Helmet for My Pillow

Helmet for My Pillow

Robert Leckie / Oct 24, 2019

Helmet for My Pillow Here is one of the most riveting first person accounts ever to come out of World War II Robert Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January shortly after the Japanese attack on P

  • Title: Helmet for My Pillow
  • Author: Robert Leckie
  • ISBN: 9780553593310
  • Page: 255
  • Format: Paperback
  • Here is one of the most riveting first person accounts ever to come out of World War II Robert Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January 1942, shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor In Helmet for My Pillow we follow his odyssey, from basic training on Parris Island, South Carolina, all the way to the raging battles in the Pacific, where someHere is one of the most riveting first person accounts ever to come out of World War II Robert Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in January 1942, shortly after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor In Helmet for My Pillow we follow 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 Unparalleled in its immediacy and accuracy, Helmet for My Pillow will leave no reader untouched This is a book that brings you as close to the mud, the blood, and the experience of war as it is safe to come.Now producers Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, and Gary Goetzman, the men behind Band of Brothers, have adapted material from Helmet for My Pillow for HBO s epic miniseries The Pacific, which will thrill and edify a whole new generation.

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      Published :2018-09-02T22:15:55+00:00

    About "Robert Leckie"

      • Robert Leckie

        Leckie was born on December 18, 1920, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania He grew up in Rutherford, New Jersey He began his career as a writer in high school, as a sports writer for The Bergen Evening Record in Hackensack, New Jersey.On January 18, 1942, Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.He served in combat in the Pacific theater, as a scout and a machine gunner in H Company, 2nd Battalion 1st Marines Regiment 1st Marine Division United States Leckie saw combat in the Battle of Guadalcanal, the Battle of Cape Gloucester, and had been wounded by blast concussion in the Battle of Peleliu He returned to the United States in March 1945 and was honorably discharged shortly thereafter.Following World War II, Leckie worked as a reporter for the Associated Press, the Buffalo Courier Express , the New York Journal American , the New York Daily News and The Star Ledger He married Vera Keller, a childhood neighbor, and they had three children David, Geoff and Joan According to Vera, in 1951 he was inspired to write a memoir after seeing South Pacific on Broadway and walking out halfway through He said I have to tell the story of how it really was I have to let people know the war wasn t a musical His first and best selling book, Helmet for My Pillow , a war memoir, was published in 1957 Leckie subsequently wrote than 40 books on American war history, spanning from the French and Indian War 1754 1763 to Operation Desert Storm 1991 Robert Leckie died on December 24, 2001, after fighting a long battle with Alzheimer s Disease.


    1. The Pacific Theatre in World War II is not as well known to armchair historians for a number of reasons, among them the much larger collection of works about the war in Europe. Toss in the non-linear aspect of campaigns, which hopped from obscure island to island. On top of that, the brutality of the fighting and the racial/racist dynamic of fighting the Japanese versus Germans who looked just like Uncle Joe make the Pacific War a dark, dark topic.I came across Leckie's book by virtue of watchin [...]

    2. Helmet for my Pillow is quite unlike other biographical accounts of war that I have read. It does not delve into the technical nor does it have the staccato-like narration I usually relate with history, specially war. In using nicknames instead of military rankings the author reminds readers that they who fought bravely were just ordinary men. By chronicling their escapades on the islands and in Australia he showed that their needs did not differ from other men who are not at war.Robert Leckie [...]

    3. After reading Eugene Sledge's book on his experiences in WWII, I finally picked up Robert Leckie's book as well, these two were a majority of the basis used for the Pacific series that was on HBO several years go. I have read several of Leckie's other military histories and already enjoyed his writing. Here, Leckie was writing a first person narrative that truly portrayed the dogie dog days being a Marine in the jungles of the Pacific, fighting, clawing and, surviving each day. His narrative and [...]

    4. If you watched all ten episodes of HBO’s 2010 special, “The Pacific,” you’re most likely already aware that Robert Leckie’s journal, “Helmet for my Pillow” was one of three soldier memoirs Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and the other producers used to create that epic miniseries. Chuck Tatum’s “Red Blood, Black Sand” and Eugene Sledge’s “With the Old Breed,” were the other two, both of which I’ve personally read and reviewed here previously.If you saw “The Pacific,” [...]

    5. Wish I'd read this earlier - many, many years ago. It's a wonderful book about one individual Marine's (rifleman's) experience in WWII. The entire book is worthwhile, but I found I was particularly fascinated and enamored by the lengthy passage recalling the Marines' extraordinary efforts during the Guadalcanal campaign. Great stuff!OK, OK, it's not light reading, and it's a WWII memoir - it's brutal and sad and graphic and poignant and, all too often, frightening and depressing. My guess is the [...]

