With the Old Breed by E.B. Sledge

Reading this gut-wrenching memoir has definitely cured me of any desire to be a hero. E.B. Sledge writes graphically but unaffectedly of war and its horrors, and of the heroic young men who fought against the Japanese in the Second World War. The account is inspiring, of admiration if not exactly emulation. Particularly gruesome is reading about Sledge good-naturedly joking with a Marine buddy, then reading in a footnote that the buddy never made it back home. It’s hard to read a book like this and not come away feeling very small and unworthy, but I remain content to leave my manhood untested and unproven.

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