GUADALCANAL DIARY by Richard Tregaskis


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This is part of the February dual selection of the Book of the Month --which means plus sales through that publicity. It is also Random House candidate for the big reporter's story, to follow the current success, Sues to Singapore. Two points in its favor. I found it excellent blow-by-blow reportage, but not a book that lives on after I'd finished it. Vigorous writing, vivid and homely details of the daily round, punctuated by attack and threat of attack, humanized by the intimate picture of how they ate a slept -- or didn't -- and lived, what they talked about and thought about; the ups and downs of morale. Strangely enough, I got a recurrent sense of anticlimax, a feeling that the real battle was over the ridge, or around the point of land, or anywhere but where Tragaskis and the units to which he was attached, were dealing with snipers, detached contingents, but not the main forces. One feels -- with the marines -- keyed to major action -- and it doesn't happen. Read for the feel and smell and atmosphere of the place; for the human interest bits, personal records of individual deeds, cued to home consumption by parenthetical identification of individual heroes with their home towns. You don't get much sense of overall pattern; it is a close-up, not a bread view of the action, and it covers only the weeks up to mid-September. (With a promised few pages to come summarizing subsequent happenings to Tregaskis himself.) As star reporter for King Features, he was given this chance to share the experiences -- and the perils -- of the front lines..... Watch for another reporter's story which dovetails with this for the subsequent weeks, -- Ira Wolfert's Battle of the Solomons (Houghton). The two books should be sold as a unit -- so mention the fact that the second is coming shortly, and keep the customer's name.

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 1942
ISBN: 0679640231
Publisher: Random House