    6. I recently read the analog to this book, "With the Old Breed" by Eugene Sledge, about many of the same Marine engagements in the South Pacific during WWII. I thought "HFMP" would be a rehash of the same, but its told by a different kind of writer: While Sledge is thoughtful, simple in his prose, and sees most things through a moral lens, Robert Leckie is profane, writes brilliantly, and celebrates situational morality: he and his fellow jarheads carouse callously in Melbourne; steal from each ot [...]

    7. A very interesting book about someone who wouldn't be considered a "model" soldier. He signed up for the marines after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and began combat in the Pacific theater. From the beginning in boot camp you can tell he has a penchant for trouble, but this is the kind of guy who wants to get into trouble -- he's just a boundary tester.He doesn't discuss World War II in great depth, almost as if he doesn't want you to know the worst details. He rarely mentions names and uses nickn [...]

    8. I down loaded this as an audio book so that I could learn more about some of the infantry battles on Guadalcanal and some of the other islands. I wanted to hear/read some more first had accounts from members of the front line rifle companies. Other than a fine account of the battle of the Teneru on Guadalcanal, I really didn't get what I expected. The details of the battle are a little more sparse. What I did learn about was Leckie's experience as a private. I thought after what these boys had b [...]

    9. Okay, I'll admit it - I first heard of Robert Leckie and his 1957 memoir Helmet for My Pillow when I watched HBO's The Pacific. After watching the excellent adaptation, I sought out the original, and am glad I did. Leckie's original description of what he and so many other World War II Marines went through was well worth reading.Leckie starts out, as you'd guess from the memoirs subtitle "From Parris Island to the Pacific", describing his enlistment and his training in boot camp at Parris Island [...]

    10. I thought Robert Leckie was brave to recall his story when committing it to print. I'm sure the memories must have haunted him terribly. Collecting war souvenirs from fallen enemies gold teeth pulled from mouths of dead men, wading through swampy waters with gun between teeth, to keep it dry . in search of trophy weapons Never minding the dangerous alligator infested waters hungry a salt sandwich was "good eating" faking illness to stay in a mental ward and keep from having to go back to fig [...]

    11. Robert Leckie is one of America’s premier military historians, having penned seventeen accounts of US involvement in wars ranging from the French and Indian War to the Civil War to the Korean War. This book is a memoir of his time in the Marines during World War II: from joining the Corps after witnessing the bombing of Pearl Harbor, to his training in Parris Island, to his time fighting in the Pacific in the battles at Guadalcanal, New Britain, and Peleliu. Leckie doesn’t set out to glorify [...]

    12. Helmet for my pillowRobert Leckie Robert Leckie, Chuckler, Runner, Lt. Ivy- League, Sergeant Dandy, Red, General Smedley Butler, Big Ski,Lieutenant Racehores, The Chicken, Hope, Mr. Five by Five, Oakstump, The Commander, Father Straight, Buri, Colonel, Lieutenant Big-Picture, Sergeant Major, The story is about a man named Robert Leckie who fought in World War Two as us marine in the pacific and the battles he served in is the first battle of Guadalcanal and the last Peleliu.Robert Leckie has joi [...]

    13. This is one of the books on which Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks based their miniseries The Pacific. I have already read Eugene Sledge’s With the Old Breed. It is equally as riveting, but the style and content are vastly different. Robert Leckie is a joker and a ratbag. He draws elaborate recollections of events, often where he himself temps trouble, or instigates pranks and evasive operations. Being a journalist, he has a colourful vocabulary and a sharp wit. He gives affectionate nicknames t [...]

    14. This book is actually more memoir than a history. Mr. Leckie has written some of my favorite histories, especially military history. He served during WWII.From his entry into the service through each deploymentd leave you get the stories of his life. The book doesn't emphasize military actions (though they are described) but on his day to day life. Living and waiting on Guadalcanal and later deployments along with "more scintillating activities" between deployments.This is a good insight into th [...]

    15. A great book that brings the reader into the world of war. It gives one a nose to nose meeting with the most difficult decisions a person will ever have to make, to kill or die. It has been said that if a person fails to study history they are doomed to repeat it. This book gives a great insight into the innocent people that go to war, and what they must endure it. This book was used as part of The Pacific mini series, and the Band of Brothers. A must read, no fiction here, just reality.

    16. I read this book as a result of watching the HBO series "Pacific". The author of this book wrote movingly and poetically of his experiences as a combatant in the Pacific campaign. Good read, but it takes time to absorb what the author writes. I didn't sit down and read it cover to cover in one sitting.

