Book review – A helmet for my pillow, Robert Leckie

I read and enjoy a wide range of fiction but rarely nonfiction and was recently compelled to read a war memoir, something I haven’t really read much of – here is my review from Goodreads.

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Years ago, a family friend told my parents that I would not like a certain movie because it was a ‘war movie’. Little did they know or understand that as war is part of the terrible human condition it’s one I find both fascinating and terrifying in equal measure and was driven to read some of the personal memoirs after watching the excellent HBO series ‘The Pacific’. I found here in the comfort of my home – at peace time and never been close to war – I never really knew or understood what the war in the Pacific entailed, aside from the Hollywood movies that so inspired Robert Leckie to write and ‘tell the story of how it really was’. Leckie’s personal narrative of life as a young enlisted marine is beautiful, eloquent and at times a humourous account of the horrors faced in the jungles by an enemy as equally dogged as those that opposed them. Starting in bootcamp in the USA, then on to the Solomon Islands and Guadacanal, Melbourne, New Guinea, Cape Gloucester, before he was wounded on the island of Peleliu, Leckie’s prose falls off the page with delightful ease. I found it difficult to put this book down – at times it was irreverent and made me laugh, at other times heartbreaking and full of the sorrows of war. If you have an interest in WW2 history or even in personal narratives of historical events I would thoroughly recommend this read.

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