THE FRIENDLY DEAD by T. Grady Gallant


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War is not merely Hell in this description of the Marine dead on Iwo Jima, it is Hell upon Hell. The friendly dead are the Marine dead as opposed to the enemy dead, and this book is literally a study in carnage: who died where, how and when, man by man. The author was himself a Marine line sergeant in the Iwo Jima Campaign. This present work is an effort to show the uninitiated the full horror of physical death during the Iwo battle (this battle was very, different from previous island assaults). Corpse after corpse receives sometimes two pages of visceral description; quite often the corpse is only partly there, perhaps as a headless, armless, nothing-else-but chest, and the author soliloquizes upon a simple human chest. The author vouches for every corpse he describes; they are all authentic. What was demoralizing to the Marines was that the Japanese were utter phantoms who snatched away their own friendly dead, so that all the Marines ever saw were Marine dead. The reason the Japanese could do this is that Iwo Jima was a unique fortress, a honeycomb of hidden emplacements connected with ingenious tunnels. If one emplacement were attacked, the Japanese would scurry down his tunnel to another emplacement. Also, for the first time, the Japanese had been ordered to desist from wasteful banzai charges and to stand and die undercover. This is as grim a work as ever saw print.

Publisher: Doubleday