I am always drawn to historical accounts of the Marine Corps 5th Regiment from WWI to present. The best writings are usually through first hand accoun...moreI am always drawn to historical accounts of the Marine Corps 5th Regiment from WWI to present. The best writings are usually through first hand accounts. E. B. Sledge served in 3/5 during WWII and managed to survive his entire tour without injury. Like a true Marine, Sledge possessed gifts and talents beyond fighting. Sledge kept a diary of information and when the war was over he put his skills to work and wrote a very fine piece full of emotion and personal endeavor. The book transcends WWII as it is an overall testament of the basic Marine Corps values of Semper Fidelis and camaraderie along with tradition, which makes the title “With the Old Breed” so appropriate.(less)
The author mentioned very interesting untold stories, some very griping and personal that will remain with the reader for a long time. However the 235...moreThe author mentioned very interesting untold stories, some very griping and personal that will remain with the reader for a long time. However the 235 page book did not delve into the broad spectrum of the battle of Iwo Jima. There was no safe haven on any portion of the tiny island described by one aviator as “a fat pork chop, sizzling in the skillet”. The easy to identify simple map titled “Progress of the Attack to the North” gave further reason for me to retain the book. I see this book featured as a great addition to complement some of the other numerous Iwo Jima books.(less)
The WWII battle for the small island of Iwo Jima, roughly 700 miles south of Tokyo, was full of determination, sacrifice and obligation. When D-Day (2...moreThe WWII battle for the small island of Iwo Jima, roughly 700 miles south of Tokyo, was full of determination, sacrifice and obligation. When D-Day (2/19/45) approached, young jovial Marines aboard ships transitioned their thoughts reflecting upon family, religion and preparation for their looming departure. Soon the lives of even the skilled combat veterans would never be the same. In true form the Marines hit the beach and never looked back until victory was accomplished. It was ugly and gruesome, but full of camaraderie and the true spirit of “Semper Fidelis”.
There are numerous books on Iwo Jima and most contain different pieces of information. The personal stories within the book will linger with the reader for a long time. I wish the numerious photo images were clearer, but I like the selection of the first flag raising on Mount Suribachi for the cover. Richard Newcomb did his part in detailing an important piece of history.
Anton Myrer’s classic lengthy novel set in 20th Century America revolves around an athletic intelligent mid-western youth named Sam Damon. He sought t...moreAnton Myrer’s classic lengthy novel set in 20th Century America revolves around an athletic intelligent mid-western youth named Sam Damon. He sought to make a career with the Army and during WWI he was bestowed with the Medal of Honor. As the years past he rose through the ranks with increased responsibility in WWII and later in Vietnam. A central theme is that throughout his life he was guided by strong principles and values, which at times conflicted with those close to him including his spouse, friends, and superior officer. Placing his duty and obligation to his country first he was not a perfect family man, but he was a role model to most everyone.(less)
Anton Myrer creates masterful character development in his novel revolving around Harvard students, WWII and ensuing family years filled with love, gr...moreAnton Myrer creates masterful character development in his novel revolving around Harvard students, WWII and ensuing family years filled with love, grief and personality conflicts. Following the book’s title a classic four door green late 1930’s Packard convertible nicknamed Empress is featured throughout the book providing transportation for dates, football games, Boston’s Back Bay as well as memorable jaunts to Nauset Beach on Cape Cod.(less)
Joseph Persico chronicles one of his best accomplishments through very revealing intimate portrayals of the World War II generals surrounding America’...moreJoseph Persico chronicles one of his best accomplishments through very revealing intimate portrayals of the World War II generals surrounding America’s Commander-in-Chief, President Franklin D. Roosevelt. His in-depth research and professional writing transcends from cover to cover. Persico not only details the relationship between FDR and Churchill along with other world leaders, but much insight is provided regarding the American military leaders of various service branches and how they followed regulations, interacted and at times clashed while striving to achieve a common goal. Best of all the background of the individuals, their personalities along their drive and ambition are fully documented.
Much has been written about WWII however this concise book fills a void. It flows smoothly and is a valued research book with a complete index.
I received this complementary book from the Goodreads History Club, but this did not alter my review. (less)
I can easily relate to little All-American town of Bedford, VA as when I received my draft number for the Vietnam War, the population of my hometown w...moreI can easily relate to little All-American town of Bedford, VA as when I received my draft number for the Vietnam War, the population of my hometown was slightly less than Bedford’s 3,000 residents during World War II. The Bedford community was devastated when 19 young men were killed on D-Day, June 6, 1944, while taking control of the strategic sandy shore along Omaha Beach in Normandy, France.
