The celebrated 2010 HBO miniseries The Pacific, winner of eight Emmy Awards, was based on two classic books about the War in the Pacific, Helmet for My Pillow and With The Old Breed. Audible Studios, in partnership with Playtone, the production company co-owned by Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, and creator of the award-winning HBO series Band of Brothers, John Adams, and The Pacific, as well as the HBO movie Game Change, has created new recordings of these memoirs, narrated by the stars of the miniseries. James Badge Dale (who portrayed Robert Leckie) and Joseph Mazello (who played Eugene Sledge) bring all the passion and emotion of their riveting television performances to these new audio productions.
In Helmet for My Pillow, Robert Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January 1942, shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. This riveting first-person account follows his odyssey from basic training on Parris Island, South Carolina, all the way to the raging battles in the Pacific, where some of the war's fiercest fighting took place. Recounting his service with the 1st Marine Division and the brutal action on Guadalcanal, New Britain, and Peleliu, Leckie spares no detail of the horrors and sacrifices of war, painting an unvarnished portrait of how real warriors are made, fight, and often die in the defense of their country.
From the live-for-today rowdiness of marines on leave to the terrors of jungle warfare against an enemy determined to fight to the last man, Leckie describes what war is really like when victory can only be measured inch by bloody inch. Woven throughout are Leckie's hard-won, eloquent, and thoroughly unsentimental meditations on the meaning of war and why we fight.
BONUS AUDIO: Tom Hanks, one of the executive producers, has written and narrated an original introduction to Helmet for My Pillow, where he describes his appreciation for the book's author, the narrators, and the soldiers who had fought in the cauldron of the Pacific Theater during World War II.
“Robert Leckie's unvarnished 1957 memoir paints a vivid picture of his experiences as a Marine on the frontlines of the Pacific Theater in WWII. Using the unadorned demeanor of a tough Marine, narrator James Badge Dale delivers Leckie's eloquent text with intensity and respect. He adopts a touch of humor when describing the occasional raucous camaraderie of the men but mostly employs a hard-boiled, sturdy veneer for Leckie's revealing and sometimes shocking narrative. Dale's unrelenting pronunciation of long "a"s (such as "a gun") is at first distracting but eventually comes to feel like the unyielding backbone of a young warrior facing the brutal action of battle. A brief introduction from Tom Hanks helps the listener anticipate the significance of this powerful American chronicle.” (AudioFile)
“Helmet for My Pillow is a grand and epic prose poem. Robert Leckie’s theme is the purely human experience of war in the Pacific, written in the graceful imagery of a human being who—somehow—survived.” (Tom Hanks)
“One hell of a book! The real stuff that proves the U.S. Marines are the greatest fighting men on earth!” (Leon Uris, author of Battle Cry)
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Engaging Account of the War in “The Pacific”
Great story, but a bit too poetic
It's a great story and the narration was super, the only complaint would be that Leckie is a bit too flowery with his language, but that isn't a reason not to listen. Leckie really gets you to feel how horrible war is in a way that makes you ashamed if you've never been there and somehow thought it would be cool or glorious.