Hero of the Pacific: The Life of Marine Legend John Basilone

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9780470379417: Hero of the Pacific: The Life of Marine Legend John Basilone

John Basilone was a Marine legend who received the Medal of Honor for holding off 3,000 Japanese on Guadalcanal and the Navy Cross posthumously for his bravery on Iwo Jima.

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From New York Times bestselling author James Brady—the story of Marine legend John Basilone, one of three main characters in HBO's The Pacific

Hero of the Pacific tells the dramatic, compelling, and all-but-forgotten life story of a small-town boy who became one of World War II?s greatest and best-known heroes. His bravery on Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima earned him the Medal of Honor and Navy Cross, respectively. Once you read this powerful tale, you?ll never forget John Basilone.

  • Profiles one of three main characters in HBO's The Pacific, the sequel scheduled for March 2010 to the incredibly popular 2001 mini-series Band of Brothers
  • Sorts through the differing accounts of Basilone's life and exploits, including what he did on Iwo Jima and how he died
  • The final book by James Brady, the Korean War veteran and well-known columnist and author of books that include Why Marines Fight and his memoir, The Coldest War, a Pulitzer Prize finalist

An incredible story masterfully told, Hero of the Pacific will appeal to anyone with an interest in World War II and military history as well as fans of HBO's The Pacific.

Amazon Exclusive: Q&A with Author James Brady’s Daughters


Photo of the late James Brady, courtesy of the author's family

The late James Brady commanded a Marine Corps rifle platoon during the Korean War and was awarded a Bronze Star for valor. For more than two decades, he wrote the "In Step With" column for Parade magazine. He authored eighteen books, among them several on the Marines, and was a New York Times bestselling author.

Read the Amazon-exclusive interview with Brady’s daughters, Susan Konig and Fiona Brady.

Why do you think your father chose to focus on John Basilone for this most recent book? What sets Basilone’s story apart from the thousands of other Marines who fought in WWII?

Our Dad understood first hand how the Marine Corps can shape a person’s character. In this book he explored the question, “can a single night define a man’s life?” John Basilone was an everyman from humble beginnings who found himself in the midst of extraordinary circumstances during World War II. His courageous actions earned him the Congressional Medal of Honor, and also—for a short but intense period—resulted in an uncommon degree of public attention and adulation. He wasn’t a poster boy by any means, but a rough and tumble character who became an American idol when the nation was sorely in need of heroes and daring deeds. Our Dad knew that the idea of a regular guy being called upon to do extraordinary things always makes a good story.

Since WWII, there’s been some controversy surrounding Basilone’s legacy as a war hero. How does the book deal with this?

Famous inaccuracies grew up around John Basilone’s legacy, even as he was fading from national memory, except among the Marines and in his hometown of Raritan, New Jersey. Our Dad was a seasoned writer and reporter with nearly seven decades of experience to call on as he tracked down sources who had known John Basilone—people he grew up with or fought along side. He investigated historical documentation, discovered errors, sorted out truth from hyperbole, and ultimately had to make his own determination about Basilone and what happened at Guadalcanal and on Iwo Jima.

Basilone is one of the soldiers profiled in HBO’s new series The Pacific. Why do you think Basilone was chosen as one of the main characters for the show?

John Basilone is a compelling figure, a tragic hero in some ways because of his ultimate fate. There were many young men of valor on the battlefields of the Pacific, but how many of them came home, were paraded around associating with Hollywood stars, and then chose to return to the islands of the Pacific to battle alongside their men?

If it weren’t true, it would make a great story. The fact that it really happened makes readers sit up and take notice. There is also the underlying recognition that our young men and women serving in the United States military right now face these kinds of challenges and defining moments on a daily basis.

Sadly, your father passed away just after completing the manuscript for this book. What do you think he would have thought about all of the attention Basilone is now receiving?

He would have been proud to know that a new generation is learning about a great American hero.

From the Inside Flap:

The Pacific island of Guadalcanal was a terrible place to fight a war. Although heaven for mosquitoes, malaria, and infections of all kinds, it combined hellish equatorial temperatures with heavy rains and dense jungle. Yet it was here that a shoeless, shirtless, mud-streaked Marine gunnery sergeant known to his buddies as "ManilaJohn" first displayed the courage, tenacity, and devotion to duty that would define the remainder of his brief life and the manner of his death two years later on another island, Iwo Jima.

