Wake Island had fallen and America was still reeling from the tragedy of Pearl Harbor.
This vivid and personal account of one marine’s journey through the course of the war in the Pacific in World War Two.
Leckie provides vivid, and at times humorous, details of his training in South Carolina, through to being assigned to first terrifying duties as a fighting marine.
He was thrust into the heat of battle at Guadalcanal before seeing action across many islands of the Pacific until he was eventually wounded and evacuated from the island of Peleliu.
Yet this fascinating autobiography is not simply about Leckie’s fighting life over the duration of the war as it also records the camaraderie of his fellow soldiers, the adventures that he enjoyed during his time off service in Melbourne, Australia, along with the day to day life of a normal marine.
“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
This work is essential reading for anyone interested in uncovering the voice of a true marine who saw some of the bloodiest battles of World War Two.
Along with E. B. Sledge’s With the Old Breed: At Peleiu and Okinawa this book formed the basis for the HBO miniseries The Pacific.
Robert Leckie was an American author and historian. His service with the 1st Marine Division in World War Two as a machine gunner and a scout greatly influenced his later work. Helmet for my Pillow was first published in 1957 and Leckie passed away in 2001.