With the Jocks and Goodbye Darkness

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by Virgil, Feb 7, 2008.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Doing a few WWII memoirs. Just finished "With the Old Breed" by EB Sledge (great name for a Marine). He volunteered for the USMC in '44 out of an officer's candidate program since he thought it would take too long. He received a PhD, became a biology professor and wrote this in his later years.

    Straightforward and often horrific memoir of his time on Peleliu and Okinawa. Very simply a view of war from an infantryman's point of view. There's almost no discussion of the bigger picture, simply what's going on withing fifty meters in front of and on both sides of him.

    Picked up 'With the Jocks' and 'Goodbye Darkness'--the later I've seen all over but never read though I remember reading his MacArthur bio years ago, the first not as common here in the U.S. I think.

    Great reviews for both everywhere; any opinions from any who've read them?
  2. I have seen Sledge Hammer in a few documentaries about the WW2 Pacific Campaign, he seems a great character. The other two were written by George McDonald Fraser (he died recently I think). He also wrote a good book called Safely Quartered Out Here (or similar), which is about his time with the KORBR in Burma. It is very good and if you haven't already done so I would reccomend it.
  3. The book by George Macdonald Fraser is "Quartered Safe Out Here"; like "With the Jocks" it's excellent. Both are well worth reading.
  4. With the Jocks was written by Peter White and is an excellent account of his wartime service in a KOSB Battalion in WW2 as they fought through North West Europe.

    Any book by George MacDonald Fraser is an worthwhile read (he did indeed die last year), although most are fiction or semi-fiction. Quartered Safe Out Here is a non-fictional account of his service with KORBR in 14th Army prior to being commissioned into the Gordon Highlanders.
  5. I got 'With the Jocks' as a Christmas pressie a few years ago - very good account and very poignant when he describes his men (and draws them) in such detail - you feel a personal loss when they are reported as casualties later on in the book.
  6. Found an interview with Sledge.

    You can still hear the bitterness and hate for the Japanese in his voice--if you can get through the Alabama accent.

  7. Goodbye Darkness is quite an odd book-part wartime memoir, part history of the Pacific War, part Manchester's own journey across the Pacific in the late 1970s. It is a bit out of chronological order and can be hard to follow sometimes. Very well written though. Manchester is at his best in the wartime bit, describing the antics of him and his section (like him mostly OCS rejects), his desperate attempts to get laid before they ship out, their bizarre sergeant major, and eventually the fighting on Okinawa. I definitely recommend it.
  8. William Manchester’s Goodbye Darkness is an excellent read, really three books in one.

    He gives a good overview of the Pacific War from Pearl Harbour and the fall of the Philippines through Guadacanal, Tarawa, the Marianas, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

    Interspaced with this is his own personal recollections as USMC Sgt at Okinawa.

    The third interspaced section is his pilgrimage to all the battle sites and recollections on them as a middle aged man.