Posts Tagged ‘Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific Review.’

Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific Review.

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific. Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific

Product: Islands of the Damned: A Marine at War in the Pacific Review.

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An unvarnished and moving memoir of a Marine veteran who fought his way across the Pacific Theater of World War II-whose story is featured in the upcoming HBO(r) series The Pacific

This is an eyewitness-and eye-opening-account of some of the most savage and brutal fighting in the war against Japan, told from the perspective of a young Texan who volunteered for the Marine Corps to escape a life as a traveling salesman. R.V. Burgin enlisted at the age of twenty, and with his sharp intelligence and earnest work ethic, climbed the ranks from a green private to a seasoned sergeant. Along the way, he shouldered a rifle as a member of a mortar squad. He saw friends die-and enemies killed. He saw scenes he wanted to forget but never did-from enemy snipers who tied themselves to branches in the highest trees, to ambushes along narrow jungle trails, to the abandoned corpses of hara kiri victims, to the final howling banzai attacks as the Japanese embraced their inevitable defeat.

An unforgettable narrative of a young Marine in combat, Islands of the Damned brings to life the hell that was the Pacific War.

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #1166 in Books
  • Published on: 2010-03-02
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 304 pages


  • ISBN13: 9780451229908
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

the last of the authentic voices5
R. V. Burgin is in the last wave of World War II memoirists, and just in time. For 35 years, he says, he never talked about the war. It was only recently, in part driven by his involvement with HBO’s dramatic miniseries “The Pacific,” which covers the campaigns he fought in, that he and other veterans felt comfortable opening up. This plainspoken, humble personal account is among the results. It is a valuable first-person narrative and belongs in any history reader’s library.

Burgin doesn’t opine about grand strategy or second-guess commanders. He focuses on what he knew: life as a grunt in a 60mm mortar platoon that saw some of the worst fighting of the war, from Cape Gloucester to Peleliu to Okinawa. The perspective is immediate: “We were fighting uphill now, advancing in a wide arc through the jungle. It was raining, always raining. Every stream was swollen and the ground was gumbo. Moving forward was like trying to walk through oatmeal. I was still carrying around that mortar base plate, but we couldn’t use it much because of the trees, so 90 percent of the time I took my place up front with the riflemen.” Every Marine is a rifleman, including the mortarmen.

Burgin wasn’t spared anything, and doesn’t spare anything in this touching book. Read it during the week, and immerse yourself in HBO’s miniseries on Sunday nights. You’ll learn something important about the humble men who won the War in the Pacific.

I was so lucky to to able to pick up aa advanced copy of ISLANDS OF THE DAMNED by R. V. Burin. What a book! It is easy to see why HBO would use it. This is another first hand account of the Pacific Theatre in WWII but don’t just throw it in the pile, it is better than that. Now, I don’t mean to knock the great WWII memoirs out there, check my reviews, I am a big fan. This is just to say Burgin has put together an exceptional book,filled with the human emotions that make war so insane but interesting. We watch him mature and rise in the ranks but more that rank into a tough seasoned Marine. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED whether you are a history buff, a Marine fan like me or just a reader. Go get this book.

Well worth reading4
It was a real pleasure to find another first person account of the Pacific war. As mentioned in other reviews, books like this are far and few between. Especially, since our World War Two veterans are passing away far too quickly.

This book was easy to read, flows very nicely, and isn’t burdened by large amounts of historical data. It’s personal account from the ground by a Marine who was really there. It does however, put into place the importance of the battles the author fought in.

In particular, I enjoyed the descriptions of living and fighting on the South Pacific islands. The book also contains the only example of a man using a bayonet in combat on any book I’ve ever read. Most importantly I think the book puts in perspective ghastly nature of the war in the Pacific, in particular the cave-to-cave fighting common among the campaigns.

Ironically, one of the major themes of the book is a love story. While I don’t normally seek out this type of theme in a history book (or any other book for that matter), the author does a fine job of making his place in history far more personal by doing so. The best part is, it only amplifies this situation, without it distracting from the historical narration.

This book makes for an excellent companion to the classic With the Old Breed by EB Sledge. If you enjoyed this book you would this book and Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie…books I understand the mini-series The Pacific are heavily based on.