A Novel of U.S. Marines On Guadalcanal
Just out of high school, Al Rosen, a seventeen-year-old Philadelphian, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in order to sidestep the pitfalls of recent orphanhood. By August 1942, after four years in uniform, Corporal Rosen was leading a light machine gun squad when fate chose him to become the first American servicemen to fire shots in the Guadalcanal Campaign, America’s first offensive in World War II. Then, for six terrible months of alternating hot combat action and stretches of restive inactivity, Rosen and his fellow Marines in Company B confronted—and learned how to overcome—fear and terror and sorrow and a host of life’s other harshest tests and their many lessons. They learned to stand tall, to serve proudly, to resist fiercely, and to attack mercilessly. Some, like Rosen, by dint of aptitude and courage, advanced in rank and status. Others fell by the wayside to strange and terrible tropical diseases, to the mind-numbing heat and humidity, to bone weariness, to malnourishment, to chance, to their own human failings.
Til the Last Bugle Call is a fictional yet deadly accurate portrait of American fighting men, of U.S. Marines, from the earliest days of their Pacific War confrontation with Japan’s victorious legions, in a battle and a war none of them really knew how to fight. Eric Hammel, author of fifty non-fiction military history books, five of them covering all facets of the Guadalcanal Campaign, precisely captures the innocence of these young men at the cutting edge of the early Pacific War, then follows them as they overcome immense obstacles on their way to becoming confident combat veterans ready to take on new challenges farther along the bloody road to victory.