With the Old Breed by E. B. Sledge
At Peleliu and Okinawa

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“Eugene Sledge became more than a legend with his memoir, With The Old Breed. He became a chronicler, a historian, a storyteller who turns the extremes of the war in the Pacific—the terror, the camaraderie, the banal and the extraordinary—into terms we mortals can grasp.”—Tom Hanks


In The Wall Street Journal, Victor Davis Hanson named With the Old Breed one of the top five books on epic twentieth-century battles. Studs Terkel interviewed the author for his definitive oral history, The Good War. Now E. B. Sledge’s acclaimed first-person account of fighting at Peleliu and Okinawa returns to thrill, edify, and inspire a new generation.

An Alabama boy steeped in American history and enamored of such heroes as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene B. Sledge became part of the war’s famous 1st Marine Division—3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Even after intense training, he was shocked to be thrown into the battle of Peleliu, where “the world was a nightmare of flashes, explosions, and snapping bullets.” By the time Sledge hit the hell of Okinawa, he was a combat vet, still filled with fear but no longer with panic.

Based on notes Sledge secretly kept in a copy of the New Testament, With the Old Breed captures with utter simplicity and searing honesty the experience of a soldier in the fierce Pacific Theater. Here is what saved, threatened, and changed his life. Here, too, is the story of how he learned to hate and kill—and came to love—his fellow man.

“In all the literature on the Second World War, there is not a more honest, realistic or moving memoir than Eugene Sledge’s. This is the real deal, the real war: unvarnished, brutal, without a shred of sentimentality or false patriotism, a profound primer on what it actually was like to be in that war. It is a classic that will outlive all the armchair generals’ safe accounts of—not the ‘good war’—but the worst war ever.”—Ken Burns

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About E. B. Sledge

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E. B. "Sledgehammer" Sledge was born and grew up in Mobile. In late 1943 he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. After basic training, he was sent to the Pacific Theater where he fought at Peleliu and Okinawa, two of the fiercest battles of World War II. Following the Japanese surrender, Sledge served in China as part of the occupation force. Upon his return home, he obtained a Ph.D. in biology and joined the faculty of Alabama College (later the University of Montevallo), where he taught until retirement. Sledge initially wrote about his war experiences to explain them to his family, but he was persuaded by his wife to seek publication. Sledge died on March 3, 2001.
Published December 18, 2008 by Presidio Press. 354 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War, Travel, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for With the Old Breed


Sledge later wrote about his wartime doings in With the Old Breed (1981), widely regarded as the best battle memoir of World War II.

Jun 01 2010 | Read Full Review of With the Old Breed: At Peleli...

The Army Rumour Service

(One particularly unsettling vignette is that of a comrade who falls down a small hill, to end up coated in the maggots breeding in the bodies of the unburied dead in the jungle conditions.) He makes almost no mention of any heroic acts on his part, almost the only allusion to his conduct in that...

Aug 11 2010 | Read Full Review of With the Old Breed: At Peleli...

World War II Database

I have just finished reading With the Old Breed by E.B Sledge.

Nov 05 2010 | Read Full Review of With the Old Breed: At Peleli...

World War II Database

As the Marine drove his knife into the still live soldier, He was promptly shouted down by Sledge and others in Company K, and another Marine ran over and shot the Japanese soldier.

Jul 25 2005 | Read Full Review of With the Old Breed: At Peleli...

Pacific Wrecks

At Peleliu and Okinawa Originally published in 1981, this book has been acclaimed as one of the best first-hand accounts of the Pacific War.

Nov 01 2012 | Read Full Review of With the Old Breed: At Peleli...

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