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Hero of the Pacific: The Life of Marine Legend John Basilone

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  162 ratings  ·  25 reviews
From New York Times bestselling author James Brady-the story of Marine legend John Basilone, one of three main characters in HBO's The PacificGunnery Sergeant John Basilone was a Marine legend who received the Medal of Honor for holding off 3,000 Japanese on Guadalcanal and the Navy Cross posthumously for his bravery on Iwo Jima. This is the story of how a young man from R ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Wiley (first published December 4th 2009)
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Sarah
Goodness! Does Mr. Brady have anything positive to say? It's a rather awful poking at how other people "got it wrong" or exaggerated what John Basilone said or did, even questioning Basilone's lack of commentary or letter writing. I couldn't even finish this book. I'd rather read the facts, the story, not hear how wrong other people are. I was really wanting to like this book, but it's awful!
Matt
Hero of the Pacific is a great book that has great aspirations but reads like an unfinished manuscript. The reason for the unfinished feeling is the James Brady the author died the day after he finished the book. Which meant while the unfinished feeling was forgivable since he couldn't make the final edits and tweaks the book might need to get a higher rating.

What was enjoyable was Brady set out to correct the record about John Basilone who is a legend in the Marine Corps. Basilone's story is on
...more
Mark
A hero like Basilone deserved a lot better than this hackneyed attempt at a monograph (it's barely a biography and I won't insult historians by calling this a history). It reads more like an author's notes than an actual finished product. What's worse is it is an author who clearly has an ax to grind.
For whatever reason,(perhaps the foresight not to entrust such a story to an old magazine hack), the Basilone family made themselves mostly unavailable to the author and therefore suffers his unrele
...more
Jeffrey McKinley
I first remember hearing the name John Basilone from the father of my best friend. He served in the marines and landed on Iwo Jima. After telling us about the man and his exploits, he described the way his unit felt when word trickled through the ranks that Manila John was dead. My best friend and I were joining the corp and would soon learn about Sargent Basilone along with many other greats in the leatherneck pantheon (among them, the legendary 'Chesty'' Puller). As with any hero, mythic narra ...more
Relstuart
Overall a little disjointed. The author will get going in narrative and then break off to tell you why the book by his family got something wrong. There are gaps in what the author can find out in parts of Basilone's life because he didn't write things in his diary and if he wrote home his letters have been lost.

Basilone the man was interesting and his story is worthy of remembrance. I just hope this isn't the definitive version of his life. He married a fellow Marine and they were together for
...more
Rob Maynard
Hero of the Pacific is one of the more interesting World War II reads I've experienced. John Basilone's story is unparalleled. He was a working class second generation Italian-American from Raritan New Jersey who joined the Army prior to WWII and served in the Phillippines. After mustering out of the army he signed on as a Marine and ended up on Bloody Ridge on Guadalcanal in 1942, where on a rainy night he killed dozens of Japanese soldiers, ran barefoot back and forth through the firefight wit ...more
Deb
I picked up this book at the library because I've been watching The Pacific on HBO. I was interested in finding out more John Basilone, one of the Marines about whom the Tom Hanks' series is centered.
I found the book confusing to read. The author jumped around in the timeline, and I wasn't always clear as to who he was quoting. I felt that the author's main purpose of the book was to sift through a lot of conflicting information about John Basilone rather than to tell his story. Some things I d
...more
Andres
I read this book right after finishing the only other readily available Basilone biography, I'm Staying with My Boys: The Heroic Life of Sgt. John Basilone, USMC. Brady takes issue with that book because it was co-written by Jerry Cutter, a nephew of Basilone's, which itself was based on a serialized account written by Cutter's mother (Basilone's sister) that was published in a newspaper. He calls these attempts at biography "amateurish and fanciful, admiring but brief on fact." You would think ...more
Mandy J. J.
Book Overview:
"From the summer of 1943 to early 1945, John Basilone was one of the most famous and admired people in America. As the first enlisted man to be awarded the Medal of Honor in World War II, for extraordinary bravery under fire at Guadalcanal, he toured the nation with movie stars, shared podiums with mayors and governors, shook the hands of thousands of citizens, and was even rumored to have made a romantic connection with a beautiful young actress.

Why would a man who had proven his
...more
Keith McGowan
I had never heard of John Basilone before I read this book. As other reviewers have pointed out, the author spends more time trying to sort fact from fiction. I believe that the point that Brady is trying to make is that we should accept our heroes the way they are rather than try to embellish their lives with exaggerated tales.

