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Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II
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Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,180 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Penguin delivers you to the front lines of The Pacific Theater with the real-life stories behind the HBO miniseries.
Former Marine and Pacific War veteran Robert Leckie tells the story of the invasion of Okinawa, the closing battle of World War II. Leckie is a skilled military historian, mixing battle strategy and analysis with portraits of the men who fought on both
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 1st 1996 by Penguin Books (first published May 25th 1995)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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Patrick McCoy
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, non-fiction
I enjoyed Robert Leckie's autobiography, Helmet for My Pillow (one of the biographies that inspired the HBO miniseries The Pacific). So when I found out that he had written a book on the battle of Okinawa, Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II (1996), before I was scheduled for my second visit to the island I knew it would be my background reading there. Leckie points out some astonishing facts: "Never before...had there been an invasion armada the equal of the 1,600 seagoing ships carrying ...more
May 03, 2010 rated it liked it
This was the last little WWII book I had stockpiled away to read while I watched "The Pacific." It was a very much a strategic and military history (more than say a personal war account, although there were a few of those mixed in) and therefore was a little hard for me to follow at times. It was remarkable in that it followed both the strategic moves of the Japanese AND the American forces on Okinawa. The two biggest things I learned were 1) what a huge part Kamikaze played in the last effort ...more
Michael Blackmer
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent account of the battle for Okinawa by a participant. Very clearly written and lays out the background of the battle well at the start.
Jeff Mauch
Oct 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm slowly trying to learn more about the historic events of the past that I feel were glossed over or too briefly covered during my education both in high school and in college. Now I'm not saying we didn't cover WWII, we definitely did, but it seems that other than Pearl Harbor and dropping the bombs on Japan, we mostly ignored the Pacific side of the war. I took courses in college that solely covered WWII and even than, the focus was mostly on the Eastern front, the politics, and the dropping ...more
Apr 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm glad to see a historian pay careful detail to Okinawa. It's been my experience that it tends to get glossed over. A very well researched account.

For the less military oriented readers like myself the parts detailing the movements and battle formations can be dry.

