Holly's Reviews > With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa

With the Old Breed by Eugene B. Sledge
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really liked it
bookshelves: soldiers

Brutal, raw, and honest. This is a guy with an eye for horrifying details, the little things I found a surprise to read. I like to understand people and this left the door wide open for me to walk through and observe a WW2 Pacific grunt's experience and feelings. There were more than a few scenes leaving a strong impression on me...more like a few horrifying images I cannot forget. He talks about battle fatigue..walking that line between "cracking up" and maintaining; his description is apt and fascinating. He also wrote something about veterens that stood out to me. Average American citizens left veterens feeling quite at a loss upon their return home...he writes; "It was hard to believe some of our old friends who had wanted so much to return home actually were writing us that they thought of volunteering again for overseas duty...They had had enough of war, but they had greater difficulty adjusting to civilians or to comfortable Stateside posts. We were unable to understand their attitudes until we ourselves returned home and tried to comprehend people who griped because America wasn't perfect, or their coffee wasn't hot enough, or they had to stand in line and wait for a train or a bus...But the folks back home couldn't understand what we experienced, what in our minds seemed to set us apart forever from anyone who hadn't been in combat. We didn't want to indulge in self pity. We just wished that people back home could understand how lucky they were and stop complaining about trivial inconveniences."
He adds a few lines by Sassoon

You smug faced crowds with kindling eyes
Who cheer when soldier lads march by
Sneak home and pray you never know
The hell where youth and laughter go
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
June 25, 2011 – Shelved
September 30, 2011 – Shelved as: soldiers

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