Goodbye, Darkness

  • by William Manchester
  • Narrated by Barrett Whitener
  • 15 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this intensely powerful memoir, America's pre-eminent biographer-historian, who has written so brilliantly about World War II in his acclaimed lives of General Douglas MacArthur (American Caesar) and Winston Churchill (The Last Lion), looks back at his own early life. This memoir offers an unrivaled firsthand account of World War II in the Pacific - what it looked like, sounded like, smelled like, and most of all, what it felt like to one who underwent all but the ultimate of its experiences.

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What the Critics Say

"It belongs with the best war memoirs ever written." (Los Angeles Times)
"A strong and honest account....Manchester's combat writing...stands comparison with the best." (New York Times Book Review)
"When Manchester speaks of the awesome heroism and hideous suffering of the Marines he lived with and fought with, he is reverent before the mystery of individual courage and gallantry." (Baltimore Sun)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Honest, humane and intelligent personal history

Like most Englishmen born in the 1940s I know more about the European and African theatres of war than the Pacific theatre. I bought this book purely on the author's reputation and also because two months ago I bought his biography of H L Mencken and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The middle aged author revisits the places he fought over as a soldier in 1942 - 1945 and mixes gripping reminiscence with wry [and occasionally cynical] afterthoughts. On the textures of war - spilt blood, torn flesh, terror, anger at waste and stupidity - he is unflinchingly excellent, and for this reason some of the battle sequences are not for the faint hearted. Mr Manchester looks back at his youthful self with a kind of appalled fascination, but manages, without any sentimental heroics, to convey the power and comradeship of being part of a brotherhood under arms. He is also good on the social and cultural losses occasioned by victory.

All of which makes this book sound solemn, even dry - far from it. Mr Manchester writes in a graceful, muscular prose which knits up into a powerful and utterly absorbing narrative, parts of which made me laugh out loud, and other parts of which made me cry. I have no idea how authentic a view of the Pacific war this is from an historical point of view: but as personal history written by a combatant [Mr Manchester was a US Marines Serjeant] it is utterly convincing. War requires intelligent, humane and kind people to perform atrocious acts, and Mr Manchester conveys the tensions this situation set up in him very well indeed. This return journey seems to have been in part an exorcism - and one is left with the impression that while Mr Manchester may have been able to forgive himself for some of the things he had to do, he is never likely to forget them. A memorable and beautifully crafted book which it is a pleasure to recommend.
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- John

Recommended

Well written & moving portrayal of authors experience in the Pacific war. It is a balanced account which includes details of the build up to war & the progress of the war from the both the American & Japanese viewpoint. It is an account of a lost more innocent American age before the disillusioment of Vietnam & Watergate
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- M

Book Details

  • Release Date: 26-04-2007
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.