TLDR: The ultimate war memoir, very real, very historical, very visceral. If you’re disturbed by the image of throwing yourself down into maggot-infested corpses to save yourself from enemy artillery, this is not for you.
Eugene B Sledge, fresh recruit with the 5th Marines. That’s the 1st Marine Divisions, 5th Marine Regiment, 3rd Battalion. He’s the Sledgehammer, not because his big, or strong, or dangerous, but because his name is Sledge and they are gung-ho marines. Ergo, Sledgehammer.
Sledghammer’s first-person memoir is one of the best depictions of infantry warfare in WWII. That’s not my opinion, that’s the consensus of the war-journalist, WWII historian crowd. In my opinion, With the Old Breed is the best war memoir ever, period. It’s one of the best memoirs I’ve ever read (the other one being Educated by Tara Westover). It’s one of the most engrossing. Once I picked it up, I couldn’t stop reading. (more…)