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USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Temporarily Out of Stock Online Please check back later for updated availability. Overview John Hersey —93 was a correspondent for Time and Life magazines when in he was sent to cover Guadalcanal, the largest of the Solomon Islands in the Western Pacific. While there, Hersey observed a small battle upon which Into the Valley is based. While the battle itself was not of great significance, Hersey gives insightful details concerning the jungle environment, recounts conversations among the men before, during, and after battle, and describes how the wounded were evacuated as well as other works of daily heroism.

He recounts a story that he says personally happened to him but, having read Guadalcanal Diary , I found this same story being called a 'yarn' i. Since Hersey's story takes place after Tregaskis's, I can think one of two things happened: either Hersey heard the story when he was on the island and decided to bend the truth and say it happened to him; or the story became such on the island that it was re-enacted for the sake of any journalist passenger. I hope the latter is true because this calls into question what Hersey considers the truth.

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I don't know if after so much time had passed he mistakenly thinks a story he had heard second or third hand is a personal experience, but it seems to me that that's quite a gaffe to make. Considering both books were published in the same year I find it hard to believe Hersey never read Tregaskis's book. If he had, he would've seen that his personal story predated his arrival. Relevant passages from both books are quoted here so you can decide for yourself: Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis from entry dated Friday, August 29 And so the yarning went on, and finally somebody told the classic story about the two marine jeep drivers on Guadalcanal, supposedly a true story, very true, anyhow, in its essential American psychology.

It was about two jeeps passing in the night, one with proper dim-out headlights, the other with glaring bright lights. So the driver of the dim-light car leans out as they pass and shouts to the other driver: "Hey! Put your fg lights out! I've got a fg colonel with me! The enlisted driver, obeying regulations, was poking along very slowly with his lights out. A jeep came in the opposite direction with headlights blazing. As we passed, my driver shouted to the other one, "Turn your fucking lights out!

I've got the fucking colonel with me. Into the Valley by John Hersey is a reporter's on-the-spot report of a battle which took place on October 8, on Guadalcanal. The heavy machine gun company was ordered into the valley at the Matanikau River with the goal of forcing the enemy back beyond the river.

First Offensive: The Marine Campaign for Guadalcanal (October and the Japanese Offensive)

As Hersey moves with the company and watches the men under fire, he realizes how much these Mar Into the Valley by John Hersey is a reporter's on-the-spot report of a battle which took place on October 8, on Guadalcanal. As Hersey moves with the company and watches the men under fire, he realizes how much these Marines go through, how many of them deserve citations for their bravery, and how few of them will receive the recognition they deserve--from the runners who carry messages when radio and field telephones won't work to the men who carry the wire spools through the jungle unable to defend themselves because you can't carry a rifle and a spool at the same time to the medics who treat and rescue the wounded.

He gets to know the men very quickly in his short time with them and he asks them the one question he truly wants to know. What are they fighting for? When it comes down to it The answer surprises him until he recognizes it for what it is: They did not answer for a long time. Then one of them spoke, but not to me He was answering my question very specifically. He whispered: "Jesus, what I'd give for a piece of blueberry pie.


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Of course that is not exactly what they meant. Here, in a place where they lived for several weeks mostly on captured Japanese rice, then finally had gone on to such delicacies as canned corned beef and Navy beans, where they were usually hungry and never given a treat--here pie was their symbol of home. Hersey's book is a fine piece of war reporting. He gives us the feel of battle with all the sights and sounds, with all the fears and acts of bravery. We see the men digging shallow grave-like holes to bed down in at night, fording streams, and carrying their fallen comrades from the field of battle.

We hear the underlying homesickness and worry that they might not see that home again--but we also see the courage that drives their Captain to make them hold their ground until they can retreat in good order. An interesting peek into the history of World War II.

First posted on my blog My Reader's Block. Please request permission before reposting. Apr 27, Wanda rated it really liked it. Well, I now know the meaning of "military crest" and "approach fire. Hersey attached himself to a machinegun company as it descended into a valley and attempted to cross a river as part of a wider attack.

The hike down was uneventful, but as they approached the river, the company came under rifle and machinegun fire. As they attempted to bring forward and set up their own machineguns to return fire, they came under mortar fire, suffered casualties and were Well, I now know the meaning of "military crest" and "approach fire. As they attempted to bring forward and set up their own machineguns to return fire, they came under mortar fire, suffered casualties and were forced to retreat.

That's the bare bones of the story. One day in war that happened a long time ago. It's hard to understand what it was all about, that the nation that today is the home of Hello Kitty terminal cuteness was a frightening, capable and cruel enemy in those days. The bulk of the book describes the retreat back up out of the valley, as experienced by Hersey and the group of wounded he helped.

World War II: Battle of Guadalcanal

I was interested to see described what are clearly traumatic brain injuries caused by overpressure created by the mortar explosions. It seems a source of wonder to Hersey that men can be severely injured yet do not visibly bleed or even show signs of wounds. He's not stupid, it's just something that hadn't occurred to him. Hersey describes a complete episode where a machinegun crew does set up their weapon and duels with an enemy machinegun, loses and retreats, abandoning their gun.

Then one man goes back to retrieve it, but as he is doing so, the position is mortared, he seems to be killed and the rest of the gun crew flees. After the men regain the high ground, a team is sent to recover his body. They discover he is alive, though gravely wounded, and make a harrowing effort to save his life and get him to safety.


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But he dies. This is not a book I would ever have read--even heard of--except for the recommendation of a friend. But I'm glad for the recommendation and to have read it. It's very matter of fact. There's no rah-rah stuff. It doesn't even mention that the fight the company was in, the Third Battle of the Matanikau River, was actually a victory for us, with the Japanese soundly defeated and forced to retreat. I had to turn to Wikipedia to discover that.

It's just what it was like to tag along with some guys on a hike down a canyon, as we westerners would say, alongside a little stream that merges with a bigger stream, and at that juncture a bunch of other guys are hiding, armed with brutal weapons, waiting to kill you. Which they try do. And you get out of there. Hersey's second book, compiled form first hand experience in the South Pacific campaign as a reporter for Time Magazine. Hersey was commended for his heroism under fire for his assisting the wounded after a disastrous rout by Japanese troops.

Into the Valley: Marines at Guadalcanal. Very brief book based on magazine story for LIFE magazine.

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Includes a page retrospective introduction from Very moving, indicative of suffering and sacrifice. Dec 28, Andrew Lubin rated it it was amazing. A short story of a company of Marines fighting on Guadalcanal. Hersey is a voluteer combat correspondant, and he captures the ferocity of the fight and the dedication of the Marines to each other on the 'canal back in summer Apr 07, Nadir rated it it was amazing Shelves: military , ww2.

A very quick enjoyable piece written during the war. Not military history per we no maps, no orders of battle, no high-ranking officer pontificating - just a clear and honest description of men in combat. Michael Morin rated it really liked it Aug 22, Dachokie rated it really liked it Jul 29, Iain Martin rated it it was amazing Jan 13, Scott Reeder rated it it was amazing Sep 29, Omnipotent Dystopian Now rated it really liked it Jul 23, Francis N Stites rated it it was amazing May 05, Isaiahletourneau rated it it was amazing Jan 22, Greg rated it it was amazing Nov 10, David rated it liked it Sep 30, Chadwick rated it liked it Mar 01, David Johnson rated it it was ok Oct 28, Jeff Stage rated it really liked it Sep 07, George Siehl rated it it was amazing Aug 23, Jack P Wise rated it it was amazing Dec 18, Jim rated it liked it Apr 16, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

About John Hersey. John Hersey.