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Guadalcanal Diary

4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,580 ratings  ·  45 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)
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Unbroken by Laura HillenbrandEscape From Davao by John D. LukacsWith the Old Breed by Eugene B. SledgeThe Rape of Nanking by Iris ChangGuadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis
World War II in the Pacific
5th out of 47 books — 99 voters
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World War II Fiction & Non-fiction
78th out of 264 books — 167 voters

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Community Reviews

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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
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
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
Feb 24, 2013 Joseph rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Oct 30, 2008 Gavin rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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.
Robert Kiehn
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.
Joe Krakovsky
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
Austin Gisriel
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
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!
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
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
Mar 29, 2012 Andres rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
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
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"

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
Jack Hwang
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.
I gave it five because it gave direct experience of the war since written when his experience still fresh in the mind. I felt as if I were there with out the fear and discomforts.

Paul Roper
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.
Clayton Brannon
Excellent first hand account of the early battle for Guadalcanal. If you want the real story of how tough it was in those first two months this is a must read. The author was in the thick of things with risk of death daily.
WWII classic by a correspondent with the Marines. Excellent!
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.
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.
If you want a very grunts eye view of one of the key battles of world war two, this is it. Written by a war corespondent who was stationed with the forces that took and held Guadalcanal, this text shows the difficulties of command, the chaotic nature of combat, and how much a few key people really matter.
Certainly one of the best books ever written about the Pacific Theater in WW2. Incredible versimilitude. The rotting trees, strange insects & permeating fear of young men in a strange & hostile world. A must read for anyone interested in first person accounts of surviving WW2.
I read this book over 30 years ago at my fathers direction. When I entered it today it popped up here that my son-in-law had found it and read it recently and really enjoyed it. I guess I'll have to re-read it. It's a very nice 1st edition piece in our library!
Diane Henry
Myopic, but as a first-person account of the taking of Guadalcanal island, i guess it kind of has to be. So it's hard to know exactly how the offensive is going. But the first person aspect brings home the horror of what a soldier experienced there.
My Father was there, in the first wave. He never told me about it until he was 80 years old....and only then under the influence of morphine after open heart surgery.

He lived 4 more years, and I read this book once I knew he had been there.

William Pontarelli
Because of the ban on diaries constructed at the frontlines by soldiers in combat, this provides an excellent battle account as it occured.He was in a rear area but the marines kept him informed daily.
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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...
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