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Capt. Dale Dye's WW II Reading List

Originally published on Published Online: June 02, 2010 
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Helmet for My Pillow
Robert Leckie (1957)
"Leckie was a born journalist, with a reporter's eye for the look and feel of Marine Corps service in the Pacific during World War II. There are thousands of similar memoirs out there, but I like Leckie's irreverent, perceptive take on things. Had we served together, I believe Leckie and I would have been pals as well as kindred mavericks."

Jon T. Hoffman (2001)
"This will likely stand as the definitive take on Chesty Puller in and out of marine circles. Lots of mythical nonsense is disposed of or dealt with in this book. I particularly like his inside analysis of Chesty's controversial tactical decisions as CO of the 1st Marines on Peleliu."

Bull Halsey

E. B. Potter (1985)
"This superlative military biography confirmed my admiration for Bull Halsey. What was most valuable to me was Potter's no-punches-pulled treatment of Halsey's decision-making process during the campaign in the Philippines. There are also some really telling anecdotes on Halsey's leadership style."


Joseph Heller (1961)
"This book has never been far from my hand since I first read it back in 1967. This is the book that I pick up when I'm taking myself or life in general way too seriously. I absolutely love Heller's humor and the fact that he's poking fun at war and warriors from the perspective of having been at war makes it all the more valuable to me."

First to Fight:
An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps

Victor H. Krulak (1984)
"This is the book I go back to when I have philosophical
questions about the Marine Corps. Victor 'Brute' Krulak was there for the transformation of the Corps from naval police force to a great amphibious monster and he tells an insider's story with an open and honest perspective. I was privileged to know the Brute when I was on active duty and always respected his keen, perceptive intelligence."

Beyond War
"When I'm not reading, writing or working on film sets—and that's not very often—I like to work with wood and bamboo. There's something both spiritual and practical about creating pretty or useful things from what nature provides. It keeps me centered."

Dale Dye, a retired Marine Corps captain who served in Vietnam, founded and runs Warriors, Inc., a company that conducts a full-immersion boot camp to train actors for war films. He has also acted in, written scripts for, or directed many television and film productions; his more familiar credits include Platoon, Forrest Gump, Saving Private Ryan, Band of Brothers, and The Pacific.

3 Responses to “Capt. Dale Dye's WW II Reading List”

  1. 1
    Mike Mullikin says:

    A little slanted toward the sea services, but I guess that's understandable. But if we're talking about those kind of books, I nominate "Once A Legend, 'Red Mike' Edson of the Marine Raiders," by Jon T. Hoffman. I've read a number of works about the other Marine raider and agree with one of his contemporaries, "Carlson may have been Red but he wasn't yellow."

  2. 2
    Mel Dunlap says:

    I haven't seen "Dawn of Darkness" on your reading list. It is a very accurate accounting of what happened to POWs from Bataan that was published last year.

  3. 3
    Bill Casper says:

    What about With the Old Breed?

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