Saturday, August 31, 2013

Helmet for My PillowHelmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I would like to find an anthology of Robert Leckie's works.

His transition has to be the best I can remember in a long time, and it is a terrific mix with his narrative descriptive skills. His pages flow like a raging torrent so quickly it is easy to forget other things while reading Helmet for my Pillow.

It is unfortunate that one cannot get any of his newspaper-bound stories in the Associated Press website archives. I would like to know more about his writing processes, too.

Leckie was already a newspaper reporter before he went off to war, working for the Bergen Record in New Jersey. Later, he wrote for AP, and turned out several books. He wrote one about football, which I believe I might have read when I was a pre-teenager.

His work is of grim times, literally dodging bullets and death in the Pacific war against the Japanese. His accounts make me understand that he might have been either emotionally drained after writing this, or relieved as few other war veterans are.

The chapter about his time as a brig rat, and another when he spent some time in the "P-38 ward" on Pavuvu were very interesting by themselves and lent great variety to the book. His writing on the marines' leave time in Melbourne is another potential separate study, too.

I got my copy coming back through the airport in San Francisco, and I almost hated to finish it both because it was so very well written, and finishing it signaled the end of summer. The only flaw I could find was his tendency to use the kind of words that might leave you looking for a dictionary, but that was not abnormal in the time he came along.

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