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Devil Dogs

King Company, Third Battalion, 5th Marines: From Guadalcanal to the Shores of Japan

Published by Pegasus Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

Award-winning historian Saul David reveals the searing experience of the Devil Dogs of World War II and does for the U.S. Marines what Band of Brothers did for the 101st Airborne.

The “Devil Dogs” of King Company, Third Battalion, 5th Marines—part of the legendary 1st Marine Division—were among the first American soldiers to take the offensive in World World II—and also the last.

They landed on the beaches of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in August 1942—the first US ground offensive of the war—and were present when Okinawa, Japan’s most southerly prefecture, finally fell to American troops after a bitter struggle in June 1945. In between they fought in the “Green Hell” of Cape Gloucester on the island of New Britain, and across the coral wasteland of Peleliu in the Palau Islands, a campaign described by one King Company veteran as “thirty days of the meanest, around-the-clock slaughter that desperate men can inflict on each other.”

Ordinary men from very different backgrounds, and drawn from cities, towns, and settlements across America, the Devil Dogs were asked to do something extraordinary: take on the victorious Imperial Japanese Army, composed of some of the most effective, “utterly ruthless and treacherous” soldiers in world history—and defeat it. This is the story of how they did just that and, in the process, forged bonds of brotherhood that still survive today.

Remarkably, the company contained an unusually high number of talented writers, whose first-hand accounts and memoirs provide the color, emotion, and context for this extraordinary story. In Devil Dogs, award-winning historian Saul David sets the searing experience of the Devil Dogs into the broader context of the brutal war in the Pacific and does for the U.S. Marines what Band of Brothers did for the 101st Airborne.

About The Author

Saul David is a critically renowned military historian and broadcaster. He is the author, most recently, of Operation Thunderbolt; Crucible of Hell; and The Force. He lives outside of Bath, England, where he is a professor of military history at the University of Buckingham.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Pegasus Books (September 15, 2022)
  • Length: 628 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781639362004

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Raves and Reviews

Praise for Saul David:

"Excellent. Saul David's gripping narrative is admirably clear."

– Antony Beevor, #1 internationally bestselling author of D-Day

"Gripping, even gruesome, yet deeply moving. Sweeps us masterfully from a coral charnel house in the Pacific to the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima."

– David Reynolds, author of In Command of History and The Long Shadow

"Vivid and deeply moving. David masterfully evokes the desperation and courage of soldiers, civilians, and commanders on both sides, constantly switching perspectives to capture the deep story of Okinawa's horror. Hard to put down, harder to forget."

– Stephan Talty, author of Saving Bravo: The Greatest Rescue Mission in Navy SEAL History

"A worthy addition to the literature of the Okinawa campaign."

– The Wall Street Journal

"Every chapter is filled with harrowing adventure, life and death struggle, and bedrock patriotism. The amount of new cutting-edge research is impressive. A monumental achievement!"

– Douglas Brinkley, #1 New York Times bestselling author of American Moonshot

"With impeccable research and a keen eye for detail, Saul David has brought to life the surprising story of the original band of brothers. An essential part of anyone's library."

– Doug Stanton, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Horse Soldiers

"Action packed. This thrilling tale will captivate readers."

– Publishers Weekly

"A remarkable story of the most unique special operations unit in Allied service during World War II. The Force is a gripping and awe-inspiring account of a storied unit and a legendary battle."

– John R. Bruning, bestselling author of Race of Aces

"With this riveting story of an unlikely group of men becoming elite soldiers and contributing to the Allied victory, Saul David brings us a superb tale, well told."

– Gregory A. Freeman, bestselling author of The Forgotten 500

"The First Special Service Force created in 1942 was a unique elite unit. As Saul David makes clear in this stirring account of their heroics, they did much more than their share and established precedents for the U.S. and Canadian Special Forces of today.” 

– James M. McPherson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Battle-Cry of Freedom

"Compelling and well-researched, The Force is an uplifting story of bravery, duty, and honor, an account of men who found the courage to take on an impossible mission—and prevail against all odds."

– Howard Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Invasion

"A real page-turner [about] a remarkable military unit whose story ought to be better known."

– Kirkus Reviews

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