Free Essay on "With the Old Breed" Book Report

Published: 2022-11-01
Free Essay on "With the Old Breed" Book Report
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  World War 2 War American literature
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 896 words
8 min read

How did Sledge's experience in combat change his view of the Japanese soldiers he was fighting?

When Caswell suggested of getting unwanted 'germs' from the corpse, he did not mean real germs, but Sledge had to relate the status to avoiding instances of being callous and harsh at the same time. He believes Caswell as he was not yet crushed out by the war hence, could probably want him to maintain his sensitivity as well. Sledge realizes the impacts of war on humankind, especially the occurrences relating to the extraction of gold teeth from the Japanese dead. He discovers how the troops cut down their youthful years and also describes how war tends to disrupt the people who serve, regardless of whether they survive the battle or finally die. He also finds out that most of the men were heartless towards the sight of the dead bodies. He relates the looting of the various corpses for their valuables to the distortion of one's mind, especially after a period of violence. Sledge also later realizes that politicians are no good when it comes to war and is irritated of their support for the conflict. He only praises 'the old breed' who included officers like Captain Haldane, people of virtue, who used to teach others on how they could retain their humanity regardless of their present situations. Not only did these happenings happen to the dead, but he also points an instance when the same acts were done to a live soldier. He realized that a marine could drift in after engaging to take some 'spoils' as he calls them. However, Sledge could realize the wrong act and him, alongside his accomplices could condemn the extreme act, letting another marine run over and shoot the live Japanese soldier. Sledge discovers as he digs through the corpse, after which he was ordered to continue digging until he could be relieved of the task. He finds fat blow flies feasting on corpses of Japanese soldiers and feels that it was not right, especially to them as the losers. Sledge also becomes interested in extracting gold teeth from the dead soldiers with the intent of making his father, who was a doctor, happy.

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Sledge feels that most historians tend to miss in their chronicling in time of combat. He gets a taste of combat when he feels the sensation of maggot-filled, waterlogged foxholes, and the noises of the sirens. Through these, he finds beauty in the natural landscape and the impacts of nature to the parties hence; goes on to pursue a doctorate in biology. His love for biology lets him get noted for his expertise in some of the disciplines including conservation biology. He also commends military valor and also decries the waste, which is war. Additionally, the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki lets Japan surrender unconditionally. Sledge finds the failure as a resultant factor of having triumphant troops who do not get fully equipped with reinforcements and knowledge when at their periods of rest. He curses other people for their discrepancies between humanity and committed actions.

What effect did Sledge's experience fighting in the Pacific have on him when he returned from the war?

Through his cathartic event of writing, Sledge deals with his unresolved issues and also hopes to assist other veterans who suffer similarly the way he could. Sledge's experience fighting in the Pacific lets him exhibit various traits including bravery and fear, triumph and loss. He comes to record the demanding physical details of the job he did, and also checks on the psychological issues related to warfare. Sledge realizes that warfare tends to impart morality and the relationship between man and the natural world when he relates war to human nature and physical nature.

Fighting in the Pacific prompted him a feeling of uneasiness even for later wars. He could feel that the war might end even before he got overseas into combat. It was this feeling that led him to join the Marines for war. The feeling described as 'esprit de corps' let him realize that he was soft on other people. Other marines would negotiate on his behalf when he was referred to as a soldier yet he was a marine. He did not see any insults in being referred to as a soldier as his troop members would. Sledge also learns on how to take his 'spoils' by working with his KABAR knife. He tries to learn that defense was the priority for most of the soldiers but still gets a hand from behind, with Doc Caswell looking at him with a sad but reproach face, pulling him back to his senses and stopping him of his intended actions.

Are people more aware of the effects of war on soldiers now?

Yes, people are aware of the effects of war on soldiers. As described by Sledge, there are various physical and mental challenges of combat associated with troops. These challenges are yet complicated by the refugees of the land, their fortifications, as well as their defense to death. For instance, some soldiers become triumphant and return to rest where they are reequipped and receive under-trained reinforcements that could not be of any help at the wars. This is what describes the failure of Japan in the war.


Sledge, E. B. With the Old Breed. London: Ebury, 2011.

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