Basilone was indeed a hero who chose to return to the front rather than stay safe at home.
Phil Elsner
this book by the late james brady was his last book and it portrayed one of the heroes of world war two that fought in the pacific theatre.his name was john basilone ,he was a gunnery sargent in the marines and he was killed on the first day after landing under heavy enemy fire on an island called iwo jima.and he had previously won the medal of honor at guadalcanal in 1942.he was a regular guy who became a hero to every marine and sailor for his bravery under fire.most people today dont know, wh ...more
Nicole
I listened to this audiobook after watching the HBO miniseries, The Pacific, because I wanted to learn more about one of the main characters. What I didn't realize is that the author, James Brady, would offer his opinion on each step of John's life throughout the text. While it was interesting to learn about Manilla John it was frustrating to keep listening to the author's opinion. I like my non-fiction books to just give me the facts and let me decide my own opinion. In fact, I wouldn't have mi ...more
Up2orbit
This book was less a story about John Basilone (WWII machine gunner, awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor) and more of a critical discussion of what has been written about him over the years. The author compares stories his sister wrote about him to other records such as the official Marine Corps historical records. He pretty much rips apart the sister's writings for her novelization and her inaccurate descriptions of infantry tactics.

I liked the book because it was was well written and enga
...more
shay
with some better editing this book might have been okay.

i'm not sure what the deal is: the author died right after the completion of the book so i think that might have something to do with it. i also feel like the book might have been rushed out in order to be ready before HBO starts airing their mini-series. whatever the reason, the book seriously needed work.

it was repetitive, jumped from time period to time period, and was short on facts. over and over the author concluded that we would jus
...more
Don


I agree with other reviewers that this book is disjointed and poorly edited...clearly still an unpolished work. Nevertheless, it is an interesting read and a good illustration of the challenges historians face in reconstructing the past in the face of conflicting evidence. The author clearly put a great deal of effort and passion into trying to track down an evaluate many facets of Basilone's story. I hope that the publisher will revise this book and tighten up the narrative (it sometimes reads
...more
David
"Manila John" Basilone was a genuine war hero and Jim Brady, in the last book he would ever write, tries admirably to separate fact from the considerable fiction that surrounds Basilone's legendary exploits on Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima.

Brady, first and foremost a journalist (he wrote the "In Step With" column in Parade for years) did outstanding research for this book and his love of the Marine Corps comes through loud and clear. He died the day after he finished this book; his daughters wrote th
...more
Mark
A not particularly well written bio. of "Manila John" Basilone. It relies on dubious accounts that were written soon after the war by family members, but doesn't clear up many inconsistencies.
Granted, the author does point out the mistakes of previous bios., but this book brings us no closer to the man.
While Basilone's courage is not in question, we will likely never know the full details of his Guadalcanal heroics or the circumstances under which he was killed.
Perhaps it's enough to say he ear
...more
Dick Gullickson
Describes the life of John Basilone, USMC Marine Corps machine gunner and congressional medal of honor winner at Guadalcanal who socialized with movie stars on a war bonds tour but fought to return to the Pacific. Unfortunately, just after getting married, he was killed on his first day on the beach at Iwo Jima. He is one of three soldiers featured in the current HBO series, "The Pacific." This would be a better book if the author, James Brady, had focused on Basilone instead of critiquing other ...more
Joseph
I wanted to like it, but I didn't... This was probably written around the same time The Pacific was written, where he was one of the soldiers life being told. There was some good background on it, but the author really just spent way too much time on what was accurate and was made up on what Basilone's mom and sister wrote with another author along time ago. Brady should have just stuck to the facts and given his version as opposed to trashing the other book.

David Todd
Audible book about John "Manila John" Basilone, who won the Medal of Honor on Guadalcanal and came home to sell war bonds. What follows is a somewhat familiar story of problems and duties at home, that ultimately sent Basilone back to the fleet marines to die on the first day of Iwo Jima. Written in a similar style to James Bradley's "Flags of Our Fathers".
P.e.
Always saw the name & heard the story of the C M H. The book tried to ansewer some of the questions about the story. I don't think they can all be ansewered. He did not want to sell war bonds, he wanted to stay with his buddies who were fighting.like a lot of young men & womenback then that was all that mattered, not awards.
Don Weidinger
One of first Honor medalists, first defeat of Japan on land, 8K Mtns at Guadalcanal, joys of Melbourne down under, record of machine gun fire till 73, from NJ, perhaps overwhelmed by fame and went back to war at IwoJima.
Erin
I was totally disappointed in this book by James Brady. He seemed to spend more time discounting other things people had writen about John Basilone than actually telling his story.
Kathy
Tried to read it. Sounded interesting but too much detail about war time. Not for me.
Ruth Kyle-devendorf
Decided to read one of Justin's books....really good so far!!
Jferrara
Jferrara marked it as to-read
Dec 21, 2014
Lori
Lori marked it as to-read
Dec 13, 2014
Daniel J
Daniel J marked it as to-read
Dec 13, 2014
Merrylynn
Merrylynn marked it as to-read
Dec 09, 2014
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James Winston Brady was an American celebrity columnist who created the Page Six gossip column in the New York Post and authored the In Step With column in Parade for nearly 25 years until his death. He also authored numerous books about his time serving in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War.
More about James Brady...
The Coldest War: A Memoir of Korea The Marines of Autumn Why Marines Fight Warning of War: A Novel of the North China Marines The Marine: A Novel of War from Guadalcanal to Korea

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