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

by Robert Leckie

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7272019,972 (3.9)33
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.
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» See also 33 mentions

English (19)  Swedish (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 19 (next | show all)
How do you review a classic? You can't, so I will just say this: War as poetry. Every bit of it, especially for those who know. From a different time, for all time. ( )
  PCHcruzr | Oct 7, 2019 |
Well written account by a Marine in 1st Division who was present until wounded on Peleliu. It is not always pleasant or feel good in nature, which is appropriate for the subject matter. He was not a conformist and had a temper which lands him in the brig, which makes this account a bit more unique. The confusion and chaos that was the Pacific campaign is brought home painfully. There is a fair amount of bitterness in his story which I dont begrudge but do mention for those looking for a more light or heroic tale. Reccommended reading, especially for those interested in the Pacific campaign. ( )
  Whiskey3pa | Mar 1, 2019 |
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." ( )
  MarcusB01 | 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 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
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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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400110505, 1400120330

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