I searched for a long time after a very special book. I had heard about it before and I had seen the miniseries produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, but it was surprisingly hard to find! But when I finally did I let it lie by my bed for a very long time before I picked it up and started read. I am a fast reader when it comes to read Swedish books, but takes a little more time when I read English books. That’s why it took me a long time to really come deep enough into the story to really understand it and to really connect with the author and the main character.
It’s a very special story about a young man, Eugene. B. Sledge, who joins the Marine Corps during World War II. It’s more of a memoir than a novel, seen as it’s a true story written by E. B. Sledge himself. He tells the readers everything worth knowing about the war, he served with the 5th marines in the pacific, through the battle of Peleliu and Okinawa. He described every moment with so much details that it’s hard to believe that he wrote the book almost forty years after the war ended.
To read the book is to sit front row in Sledge’s head, to see everything he saw with his eyes, to smell the stank of rotting corps and to feel the fear of a possible death at any moment. It’s incredibly hard for me, a young woman who never have seen misery at the very finest, like in this book. It’s hard for me to imagine a place on earth so horrible and awful, as Peleliu and Okinawa was during World War II. So I thank Eugene. B. Sledge for giving me a chance to see and almost experience everything he went through when he was a marine. I thank him for telling me, and every reader who ever has held his book in their hands, about an experience that neither no man nor woman should ever go through. He fought through mud, fear and terrible circumstances and he did it because he had to. He never thought about the possibilities of surrender, he never gave up and he was confident that he, his mates and the Marine Corps could make it. And they did. That gives me great hope.