With the Old Breed

With the Old Breed by E.B. Sledge Book Summary

“Eugene Sledge became more than a legend with his memoir, With The Old Breed. He became a chronicler, a historian, a storyteller who turns the extremes of the war in the Pacific—the terror, the camaraderie, the banal and the extraordinary—into terms we mortals can grasp.”—Tom Hanks


In The Wall Street Journal, Victor Davis Hanson named With the Old Breed one of the top five books on epic twentieth-century battles. Studs Terkel interviewed the author for his definitive oral history, The Good War. Now E. B. Sledge’s acclaimed first-person account of fighting at Peleliu and Okinawa returns to thrill, edify, and inspire a new generation.

An Alabama boy steeped in American history and enamored of such heroes as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene B. Sledge became part of the war’s famous 1st Marine Division—3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Even after intense training, he was shocked to be thrown into the battle of Peleliu, where “the world was a nightmare of flashes, explosions, and snapping bullets.” By the time Sledge hit the hell of Okinawa, he was a combat vet, still filled with fear but no longer with panic.

Based on notes Sledge secretly kept in a copy of the New Testament, With the Old Breed captures with utter simplicity and searing honesty the experience of a soldier in the fierce Pacific Theater. Here is what saved, threatened, and changed his life. Here, too, is the story of how he learned to hate and kill—and came to love—his fellow man.

“In all the literature on the Second World War, there is not a more honest, realistic or moving memoir than Eugene Sledge’s. This is the real deal, the real war: unvarnished, brutal, without a shred of sentimentality or false patriotism, a profound primer on what it actually was like to be in that war. It is a classic that will outlive all the armchair generals’ safe accounts of—not the ‘good war’—but the worst war ever.”—Ken Burns

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With the Old Breed (E.B. Sledge) Book Reviews

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- Best book ever5 star

This is truly one of the best books I have EVER read in my life. I felt as if I was right there with them through it all.

- Great read5 star

After reading, I now understand how easy it was for Tom Hanks and HBO to team up and create the mini series on the War in the Pacific.

- It feels like you were there!5 star

I think every American should read this book.

- Old Breed5 star

Great book-glad I was not part of the action- this book is why they describe the marines and other veterans as the Greatest Generation. I doubt that the current crop of teenagers could even come close to what they endured and accomplished in the war and then came home and started a new life. I saw the series “Pacific” and still don’t know how they made thru and were still sane. .

- Descriptive like you were there!5 star

This book is like starring out the window of your house watching this unfold. So descriptive to the point to make you realize how painful it is.

- All that served.5 star

I served in submarines for twenty years. I know the brotherhood of which he wrote. He is correct today as then training is everything. We are the best military in the world because of our military training. This book is a fantastic read. I only wish I could have shaken the author’s hand. Semper Fi my bother. We are all brothers.

- Amazing5 star

As a Marine that served with 2/4 (attached to 5th Marines) I know its history very well. I’m a Iraq/Afghanistan veteran and I’m a huge WW2 history buff I have read many book about the Pacific Campaigns but this is by far one of the best. In my opinion personal accounts are always better then historical event books. It’s more graphical and less blurred for the average reader. Sledge did a outstanding job making you feel like you where next to him. Thank you to all Marines of WW2 and Semper Fi Marines

- Outstanding!!5 star

It must have been a tremendous ordeal to put all of these memories on paper. So glad Mr. Sledge was able to do it. I will never think about war in the same way again.

- Incredible5 star

Important to read is an understatement. Fantastic book.

- Forever proud and humbled by all our veterans5 star

Raw, Riveting, and Reality at its best. Thank you veterans - for your service and personal sacrifice. We are a grateful nation.

- Insightful4 star

Having read many books set in this time period, found the s a refreshing, first-hand micro level story. Rather than highlighting large pieces on the chessboard, focused on one brave Marine's experience.

