Monday, May 17, 2010
With the Old Breed
A lot of time was taken up with the return and difficulties of E. B. Sledge. He was tormented by nightmares and had a hard time returning to civilian life. In the past week I read his wartime memoir With the Old Breed. I really enjoyed the book, even though the story was extremely brutal at times. The battles of Pelelieu and Okinawa were terribly difficult battles. Sledge describes the horrors in detail that you don't see in many history books. For example he tries to explain how the odor of dead bodies and human waste in the tropical heat got worse day after day as the battle continued. It's a wonder that any of the soldiers could return to normal life after what they had seen and done. I think our leaders should read something like this before deciding whether or not to go to war.
Now I need to get a copy of Robert Leckie's A Helmet for My Pillow.