Goodbye Darkness

This is William Manchester’s memoir of his days fighting in the Pacific during World War II. Thirty-five years after fighting in World War II, nearing age 60, Manchester returns to many of the Pacific Islands that loomed so large in the war, islands like Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa.

In Goodbye, Darkness, Manchester, who became a leading historian with brilliant biographies of Douglas MacArthur and Winston Churchill, reflects back on the brutal fighting, island to island, in World War II.  If you are at all foggy on the horror and pathos of war, or the unparalleled potential for forging friendships, then read this memoir.

William Shirer, author of the magisterial The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, called Manchester’s book, “The most moving memoir of combat in World War II that I have read … It is a gripping, haunting account.”  And indeed it is.

 At times Manchester is a bit too blunt and self-disclosing.  But I understand better the World War II fighting in the Pacific, and perhaps I also understand why the young men and women who survived World War II became “the greatest generation” in our history.