In Hero of the Pacific, the late columnist, best selling author, and Marine James Brady examines the life and death of a man who, though now all but forgotten, was one of World War II's most celebrated figures. Medal of Honor winner John Basilone willingly and repeatedly put himself in unthinkable danger to repel a prolonged and determined Japanese attack, reluctantly became a national celebrity and a leading salesman in America's "buy bonds" campaign, then begged his superiors to return him to active duty.

Brady provides a taut and thrilling account of Manila John's extraordinary heroism as more than 3,000 crack Japanese troops stormed his machine-gun positions in a relentless overnight battle in October 1942. He reveals Basilone in action,calmly repairing a jammed machine gun, even as the enemy rushed at him; abandoning the relative safety of the foxhole amid a hail of grenades and mortar shells to replenish diminishing ammo and water supplies; fighting at close quarters with the few attackers who survived his team's withering fire; and more.

If Manila John's sheer courage and stubborn refusalto succumb to exhaustion were on full display at Guadalcanal, his tactical shrewdness and coolness under fire came to the fore on Iwo Jima's Red Beach 2. Brady's account of Basilone's last few hours on earth is among the most awe-inspiring tales of real-life heroism you will ever read.

This powerful biography includes revealing stories of Basilone's youth in the Rockwellian any-town of Raritan, New Jersey, in the 1920s and 1930s; his first cross-country railroad trip with fellow soldiers in 1935; and his decisions to leave the Army and, later, join the Marines.

Brady explains the machine gunner's sly grinwhen legendary Marine commander Chesty Puller threatened to charge him with desertion. He cuts through the amateurish and exaggerated tales of earlier biographers to provide a gripping account of Manila John's extraordinary heroism—the actions that led Puller, just a few days after the"desertion" comment, to recommend Basilone for the Medal of Honor.

Complete with the definitive account of Basilone's death on the World War II island of Iwo Jima, and the actions for which he was post humously awarded the Navy Cross, Hero of the Pacific revives and honors the memory of one of the most unusual and compelling figures of America's greatest war.

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Book Description Turner Publishing Company, United Kingdom, 2010. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. From New York Times bestselling author James Brady-the story of Marine legend John Basilone, one of three main characters in HBO s The PacificGunnery Sergeant John Basilone was a Marine legend who received the Medal of Honor for holding off 3,000 Japanese on Guadalcanal and the Navy Cross posthumously for his bravery on Iwo Jima. This is the story of how a young man from Raritan, New Jersey, became one of America s biggest World War II heroes.Profiles one of three main characters in HBO s The Pacific, the successful sequel to the popular mini-series Band of Brothers A carefully reported, briskly written book . . . that could go a long way toward correcting . . . historical oversight. -The Los Angeles TimesSorts through the differing accounts of Basilone s life and exploits, including what he did on Iwo Jima and how he diedThe final book by James Brady, the Korean War veteran and well-known columnist and author of books that include Why Marines Fight and an autobiography, The Coldest War, a Pulitzer Prize finalist An incredible story masterfully told, Hero of the Pacific will appeal to anyone with an interest in World War II and military history as well as fans of HBO s The Pacific. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780470379417

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Book Description Turner Publishing Company, United Kingdom, 2010. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. From New York Times bestselling author James Brady-the story of Marine legend John Basilone, one of three main characters in HBO s The PacificGunnery Sergeant John Basilone was a Marine legend who received the Medal of Honor for holding off 3,000 Japanese on Guadalcanal and the Navy Cross posthumously for his bravery on Iwo Jima. This is the story of how a young man from Raritan, New Jersey, became one of America s biggest World War II heroes.Profiles one of three main characters in HBO s The Pacific, the successful sequel to the popular mini-series Band of Brothers A carefully reported, briskly written book . . . that could go a long way toward correcting . . . historical oversight. -The Los Angeles TimesSorts through the differing accounts of Basilone s life and exploits, including what he did on Iwo Jima and how he diedThe final book by James Brady, the Korean War veteran and well-known columnist and author of books that include Why Marines Fight and an autobiography, The Coldest War, a Pulitzer Prize finalist An incredible story masterfully told, Hero of the Pacific will appeal to anyone with an interest in World War II and military history as well as fans of HBO s The Pacific. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9780470379417

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