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"Writing a Classic: Richard Tregaskis and "Guadalcanal Diary"" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2022 8:49 p.m. PST

"For two months in the summer of 1942, Richard Tregaskis, a young correspondent with the International News Service, had toiled away in the Southwest Pacific to report on the news from a little-known island in the Solomons named Guadalcanal. Tregaskis had joined the approximately 11,000 men of the First Marine Division who stormed the beaches on August 7, 1942, to seize the island from the Japanese.

Tregaskis was no stranger to combat at this point in his career and had always been eager to be close to where American forces were fighting, serving as an embedded reporter long before the term came into use. He watched from the deck of a U.S. Navy cruiser as Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle's B-25B Mitchell bombers took off from the carrier USS Hornet to bomb Tokyo. Later, he was on the Hornet to witness its dive-bombers and torpedo planes, several which did not return, hurtle off the ship's flight deck on their way to attack the Japanese fleet during the critical Battle of Midway.

The Guadalcanal landing marked America's first use of ground troops in a major offensive against the Japanese Empire. Tregaskis's dedication to his job during his time on Guadalcanal impressed the marines' commander, General Alexander Vandegrift. The general recalled that Tregaskis, one of only two reporters with the marines during their first uncertain weeks on the island, seemed to be everywhere, and the information he acquired was "factual and not a canned hand-out." …"
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Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2022 11:09 a.m. PST

My parents had a copy which I read as a young lad in the 1950s. I remember it as a gritty but mesmerizing tale of the heroics of the Marines on Guadalcanal.


William Warner26 Jan 2022 11:59 a.m. PST

Excellent article! I also read it in the 1950s and loved it. I still have my mother's copy with her book plate in it. She probably received it just before she and my dad got married in 1943. He was a flight instructor at Randolph Field in San Antonio and she worked in the PX.

Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP26 Jan 2022 12:06 p.m. PST

Read my first edition copy many decades ago--a crucial piece of authentic reportage that went some way to make the US populace aware of the nature of the fight--and the enemy.

The movie made from it is more of a typical "Ra-ra!" wartime film and not as grim as the book, so a little disappointing, but still not bad for its genre.


John Leahy Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2022 3:52 p.m. PST

Just read the book again a couple of months ago. Good book!



Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP27 Jan 2022 10:25 a.m. PST

I, too, read it in the 50's along with Morison's "History." The two revealed much about the nature of the Allies' fight against the Japanese.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Jan 2022 12:06 p.m. PST



Raynman Supporting Member of TMP27 Jan 2022 1:21 p.m. PST

That is a great book! A Tregaskis book that I have is Invasion Diary, about the Salerno and Italian campaign. copyright is 1944 by Random House. It was my Dad's when he was a kid.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Jan 2022 3:47 p.m. PST

Thanks also…


Blutarski29 Jan 2022 6:17 p.m. PST

Also read "Guadalcanal Diary" as a young kid. Library book, published by "Landmark" IIRC.

Another book from right around the same time – "Zoomies, Subs and Zeroes".


Ammianus02 Feb 2022 9:20 a.m. PST

Thank god for Landmark books!

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP03 Feb 2022 11:34 a.m. PST



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