he refused to speak of happened. (He would participate in several campaigns culminating on Peleliu where is was one of 11 Marines out of his original company to walk off the island.) There is that personal connection that mak ...more
Oct 24, 2015 Jim rated it it was amazing
An excellent experience and read for those who are military historians, the readers must bear in mind the author was a war correspondent during World War II in the Pacific theater. This is a portrayal of the combat soldier and what was being experiencing on a daily basis. As a young man I enlisted in the Marine Corps during he Korean War. Those Marines I served with with were those who fought the war across the Pacific islands until it was concluded. It was the experience of a life time sitting ...more
Austin Gisriel
Jul 26, 2015 Austin Gisriel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a reason Guadalcanal Diary is considered a classic and it has to do with Richard Tregaskis' pitch-perfect story telling. The author relates what he sees, hears, and experiences in a straight-forward, unembellished style. The heroics of the Marines in this desperate fight required no embellishment; neither did the squalid conditions in which they lived. It is important to understand that this book is, in fact, a diary and not a history of the battle. To that extent, I was somewhat surpris ...more
Dec 31, 2012 Lee rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-ii
I bought this at a used book store some time ago. I started reading Neptune's Inferno recently. I decided I would read Guadalcanal Diary at the same time. So far it is interesting to see the different styles, the amount of information, the perspectives, etc. from a book written in 1943 to a book written in 2011.

I finally finished this book. There were times when it sounded like a movie-tone news reel. It was interesting to hear how the war was viewed at the time. Tregaskis painted a rosy pictur
Anyone interested in the Guadalcanal campaign should read Tregaskis' Guadalcanal Diary, not so much for learning the minute details of the military operation, but to feel history, to be right next to the Marines who went ashore, secured Henderson Field and battled in the island's jungle to keep it.

As a book written in 1943, it is a reporter's book, not a study of the campaign. As such, it captures the essence of what being there was like. At least this is what is being reported by those who wer
Joe Krakovsky
Jul 16, 2015 Joe Krakovsky rated it it was amazing
I first read this book in 1967 as an seventh grader who was forced to pick out a book from the bookmobile by my mother. All I wanted to do was play that summer and I chose a "war book" out of spite. Little did I know the door that I had inadvertantly opened for myself to a brand new world. But enough about me. This book was written in a time when not only were there war time censors but also those who monitored content for things that were morally and socially acceptable for the public at large ...more
Sep 23, 2015 Randy rated it really liked it
I read this because my father was a Marine who fought at Guadalcanal. I was somewhat disappointed at the glossing over of the truly desperate nature of the Marines stationed there (there are only bare hints dropped about the epidemics of tropical diseases, the food shortages, the insidious tactics of Japanese infiltrators, the poor morale arising from the naval withdrawal), but since this was published during the war, a heavy amount of censorship was to be expected. This book still provides a go ...more
Dec 22, 2014 Iain rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical-wwii
I found this classic lacking when compared to first hand accounts written by other authors. Tregaskis is a solid journalist, but not a terribly engaging writer. His account is quite "sanitized" for lack of a better term. Having been published during the war it lacks important details and a certain "grit" for lack of a better term. He also tends to bombard us with what seems like the names of everyone he meets (as a reporter would) without taking the time to flesh out his account. The result bein ...more
Dec 19, 2015 Mari rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books, war
Um dos mais espetaculares diários de guerra que já li e a segunda melhor obra de jornalismo de guerra desde Hiroshima , recomendo sem sombra de dúvidas 'Diário de Guadalcanal' para todos os leitores que gostem do gênero!

