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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.

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
Helmet For My Pillow is the written account of U.S. Marine, author and military historian Robert Leckie on his experiences during the Second World War. The book starts on the day of his enlistment and takes the reader through basic training and his assignment to the 1st Marine Division. He was deployed to the Pacific theatre with his first stop being the island of Guadacanal.

Helmet For My Pillow is a personal story about one actual on-the-ground ‘gyrene’. From his time fighting from island to island and his liberty adventures in Australia, his recollections are vivid and gives the reader a sense of what these young men went through on a day-to-day basis. The author was 21 when he enlisted and he and his fellow marines were sent into some of the war’s fiercest fighting. Eventually Robert Leckie was evacuated with wounds from the island of Peleliu.

From his sense of kinship with his fellow marines, the laughter and fun they shared to the harrowing battle scenes and the horror of dead bodies strewn about, the author gives the reader a glimpse of one man’s war experience which makes for a very gripping, interesting and intense read. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Dec 12, 2016 |
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 |
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Robert Leckieprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lau, TomCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Those Who Fell
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A cutting wind slanted up Church Street in the cheerless dawn of January 5, 1942.
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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)

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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 5 descriptions

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400110505, 1400120330

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