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Ballantine Books. Eugene Bondurant Sledge was born in Mobile, Ala.
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A year after Pearl Harbor, while Sledge was a freshman at a two-year military college, he dropped out to join the Marines. His experiences in the Pacific Theater, during grueling fighting on the islands of Peleliu and Okinawa, rattled his body and mind, and changed the arc of his life.
The War of the Worlds
The resulting manuscript, everyone who touched it realized, was something special. It deserved a wider audience. Among readers of military history, it was almost instantly recognized as a classic. But I am regularly surprised at the otherwise literate people of my acquaintance who not only have not read it but have not heard of it. If you can make it through without welling up at half a dozen spots, you are a stronger person than I.
On Peleliu , men fought in the irradiating heat and on coral, which made finding shelter well-nigh impossible. On Okinawa , Sledge and his fellow Marines fought in mud — mud that gave them trench foot and was often thick with maggots, rotting bodies, flies and feces.
The War of the Worlds
Each battle was an ordeal, a fight against a fanatical enemy that was dug in and determined to fight to the last man. The battle for Peleliu is lesser-known than the battle for Okinawa, and some historians have argued it was unnecessary.
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The Allies might have slipped around it, toward the Japanese mainland. In the South, eloquent U. Senator Jefferson Davis was risking all in a race for governor of his native Mississippi.
And far to the Southwest, the future of the frontier was being decided as the U. Army, under Colonel Bull Moose Sumner, faced the growing alliance of Native Americans led by the great Mangas Coloradas and determined to defend their ancestral lands.
For First Lieutenant Nathanial Barrington it was his first test as a professional soldier following orders he distrusted in an undeclared war without conscience or quarter — and his test as a man when he met the Apache woman warrior Jocita in a night lit by passion that would yield to a day of dark decisions… War Eagles.
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