#1 New York Times Bestseller: A “superb” eyewitness account of one of the bloodiest and most pivotal battles of World War II (Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down).
On August 7, 1942, eleven thousand US Marines landed on Tulagi and Guadalcanal Islands in the South Pacific. It was the first major Allied offensive against Japanese forces; the first time in history that a combined air, land, and sea assault had ever been attempted; and, after six months of vicious fighting, a crushing defeat for the Empire of Japan and a major turning point in the Pacific War.
Volunteer combat correspondent Richard Tregaskis was one of only two journalists on hand to witness the invasion of Guadalcanal. He risked life and limb to give American readers a soldier’s experience of the war in the Pacific, from the suffocating heat and humidity to the unique terror of fighting in tall, razor-sharp grass and in crocodile-infested jungle streams against a concealed enemy. In understated yet graceful prose, Tregaskis details the first two months of the campaign and describes the courage and camaraderie of young marines who prepared for battle knowing that one in four of them wouldn’t make it home.
An instant bestseller when it was first published in 1943 and the basis for a popular film of the same name, Guadalcanal Diary set the standard for World War II reportage. Hailed by the New York Times as “one of the literary events of its time,” it is a masterpiece of war journalism whose influence can be found in classic works such as John Hersey’s Hiroshima, Michael Herr’s Dispatches, and Dexter Filkins’s The Forever War.
This ebook features an illustrated biography of Richard Tregaskis including rare images from the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming.
“The book’s secret is the simple secret of all good reporting—fidelity and detail.” —Time
“One of the literary events of its time.” —The New York Times
“A great new chapter in American history. One of the best books of the war.” —The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Tregaskis shaped America’s understanding of the war, and influenced every account that came after. . . . A superb example of war reporting at its best.” —Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down
“Captures the spirit of men in battle.” —John Toland, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Rising Sun
“Excellent blow-by-blow reportage . . . Vivid.” —Kirkus Reviews
Richard Tregaskis (1916–1973) was a journalist and award-winning author best known for Guadalcanal Diary (1943), his bestselling chronicle of the US Marine Corps invasion of the Solomon Islands during World War II. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Tregaskis graduated from Harvard University and reported for the Boston American before joining the International News Service. Assigned to cover the Pacific Fleet operations after Pearl Harbor, he was one of only two reporters to land with the Marines on Guadalcanal Island. His dramatic account of the campaign was adapted into a popular film and became required reading for all Marine Corps officer candidates. Invasion Diary (1944) vividly recounts the Allied invasions of Sicily and Italy and Tregaskis’s brush with death when a chunk of German shrapnel pierced his skull. Vietnam Diary (1963) documents the increased involvement of U.S. troops in the conflict between North and South Vietnam and was awarded the Overseas Press Club’s George Polk Award. Tregaskis’s other honors include the Purple Heart and the International News Service Medal of Honor for Heroic Devotion to Duty. He traveled the world many times over, and wrote about subjects as varied as the first space ship (X-15 Diary, 1961), John F. Kennedy’s heroism during World War II (John F. Kennedy and PT-109, 1962), and the great Hawaiian king Kamehameha I (Warrior King, 1973). On August 15, 1973, Tregaskis suffered a fatal heart attack while swimming near his home in Hawaii. After a traditional Hawaiian funeral, his ashes were scattered in the waters off Waikiki Beach.