Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to…

Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific (1957)

by Robert Leckie

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5441718,436 (3.86)28

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 28 mentions

English (16)  Swedish (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Robert Leckie gives an honest and plain-speaking account of his experience of the war in the Pacific, he self censored to some extent but I guess that's what you'd expect from a book published in 1950s America. This, in my opinion, should be standard reading for school children during history lessons - it is certainly a book I wish I had read long ago.

There are times when Leckie turns his hand towards the poetic and this didn't really work for me; saying that, it didn't detract from the book either. It will be interesting to read a few of his (30 or more) military history books to see how these differ from this autobiography.

The ending of the book really struck a chord with me - Leckie quite matter-of-factly lists the good friends he lost during the various battles, and seems to accept that as part of life; he then discusses the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. I have to quote him to have a chance of getting the severity across...

"the whole world, racked for six years like a giant organism; and now the Sign of the Mushroom was rising over it. So it rose and I shrank in my cot...hearing now this strange cold incomprehensible jargon of the megaton. Someone had sinned against life, and I felt it in my very person." Finally, "...dear Father, forgive us for that awful cloud." ( )
  MarcusKB | May 14, 2016 |
An "on the ground" memoir of a "foot slogger" of the 1st Marine Division in WWII: Guadalcanal, Peleliu, and elsewhere. The basis for the Spielberg/Hanks production "Pacific". Very engrossing. ( )
  KirkLowery | Apr 20, 2016 |
No matter which war, the most colorful stories from veterans are about the fun they had after hours, on R&R, or when they should have been working. Leckie is no exception to this rule. He gives all of his experiences, on and off duty, equal weight, but the depictions of combat read more like literary journalism -- densely-packed sentences where all the details are provided in lyrical abundance, but you have to work to picture the experience -- whereas the drunken shenanigans are effortlessly easy to follow. By the end of the book you have gotten to know Leckie and really like him, but you wish the combat chapters had been fleshed out more. Nevertheless, this is a priceless first-hand account of Marines in the Pacific. ( )
  read.to.live | Jun 28, 2014 |
Good story but, I gotta admit, "With the Old Breed" was a better all around story. They are similar stories but this guy seems like he's always trying to get away with something... that's fine - it's his story - but not all that interesting. Worth a read, though, if you're like me and like to get your hands on any and all war stories. ( )
  marshapetry | Feb 8, 2014 |
An excellent page turner that I could not put down. Leckie spends a good deal of the book chronicling his training at Parris Island and New River. Through his eyes, we enjoy the many characters he met while training and with whom he fought his battles against the Japanese and the military establishment. Bloody battles at Guadalcanal, New Britain, and Peleliu are vividly described as is the R & R he spent in Melbourne, Australia. This is one of the memoirs upon which the TV series, The Pacific, is based. ( )
  lamour | Jan 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert Leckieprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lau, TomCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
To Those Who Fell
First words
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
A cutting wind slanted up Church Street in the cheerless dawn of January 5, 1942.
Last words
Information from the Swedish Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553593315, Paperback)

Here is one of the most riveting first-person accounts ever to come out of World War II. Robert Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January 1942, shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In Helmet for My Pillow we follow his odyssey, from basic training on Parris Island, South Carolina, all the way to the raging battles in the Pacific, where some of the war’s fiercest fighting took place. Recounting his service with the 1st Marine Division and the brutal action on Guadalcanal, New Britain, and Peleliu, Leckie spares no detail of the horrors and sacrifices of war, painting an unvarnished portrait of how real warriors are made, fight, and often die in the defense of their country. 

    From the live-for-today rowdiness of marines on leave to the terrors of jungle warfare against an enemy determined to fight to the last man, Leckie describes what war is really like when victory can only be measured inch by bloody inch. Woven throughout are Leckie’s hard-won, eloquent, and thoroughly unsentimental meditations on the meaning of war and why we fight. Unparalleled in its immediacy and accuracy, Helmet for My Pillow will leave no reader untouched. This is a book that brings you as close to the mud, the blood, and the experience of war as it is safe to come.

Now producers Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman, the men behind Band of Brothers, have adapted material from Helmet for My Pillow for HBO’s epic miniseries The Pacific, which will thrill and edify a whole new generation.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:48 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Leckie provides one of the most riveting first-person accounts ever to come out of WWII. Follow his odyssey, from basic training to the raging battles in the Pacific.

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
129 wanted
4 pay8 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.86)
1 1
1.5 1
2 4
2.5 1
3 20
3.5 7
4 38
4.5 3
5 23


2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400110505, 1400120330

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 105,904,272 books! | Top bar: Always visible