- With the Old Breed5 star

In this spare and gripping memoir, EB Sledge was as fine a writer as he was a patriot and hero.

- Great Read5 star

Shows the real was minus the supposed glory. Great read.


The world would probably be a safer place if everyone alive would read this book. The simple savagery. The waste of lives. The countless toll that this war took on all sides is put on paper with this book. Excellent read.

- Great read5 star

It's nice to read about the military experiences from the individuals that fought the battles.

- With The Old Breed5 star

This book is by far the best war memoir ever written. To read and try to understand the brutal hellish conditions these Marines faced on a day to day basis in combat on Peleliu and Okinawa is something that should be remembered and shared for generations to come. For, they are the greatest generation. Semper FI!

- Powerful narrative of the Pacific War and the limits of Endurance5 star

This is not a polished work, crafted by a professional writer. It's a straight forward narrative, stripped of all glamour, concepts of glory, and of all similar notions. Full acknowledgement should be given to the horror of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but no one should condemn the decision to drop the bomb without first reading and fully considering the implications of this book. As awful as it was, the bomb might have been a mercy to both sides.

- Wow5 star

I have read a lot of book on war. This is the first one to take you into the real world of combat. The blood, guts and maggots, for once what it is really like in a fight.

- Must read5 star

This book provides a vivid and shocking account of combat in the Pacific theater. This is a page turner that immerses you in the blood and guts with K/3/5 Marines. Best first hand account of combat I've ever read.

- Unaltered truth about war5 star

This book is a must read for anyone with interest in the Pacific. It is such a well written explanation of E.B. Sledge's firsthand combat experience that I simply could not put it down. I was saddened when I reached the last page.

- With the Old Breed5 star

A fantastic first person account of Marine bravery, tenacity and esprit de Corps. A must read for anyone who would like to understand what the greatest generation would like to forget.

- Best military book5 star

I've read a lot of military history but this book is top tier and in my top 5. Fully action packed and one of the best personal narratives of war experience out there.

- Must read!5 star

Great book, every page interesting. If you have watched the series "Pacific", you must read this book.

- Excellent read5 star

E. B. Sledge gives us a truly unvarnished first hand view of his combat experience in the PTO in WWII with the Marines. This book exposes combat, warts and all, for what it is. Hell.

- With the Old Breed5 star

The horrible, indelible memories of an intelligent young man serving as a 'lowly' line Marine during the battles for Peleliu and Okinawa are vividly captured in this book for future generations. The memories are poignant, yet matter-of-factual as they convey the depth of madness inherent in the hand-to-hand combat conditions of the Pacific. Sledge describes the psyches and often inexplicable yet somehow understandable behaviors of Marine infantrymen whose senses are hammered jolted and pummeled by the incessant shock of enemy assault and the putrid conditions of Pacific battlefields. A must read.

- Great book5 star

Excellent read - one of the more detailed/graphic books I have read about military conflicts !!! If you have seen The Pacific and want information about Sledge and the battles he fought it in - this is a definate read !!

- Awesome5 star

Of all the ww2 books I've read, this one has given me the clearest view of what the combat soldiers of World War II endured to secure, for Americans and the whole world, everything we have today.

- With the Old Breed4 star

Fascinating take of the first hand experiences of a true hero. These men did so much. These type of books should be required reading for every American.

- With the old breed5 star

Great book for history fans. I loved it. Showed real emotion and the grusum mess of war.

- A gritty must with "The Pacific" or WW II studies.5 star

After reading & watching The Pacific along with other non-fiction novels concerning the Pacific war and war in general where E.B. Sledge is mentioned, I had to read his book. This book puts the reader on the battlefield with total empathy for any combatant in any such conflict. Being an experienced professor in his post-war years, Sledge's vocabulary and descriptive abilities are incredible.

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- An Incredible Record5 star

This novel tells the tale of one man’s war. It details the recollections of a Marine mortar man in the island campaigns of WWII. It details the horrors and tribulations of war as experienced first hand.

