Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War by William Manchester

Blood That Never Dried

For the first time in trade paperback, the book in which one of the most celebrated biographer/historians of our time looks back at his own early life and gives us a remarkable account of World War II in the Pac ific, of what it looked like, sounded like, smelled like, and, most of all, what it felt like to one who underwent all but the ultimate of its experiences. Back Bay takes pride in making William Manchesters intense, stirring, and impassioned memoir available to a new generation of readers. Features: * Click here to view our Condition Guide and Shipping Prices The author begins by quoting Churchill: " War, which was cruel and glorious, has become cruel and sordid. " Here's an instance of what The Marines were told before hitting a beach: " Saipan is covered with dense jungles, quicksand, steep hills and cliffs hiding batteries of huge coastal guns and strongholds of reinforced concrete. Insects bear lethal poisons. Crocodiles and snakes infest the streams. The waters around it are thick with sharks. The population will be hostile to us." There was a long silence. Then a corporal said, " Sarge, why don't we just let the Japs keep it? " Welcome to the world of young William Manchester. Then, nearly 30 years after WW2 ended, Manchester starts a pilgrimage through the islands in The Pacific where he also fought as a sargeant, leading " The Raggedy Ass Marines". A group of oddballs, most of them in college when the war broke out. His purpose? To pay respect to them and and to exorcise his demons.

As he prays when revisiting Sugar Loaf Hill in Okinawa: " Sacred heart of the crucified Jesus, take away this murdering rage- "

Goodbye Darkness is an outstanding narrative, with an unbelievable but true cast of characters: MacArthur, an egomaniac who blundered and let his air force be destroyed on the ground-- 9 hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor--then proved to be the greatest military genius, inflicting casualties on a fanatical and well-trained enemy at a ratio of 30 to one throughout the rest of the war. Unparalleled in history. Jacob Vouza, native of Guadalcanal who, prior to Pearl Harbor had never heard of Japan or The United States. Joining the fight he volunteers to engage in reconnaissance against the Japanese invaders. He was captured, but he wouldn't break. So they tied him to a tree, bayoneted him in the chest and throat seven times and left him for dead. Vouza bit through the ropes, and crawled three miles back to the American lines on hands and knees. He refused medical treatment until he reported all he had seen. He survived and was made Sgt.Major in the USMC and awarded a silver star.

By far the most interesting witness is Manchester himself, who went through hell from Guadalcanal to Okinawa where he finally got his 'million dollar wound.' He was taken to the rear. Then in the hospital he learns that there's going to be an amphibious assault. behind Japanese lines. So he gets up from his bunk, goes AW OL, and rejoins what's left of The Raggedy Ass Marines for an assault which sounds like certain death. If you've ever read any first rate account of war, you won't be surprised at his reason for doing so: " It was an act of love. Those men on the hill were my family . . .Men, I now know, do not fight for flag and country . . .they fight for one another. Any man in combat who lacks comrades who will die for him, or for whom he is willing to die . . .is truly damned. " A great read.

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