    17. Helmet for My Pillow is distinguished by its' humor. Like Sam Watkins, Leckie has an eye for the goofy and the sardonic. Leckie was a good soldier, but he was not made for a life of discipline. He was not a warrior like Junger or Ninh. He was a survivor. The idea that "war is hell" is less strong here. Oh, it has moments of horror and cruelty and bloodthirsty excitement, but not with the same intensity. For that reason it is an easier read, but also unusual. Leckie is at his best describing the [...]

    18. HBO's epic series "The Pacific" took it's inspiration from the lives of three men, John Basilone, Eugene Sledge and Bob Leckie. Basilone died in action on Iwo Jima but Sledge and Leckie both survived the war to record their experiences on paper and it's interesting to compare Sledge's "With the Old Breed" with this, Leckie's memoir. The former is very rough round the edges, naive and quite intimate but is considered by some to be the better of the two. By contrast, Helmet has clearly been writte [...]

    19. Robert Leckie wrote this book over 40 years ago. I was inspired to read it after watching the fine HBO series "The Pacific." I have read a lot of military history over the years. Much of this genre addresses individual battles, tactics, political and military strategies, and the broad brush roles of leaders such as generals and leaders of countries, but very, very few of them give firsthand accounts of what it meant to be in the marines, in the infantry, during those dark days of land engagement [...]

    20. Helmet for my pillow is an excellent historical and personal account of the pacific theater in World War 2. The author Robert Leckie writes his own account and experiences as a Marine in the war. This book has the personal aspect of the war that you just cant understand from a text book or historic study. It shows what the war was truly like for the men who fought it and gives you a new understanding and appreciation for what the people involved went through.Quotes“I stood among the heaps of d [...]

    21. This book combines the raw grittiness of war as experienced up close and personal with the introspection of a man who doesn't simply experience the war, but tries to understand it.This book definitely changed my understanding of WWII. I no longer believe that the US was patriotically united as one, moving in joyous lockstep towards victory. This is partially because Leckie returns repeatedly to the theme that the war inspired no songs from Americans. The songs Leckie and his comrades sang were b [...]

    22. To me the purpose of this book was to tell of the war in the Pacific to Guadalcanal from the perspective of Robert Leckie. In this book the author tells of his days as a Marine, and during his life as a Marine he witnessed first hand what happened in those brutal days on Guadalcanal. The theme of this book I would have to say is courage and friendship. The courage for doing what is right and fighting for our country and the friendship for those who you are fighting with and fighting for back hom [...]

    23. My interest in the Pacific theater of World War II was heightened after the premier of HBO's miniseries "The Pacific." This book makes up a good portion of that series as Robert Leckie, the author of this work, is one of the three main characters of that series. Having read his war memoir now, I have to say it's pretty good, but can be a little wordy. Unblike other war narratives, Mr. Leckie doesn't avoid the boring or unflattering times he spent in the Marine Corps. Much of the narrative involv [...]

    24. This is very packed with information about a solders life besides fighting. I defiantly learned a lot from this book and I consider it much different from other war books. There was some great thing about it and also some thing I didn’t like. This book was about a solders life at war. The main charters name war names is lucky and this stories is his adventures in the book. He meets a lot of friends and gets in a lot of trouble with the MP all the time. I was thinking of more of a war combat an [...]

    25. In January 1942, in the aftermath of the infamous Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. From boot camp in Parris Island to the bloody war in the Pacific, Robert Leckie experienced it all - the booze, the brawling, the loving on sixty-two-hour liberty; the courageous fighting and dying in combat as the U.S. Marines slugged it out, inch by inch, island by island across the Pacific to the shores of JapanThe author signs up for the Marine Corps the [...]

    26. A solid memoir. Leckie describes his experience from the time he decided to enlist in the Marine Corps just after Pearl Harbor to the end of the war. During that time he fought in the battles of Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, and Peleliu, in the last of which he was badly enough wounded that he spent the rest of the war in a hospital.Writing in a flamboyant style, Leckie is unsparing of himself and others in his account; he fought well, but he was a disciplinary problem and had real trouble deali [...]

    27. Only about two years ago I would've never thought I would read this book. It wouldn't even have appeared on my radar of possible reads. But taking a class on War & Film I inevitably watched Steven Spielberg's The Pacific, the follow-up to Band of Brothers, telling not the story of the fight against the Germans, but that against the Japanese. Based on Robert Leckie and Eugene B Sledge's memoirs, with both taking central roles in the series, I felt obliged to go back to the source material and [...]

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