- Pacific war well described5 star

It is not often that we get such a good first person description of events. A must read.

- With The Old Breed....5 star

This book, and it's nearest brother "Helmet For My Pillow" paint the clearest and most compelling picture of lives and moments in history that demand reflection. The say this book is a spectacular read, it's far short of the mark. I highly recommend both books.

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- The Greatest Generation - Sacrifice and Courage5 star

I didn't want to stop reading Sledge's personal account of the WW II battles he endured. Everyone should read this first hand experience of combat in it's raw and brutal truth. It gave me an appreciation for those American soldiers that have fought for our country, then and today.

- With The old breed5 star

One of the finest war memoirs I've had The privilege to read. I find myself almost speechless at sledge's descriptions of the horror and privation that was war in the Pacific. This book is truly a masterpiece, not to be missed. A former Marine myself, this work is especially touching and meaningful. Spectacular read!

- Unbelievable...5 star

I've read tons about the War in Europe, but this was my first book exclusively about the Pacific. The horror and brutality of the fighting was absolutely mind blowing. Sledge is straightforward and matter-of-fact. Like the intro says, it's like looking through a pane of glass. You feel like you're simply seeing what he saw. His description of the alien scenery on Peleliu gave me chills. I could actually see it in my mind's eye. A must-read for anyone interested in what battle was really like in the Pacific.

- With The Old Breed5 star

The most, on the ground, inside look at the life of a in the battle field WWII Marine fighting in the Pacific Theater ever written. The description of the conditions they lived and fought in takes my breath away . . . I don't know how they did it. It's no wonder they never wanted to talk about it.

- With the old breed5 star

Must read for those interested in the unvarnished truth about combat from an infantryman. No judgements or rose colored viewpoints. Read it now!

- The Pacific5 star

This is the real story. If you want to know about the war in the Pacific, this is the book.

- With the Old Breed5 star


- Great book5 star

If ur reading this because of the hbo series " the pacific" your in for a treat. Ten times better read.

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With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa Probably the best book written by a regular rifleman in WWll. Comparable…

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@TJDMCR @Neoavatara @KenGardner11 And there were basically two separate amphibious groups that took "turns" in batt…

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@TFrei Just reading E.B. Sledge "With the Old Breed: Peleliu and Okinawa. A marines' story, great read.

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@gentlemanbwnco @stock1847 @Nimerland @deseret_boi Yeah we do. More than you're willing to admit, or spoon fed. But…

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@Ed_Tom_Bell: finishing THE PACIFIC. I really need to read the books these are based off. WITH THE OLD BREED and A HELMET FOR MY PILLOW.

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@brentalfloss: Trump, Johnson, and Cummings tell BOLD lies even though factchecking is super-easy now. Remember when the rise of Web 2.0…

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@Ed_Tom_Bell Sledge's With the Old Breed is exceptional. Highly recommend. I'm more of a European theater and Afr…

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finishing THE PACIFIC. I really need to read the books these are based off. WITH THE OLD BREED and A HELMET FOR MY PILLOW.

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@StoricoDaniele You assigning “With the Old Breed” to our World War II class was, well it was life changing.

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This thread with these old ass jokes 💀 the white brits are a different breed of annoying

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@Reinsch84: Always remember the Old Breed

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@brentalfloss: Trump, Johnson, and Cummings tell BOLD lies even though factchecking is super-easy now. Remember when the rise of Web 2.0…

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Watching The Pacific on HBO. When it first came out, I went out and read Sledge's book "With The Old Breed". Read…

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@brentalfloss: Trump, Johnson, and Cummings tell BOLD lies even though factchecking is super-easy now. Remember when the rise of Web 2.0…

5 star

@brentalfloss: Trump, Johnson, and Cummings tell BOLD lies even though factchecking is super-easy now. Remember when the rise of Web 2.0…

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