The male youths, who gravitated to become members of the local National Guard, were caught up in the swell when President Franklin D. Roosevelt adhered to Congress and declared war. While each individual tried to digest the ramifications of war, as a group they were totally unaware that their future would role would be so historic. With no alternative, the boys, as new members of the U.S. Army, A Company, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division were quickly swept away for escalated extensive training in distant locations. The book is very griping at times. I was personally saddened to comprehend and read the accounts of some members, who looked forward to an emotional farewell visit home that never materialized. When the war was over Bedford counted 22 men who had given their life for our nation. Some were buried in France, while others were transported home for burial.
Author Alex Kershaw is a very professional writer. This book is a must for any WWII library. (less)
This smoothly written nonfiction novel is an unvarnished biography of World War II US Army officer Felix Sparks, a gritty warrior assigned to the 157t...moreThis smoothly written nonfiction novel is an unvarnished biography of World War II US Army officer Felix Sparks, a gritty warrior assigned to the 157th Infantry Regiment in the heralded 45th “Thunderbird” Division, who rose to become a battalion commander over the course of a 2,000 mile trek of 8 campaigns and more than 500 days fighting on the European Front. It’s amazing that Sparks lived through it all. I was drawn to the book because Spark’s first engagement begins with the less publicized action of American’s liberating Sicily, continuing north to Italy and then through France and finally into Germany to establish control of the Dachau concentration camp. In all Kershaw’s book chronicles another very valuable piece of history.
The story is well supported by maps and I especially liked the fresh creative approach to chapter headings and photos. By random chance I received this book through Goodreads First Reads. (less)
Eddie Rickenbacker’s autobiography is the life story of a very humble American hero, who was not afraid of failure and in turn lived a well fulfilled...moreEddie Rickenbacker’s autobiography is the life story of a very humble American hero, who was not afraid of failure and in turn lived a well fulfilled life. This is more than a tale of a great hero, or a rags-to-riches story. Considering all his talents and accomplishments Rickenbacker was a basic honest man, firmly grounded with God, country and family in his heart. He seriously faced death on several occasions, but his lifelong belief in God and passion to live pulled him through. His testimony detailed two specific occasions where he was clairvoyant and he believed in the power of a sixth sense.
Rickenbacker was born (1890) into a working class family and when 13 years old his father died prompting his decision to assume responsibility for providing for his mother, brothers and sisters. Throughout his life he was a straight shooter, however to survive he would need to bend the truth this time, as child labor laws required one to be 14 years old with an 8th grade education. He acquired a 3rd shift job two miles from home with the pay going to his mother. From this point on he excelled with informal education and never looked back.
As a youthful mechanic with a thirst for improvement and innovation he absorbed information fulfilling the role of a technical engineer. His intrigue with how automobiles function led him to compete as a national race car driver at the Indianapolis Speedway. Later in life he would be fortunate enough to own the world famous racetrack not only to stay connected, but also as a means to give back to others.
When the United States entered WWI he took his adventurous daredevil skills to another level, in the sky, where he became a squadron leader and America’s greatest pilot known as the “Ace of Aces”. A little more than a decade after the war he was honored with the Medal of Honor.
Throughout the 1930’s high ranking German officials proudly gave Rickenbacker full tours of their aviation facilities prompting him to predict a Second World War. During WWII he turned down several military promotions choosing to serve his country as a Defense Department aviation engineering consultant traveling across the world’s battlefields. His trustworthy character and keen awareness led him to secret missions. Rickenbacker noted: “The voice, even facial expressions may speak falsely, but the eyes speak the truth. When I shake hands with a man, I look him in the eye. His handshake may be firm and his greeting may be warm, but if his eyes look away, fail to meet mine or even flicker momentarily I know that there is something wrong somewhere.”
He rose to become Chairman of the Board and CEO of Eastern Airlines, remaining active as a “hands on” engineer and championing the cause of hiring disabled veterans / wounded warriors. The man, with less a than 7th grade formal education, was honored with a Doctor of Engineering degree from Lehigh University and in his lifetime other colleges and universities awarded him an assortment of 14 additional Doctorate degrees.
Rickenbacker shunned politics as a profession but treasured the American free enterprise system saying: “Over it all hangs the stultifying influence of big government and the big-brother philosophy in Washington. The so-called “security” nullifies the basic American values and the incentives that are actually stimulated by insecurity. The more that is done for the individual, the less he does for himself. Self-reliance, ambition and determination, all those human traits that were common in the pioneering days and that made this country great, are being softened, even eliminated, in America today.” As he approached his 77th birthday within his book (published 1967) he voiced his concerns of rising socialism: “I cannot help but shudder at the thought of the coming generation and what America will be like in 25 years.”