Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War

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The nightmares began for William Manchester 23 years after WW II. In his dreams he lived with the recurring image of a battle-weary youth (himself), "angrily demanding to know what had happened to the three decades since he had laid down his arms." To find out, Manchester visited those places in the Pacific where as a young Marine he fought the Japanese, and in this book examines his experiences in the line with his fellow soldiers (his "brothers"). He gives us an honest and unabashedly emotional account of his part in the war in the Pacific. "The most moving memoir of combat on WW II that I have ever read. A testimony to the fortitude of man...a gripping, haunting, book." --William L. Shirer
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Publisher
Little, Brown
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Published on
Dec 14, 2008
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780316054638
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Military
History / Military / World War II
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division has become one of the most famous small units in U.S. history, thanks to Stephen Ambrose’s superb book Band of Brothers, followed by portrayals in film. However, to date little has been heard of Fox Company of that same regiment—the men who fought alongside Easy Company through every step of the war in Europe, and who had their own stories to tell. Notably this book, over a decade in the making, came about for different reasons than the fame of the “Band of Brothers.” Bill Brown, a WWII vet himself, had decided to research the fate of a childhood friend who had served in Fox Company. Along the way he met Terry Poyser, who was on a similar mission to research the combat death of a Fox Company man from his hometown. Together, the two authors proceeded to locate and interview every surviving Fox Company vet they could find. The result was a wealth of fascinating firsthand accounts of WWII combat as well as new perspectives on Dick Winters and others of the “Band,” who had since become famous. Told primarily through the words of participants, Fighting Fox Company takes the reader through some of the most horrific close-in fighting of the war, beginning with the chaotic nocturnal paratrooper drop on D-Day. After fighting through Normandy the drop into Holland saw prolonged ferocious combat, and even more casualties; and then during the Battle of the Bulge, Fox Company took its place in line at Bastogne during one of the most heroic against-all-odds stands in U.S. history. As always in combat, each man’s experience is different, and the nature of the German enemy is seen here in its equally various aspects. From ruthless SS fighters to meek Volkssturm to simply expert modern fighters, the Screaming Eagles encountered the full gamut of the Wehrmacht. The work is also accompanied by rare photos and useful appendices, including rosters and lists of casualties, to give the full look at Fox Company which has long been overdue.
ACROSS THE DARK ISLANDS
The War in the Pacific

Floyd W. Radike
Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Ret.)


“I remember sitting in a foxhole on Guadalcanal in the rain. The sergeant I shared the hole with shook his head and asked me: ‘What in the hell are we doing on this godforsaken island? Why don’t we let the Japs keep this stinking rock?’ I didn’t have an answer.”

The war in the Pacific has never been portrayed more honestly—or in prose more powerful—than in Across the Dark Islands. In this unflinching account, Brig. Gen.Floyd W. Radike remembers how he started his military career in the mud and mayhem of Guadalcanal, fighting a campaign as crucial to the war’s outcome as it was chaotic and cruel.

Here is no whitewashed view of that war or the men who waged it. Here instead is the sobering story of a junior officer in a National Guard unit suddenly shipped off to the front lines, disdained by “regular army” elitists who served beside him, and given second-class status so that others could earn headlines and promotions. While struggling to survive amid dirt and disease, routine and monotony, Radike endured harrowing missions incompetently, arrogantly, or just impatiently planned.

As no book ever has, Across the Dark Islands reveals shocking details removed from myth and sentimentality: how American commanders were intimidated by the Japanese stereotype of fearlessness, night attacks, and cries of “banzai” . . . how imitations of John Wayne heroics caused immediate death . . . threats of court-martial quieted accusations of Army injustice . . . and panic and flight destroyed a fight for the enemy’s Munda Field airstrip, an event that “disappeared from the record and appears in no official history.”

Emerging from the hellish conditions and military miscalculations is a tribute to common sense, courage, and respect for proper procedure, attributes that would help the author and soldiers like him to save their lives, succeed in battle, and win the war. From Guadalcanal to the Philippines to a planned invasion of Japan ended by the atom bomb, General Radike’s experience spanned the entire course of the pivotal Pacific theater conflict. Candid and cautionary, his memoir is an important work whose writing rivals that of classic novels like James Jones’s The Thin Red Line and Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead. It should be read by anyone looking to join an army or wage a war.







By mid-1944, the U.S. Army was facing a critical shortage of the most important commodity in any war, the common foot soldier. Higher-than-expected casualties during the liberation of France had forced the Army to comb its ranks for replacement infantrymen. Plucked in 1944 from the safety and privilege of the Army Specialized Training Program (the World War II version of the college deferment of the Vietnam years), twenty-two-year-old John Babcock suddenly found himself an infantry private headed to Europe. Raised in an upper-middle-class family, this sensitive and literate youth was thrust into a group of coarse, uneducated, and sometimes brutal draftees who were headed to the 78th Infantry Division as replacements. Babcock demonstrates that the "greatest generation" was not always that. Instead, it was like any other cohort--full of liars, cowards, and ordinary men who simply wanted to stay alive and go home.

Babcock lets us see the war through his eyes--just over the rim of the foxhole. Undergoing his baptism of fire in the Battle of the Bulge, he endures the trials of combat, advancing through attrition to become the senior sergeant in the company. This ordinary enlisted infantryman in "just another combat division" takes the reader from infantry basic training and seven months of combat to postwar occupation duty in Germany and back home. It is one infantry rifleman's story rather than an account of how his division fit into the grander scheme of the war in Europe--though the author relates to that by providing the reader with a roadmap of dates and locations taken. Babcock offers an intimate taste of combat, casualties, how he fought, and with which weapons (in clear "civilian" language), and both the heroism and cowardice of his fellow soldiers. Published in cooperation with the Association of the United States Army, it is a gripping account of how an ordinary American boy felt and experienced the so-called good war.
One of the great war memoirs, now featuring a foreword by the New York Times bestselling author of Matterhorn in time for the centenary of World War I and the Battle of the Somme
 
A worldwide bestseller published shortly after the end of World War I, Storm of Steel is a memoir of astonishing power, savagery, and ashen lyricism. It illuminates not only the horrors but also the fascination of total war, as seen through the eyes of an ordinary German soldier.

Young, tough, patriotic, but also disturbingly self-aware, Ernst Jünger exulted in the Great War, which he saw not just as a great national conflict but also—more importantly—as a unique personal struggle. Leading raiding parties, defending trenches against murderous British incursions, simply enduring as shells tore his comrades apart, Jünger keeps testing himself, braced for the death that will mark his failure. His account is ripe for rediscovery upon the centennial of the Battle of the Somme—a major set piece in Storm of Steel—and a bracing read for fans of Redeployment and American Sniper.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
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