"Assim sentado, praticamente no colo de um bombardeio, a gente se sente como à merce de um poderoso e vingativo cuja voz era a do trovão; a escala colossal terrível da guerra moderna dera vida mais uma vez aos antigos deuses"

Paul Roper
Feb 25, 2013 Paul Roper rated it it was amazing
Shelves: military-history
I read this book back around 1962, after having seen the movie on TV and enjoying that. I saw it in the library and I took it out and read the whole book, several of my friends did as well.
It was an interesting book, especially for a 10 year old, and easy to read. I realize now that it was a perfect history book: Mr. Tregaskis was there when it happened, he was not writing it years later, with the bias of time passed influencing him. No. He was there, he saw it, heard it, felt it and smelled it.
Allen Perry
Feb 28, 2016 Allen Perry rated it really liked it
An excellent account of the first months of the Guadal Canal campaign. I've read a history of the Marine Corps 1st Div prior to this but the detail here was much better. I also appreciated that every Marine he mentioned he listed their full name and hometown. It was a nice touch. The book gives a much better account of how the battle for the island built up and explains the ease of the opening days and how the fighting became much tougher as they came to the end of the first month.
Jun 14, 2016 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Read orginally in grade school -- the Landmark Edition, as I remember. Am now rereading as part of Guadalcanal-book sweep.

Finished same day as "The Lost Ships of Guadalcanal" -- good complement to each other. Liked referring maps and historical accounts in the "Lost Ships" while reading this.

I'm sure there are much better overviews of the Guadalcanal campaign, but I enjoy the "memoir" immediacy.
Nov 17, 2011 Scilla rated it liked it
This is an excellent description of the invasion of the US onto Guadalcanal in the fall of 1942. Although he didn't have a gun as a member of the press corps, he was right with the soldiers who were fighting and several times barely avoided being shot. His account is fairly cut and dried, but very well done. He volunteers to go on several outings to other islands, and stayed mostly on Guadalcanal from the original landing July 26 through September 26, after the reinforcements of the US.
Alyssa Allen
Nov 03, 2015 Alyssa Allen rated it liked it
One of my lesser favorite WWII books. As a journalist, I was expecting this to be a little more comprehensive. Tregaskis does describe a lot of things that, to me, wouldn't stick out in every day life or in the heat of battle, but he was able to describe things going on around him outside of the normal firefights. That was good, but I'd prefer if he had described a little more the harsh existence of the Marines. He stayed back from the lines a lot of the time and wasn't in it fully.
May 22, 2013 Sbrum rated it liked it
A golden oldie written in diary style and published during WWII. Tregaskis delivers a gritty account of daily life during the bloody island campaign. Guadalcanal sometimes lulls, simply because every day was not filled with fighting and dying. His seminal work is a solid foundation for historical perspective on the common soldier's life fighting in a foreign climate against an equally foreign enemy.
Robert Kiehn
Sep 30, 2013 Robert Kiehn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books, favorites, featured
My grandfather Martin Deglin, whom enlisted in the National Guard in March 1941, before WWII broke out and before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, fought in the battle of Guadalcanal for the U.S. Army, I believe.

I read this book years ago. It is a great read on the events and battles of
Guadalcanal as chronicled by a news journalist in the thick of this major battle
and operation in the pacific theater of WWII.
Jack Hwang
Apr 02, 2015 Jack Hwang rated it liked it
While it truthfully reflects the journalst's experience of the campaign, it does it in a remote and passive manner. As the author did not present in most of the battles himself and only observed afterward, it is not that easy to get the readers to feel immersed in that particular jungle battlefield.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Brave Men
  • One Square Mile of Hell: The Battle for Tarawa
  • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep
  • Infamy: Pearl Harbor and its Aftermath
  • Eagle Against the Sun: The American War with Japan
  • Serenade to the Big Bird
  • Samurai!
  • Miracle at Midway
  • Brotherhood of Heroes: The Marines at Peleliu, 1944--The Bloodiest Battle of the Pacific War
  • War as I Knew It
  • Utmost Savagery: The Three Days of Tarawa
  • Day of Infamy
  • D-Day with the Screaming Eagles
  • In the Footsteps of the Band of Brothers: A Return to Easy Company's Battlefields with Sgt. Forrest Guth
  • China Marine: An Infantryman's Life After World War II
  • The Great Raid: Rescuing the Doomed Ghosts of Bataan and Corregidor
  • Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War
Richard Tregaskis was a well known war correspondent during both WWII & the Vietnam War. He is perhaps best remembered as the author of 'Guadalcanal Diary', which is considered to be a classic of war reportage. The photograph at left was taken in Ca Mau, RVN (South Vietnam) in 1963.
More about Richard Tregaskis...

Share This Book