STRONG MEN ARMED by Robert Leckie


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It was eight months after Pearl Harbor and America's Pacific Fleet rolled with the tide on the floor of Battleship Row, Wake, Guam, Singapore, Indo China, the philippines- all had fallen to the Rising Sun. Then 19,000 US Marines began the invasion of Guadalcanal, of which they had less knowledge than of the moon, and perhaps the most courageous campaign in all of WWII got under way. The banzai charge of Japs waving samurai sabers, the battle of Savo, of Cape Esperance and Cape Gloucester, of sun-bathed islets and pale green lagoons that were also snake infested swamps, of steaming jungles, of troopships looking like drifting logs a-swarm with ants, of famous places like Tarawa and Iwo, forgotten ones like Betio, of headlined heroes (Pappy Boyington, Bull Halsey) and everyday ones (names like Stein and LaBelle, McCarthy and Basilone), all knee deep in Purple Hearts, the whole intolerable clamor of war sounding as if it were New Year's Eve in a zoo- it's all here in a devastating, jam-packed documentary done with narrative style and sweep, a work easily the peer of But Not In Shame and The Longest Day. Based on Marine monographs, Army histories and the Samuel Eliot Morison volumes, Strong Men Armed is flooded with personal details of battalions in combat as well as every major aspect of an epic engagement. In short, a sound, dynamic testimonial.

Publisher: Random House