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E. B. Sledge, a private and mortarman in the USMC, gives a graphic and detailed account of two of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific theater in World War II. "With the Old Breed" dives into the horrific living conditions of battle in the tropical islands of the south Pacific while exploring the toll on the human spirit and the humanity of the regular soldier. "With the Old Breed" casts a new light on US Marines in World War II and takes a look at the racial element of battle. Sledge experienced everything from the bloody Banzai to encountering Japanese fighting according to the Bushido Code.

Also, Sledge discusses his personal experiences of stripping the enemy's dead for "souvenirs" to the taking of gold teeth by US Marines from enemy corpses. A startling parallel can be seen when "With the Old Breed" is juxtaposed with "All Quiet on the Western Front" despite the difference in time and method of war.