The last chapter was especially well-written and informative. In my experience it's uncommon for a historian to question the necessity of not just one of the A-bombs but both. He calls the argument that 'Japan would not have
Ryuji Ishida
This is a incredible book I recommend this book if you are interested in the history about world war 2 .I like this book mainly because it focuses on both sides of the war and it only tells stories about the pacific theater.My dad was born in 1943 so he knew a lot of world war 2,so one day when we were shopping at the local book store my dad saw this book and told me i should read it and i bought it and read it.This book is amazing because it goes in depth of how the people would die and told ...more
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Robert Leckie was a marine in the Pacific during WWII. He has written a number of books, perhaps most notably "Helmet on My Pillow," a WWII personal memoir which served as one of the primary references for the HBO 2010 mini-series "The Pacific." He died in 2001 so would not know that his material would have renewed and important life given to it. As I learned from reading PT Deutermann's "Sentinels of Fire," the kamikaze was a devastatingly effective weapon of war against the American fleet in ...more
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
My wild guess is, please help me out here, that Robert Leckie has made a mistake in his book. In CH 24, he says "Ushijima...their headquarter under Hill 95...". Actually, Ushijima's final HQ was in Hill 89, not Hill 95. The Peace Memorial Park at Okinawa says it was Hill 89. The USMC's Okinawa: Victory in Pacific says Hill 89 (page 248). Hill 95 is actually 2.3 miles northeast to Hill 89, very close to Hanagusuku. Hill 95 is not even in Mabuni area. If I'm right, and if the Park official and ...more
Jill Hutchinson
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: wwi-wwii
This small but important book on the last battle in the Pacific of WWII, is informative and easy to read. The author, a veteran of the Pacific theater, allows the reader to see the horror of the island to island fighting that marked the end of the war and the lengths to which Japan would go before surrendering. (Of course we know that it took two atomic weapons to accomplish surrender.) The Japanese troops fought like demons and their attitudes of glory for the Emperor and "no surrender" were ...more
Chris Reznor
Jan 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
An exceptionally biased piece of historical literature. Given that the author fought in the theater being examined (though not in Okinawa itself) this is hardly a surprise though the occasional racists epithets cannot be excused. Still, there is the expression about history being written by the victors, of which this is a glowing example (though not to take away from the immense bravery of American troops who served).
Jan 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Here are the strengths of this book - Leckie has written a very readable account of the Okinawa campaign. This account has great authenticity because Leckie was a Marine combat veteran of WW2 in the Pacific.
The downside is that Leckie and decisive in sharing his opinions - for instance in his introduction of Kelly Turner - saying that it was shocking that Kelly Turner kept his job because he was responsible for the debacle of the battle of Savo Island and he made the decision to abandon the
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anybody that like historical accounts/commentary
Shelves: robert-leckie
Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II written by Robert Leckie who was a veteran of Guadalcanal and Peleliu details with great clarity the struggle to take the last hostile Japanese held island in WWII. The book is written with the styling of a sports reporter which makes for a quick read. He outlines the greater advances of the Marines and Army without getting bogged down in the minutia of every single action that other authors tend to put into their accounts of the stories. Okinawa also ...more
A.G.R. Goff
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Ex-Marine and Pacific War veteran Robert Leckie, who is telling this story died in 2001. He wrote a considerable amount of books on military history. He started writing when he was 16. He then enlisted with the United States Marine Corps, the after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Which changed the subjects he was writing about later. However, he did not participate in the Okinawa invasion. So, this book is not from his perspective even though he is a skilled military historian having been ...more
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
Military history books are always a bit of a hit and miss for me – and unfortunately I think this one I’d call a miss. The book is deceptively long for its size, it looks tiny for its 200 pages, and while I cannot quite identify what went wrong I just found that I couldn’t really get into the narrative. Leckie is a war veteran himself who writes with a lot of detail and passion, but I couldn’t help feel that this one presented a somewhat biased view, and speculative in parts. It was, however, a ...more
Emily Petroff
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book gives a really clear, albeit somewhat technical, overview of the battle of Okinawa including the logistical aspects and the conditions on the ground. The author didn't fight at Okinawa but was a Marine in WWII and clearly has a very close connection with the American (victorious) side and writes as such. It's not that he doesn't present the Japanese side, but has a tendency to already paint them as the inevitable losers. But this book was really interesting. I've wanted to know more ...more
Andy Todd
Feb 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction-read
I bought this after watching Andrew Garfield's terrific performance in 'Hacksaw Ridge'. This is a comprehensive account of the campaign on Okinawa, the final battle of WWII told by a war veteran who skilfully deploys his extensive research. Overall, though, we become weighted down by the sheer detail.
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
In the chapter discussing Japanese history the author has a very clear bias against Japan and Japanese people. Otherwise if you want to know about this battle, this part of WW2, this is a good one to read.
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Over all it a very informative book about one of the most important battles towards the end of WWII. The way the author described the events and brought you into the shoes of the soldiers, commanders, and pilots of the great battle of Okinawa is absolutely incredible.
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: deck-2
Iffy on much of the history but points for enthusiasm. Written by a famous Marine and reads like it. Is successfully a book about Okinawa.
Amy Rupert
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Detailed history of the battle from both sides.
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very good general overview of the Battle for Okinawa written by a talented writer with war fighting experience.
Anthony Bracciante
This book provides a good general overview of all aspects of the Okinawa campaign including a discussion as to was this battle really necessary.
Oct 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cathy Houston
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
very detailed account of this last battle of WWII; you get to read the stories of these great and often unsung heros
Bill Conrad
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Okinawa was an intense read. I really felt for the soldiers who faced the intense resistance of the dedicated Japanese soldiers. Robert Leckie dug up a lot of detail and he provided a lot of insight into the history of the battles and the mindset of the leaders who decided to take this island. There were several facts I was unaware of and I really got a lot out of the overall story. The result was a really great book that I enjoyed reading.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
In this stirring war memoir, Robert Leckie provides a first hand view of the final battle of World War II that pitted the resilient Americans against their resolute Japanese foes. The battle of Okinawa represented a conflict of attrition as two unrelenting and unyielding sets of brave soldiers engaged in an unforgiving clash in a battlefield that was as much dangerous as the warring combatants themselves, if not more! Even after Adolf Hitler and his maniacal bunch of Nazis had either given up ...more
Trenton Hayes
Jul 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Well, I came to this book wanting to dig deeper into WWII, after a soupçon of a one-volume history, and I had this laying at hand. My granddaddy fought here, and I knew only the broadest outlines of the battle, so why not?

This is a soldier's account. That pretty much means it is not for me; I am not terribly interested in the history of squad-level tactics, and as magnificent as CMofH winners are, invariably, short accounts of their mind-blowing heroics are usually not interesting(either nothing
Clint Deroze
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Many people say that history is written by the victor. The book Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II is not only a book about the American campaign, but also gives you a view of the Japanese perspective of this fierce battle. I thought this book was my favorite World War II book and that’s coming from a military buff.

I feel that the author did have a purpose in writing this book and that purpose being to inform people of the brutal fighting and staggering loss by both sides. Another reason
Clayton Weller
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The book I have read for this assignment was, "Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II", by Robert Leckie. The reason the author wrote this story was to entertain the reader by a way of teaching and describing the real battle of Okinawa in a thrilling and amusing historic story. The author took a real historic event and real historic facts about the history of World War II and put it in an exciting story in how the United States Military defeated the Japanese enemy.
The theme of this story is
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book I have read for this assignment was, "Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II", by Robert Leckie. The reason the author wrote this story was to entertain the reader by a way of teaching and describing the real battle of Okinawa in a thrilling and amusing historic story.
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Leckie was born on December 18, 1920, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He grew up in Rutherford, New Jersey. He began his career as a writer in high school, as a sports writer for ''The Bergen Evening Record'' in Hackensack, New Jersey.

On January 18, 1942, Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.He served in combat in the Pacific theater, as a scout and a machine gunner in H Company, 2nd