Hero of the Pacific: The Life of Legendary Marine John Basilone
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 7 Jan 2015
WW2 produced a great number of larger-than-life heroes whose exploits grew grander and more mythical as time went on. John Basilone was one of them, having been awarded the Medal of Honor for manning a machine gun position that killed many advancing Japanese and then risked his own life to bring forward heavy belts of machine gun ammunition. Author James Brady, in Hero of the Pacific, looked at Basilone's life and studied the many different, sometimes conflicting and sometimes even outrageous, variations of his story. Concluding early on that Basilone was doubtlessly a courageous Marine, Brady also pointed out some of the heroic deeds attributed to Basilone as either doubtful or outright fantastic. At times the author appeared to be nitpicking, but ultimately he successfully painted a picture of Basilone that was perhaps closer to the truth and definitely much less romanticized. Beyond the research, his interviews with those who had met Basilone really added to this book as well.
I had reviewed this title in its audio book format. Grover Gardner did a good job reading the text, the voice used in the narration gave me a feeling that it matched the author's words well.
Hero of the Pacific taught me quite a bit about Basilone, both as a Marine and as the mythical figure. Brady's writing style and approach could be a little different at times, but I found the information offered in the book to make it worthwhile.
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