Old Breed General is the biography of Marine general William H. Rupertus, who led his troops in a series of blistering battles in the Pacific that paved the way for the ultimate American victory there. This is an American story of love, loss, shock, horror, tragedy, and triumph that focuses on Rupertus and the 1st Marine Division in World War II.
Journalist Peacock and novelist Brown (The Last Fighter Pilot) deliver a comprehensive account of the career of Peacock's grandfather, Maj. Gen. William H. Rupertus, who wrote the Marine Corps' "Rifleman's Creed" and led the 1st Marine Division to key victories at Tulagi, Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, and Peleliu. The authors note that Rupertus got an up-close view of the Japanese military while serving with the Marines in China in the 1920s and '30s and had no illusion that Japan would wage an all-out war against America. Blow-by-blow accounts of the campaign to retake the Pacific focus on Rupertus's command decisions, including his direction of the landing force at Tulagi; his wrestling with dengue fever while defending Guadalcanal's airstrip against a major Japanese counteroffensive; and his successful campaign to take control of the airport and clear out entrenched Japanese forces on the island of Peleliu. Relieved of duty in November 1944, Rupertus served as commandant of the Marine Corps Schools at Quantico until he died of a heart attack in 1945. Though the dialogue can be cringeworthy ("You better get moving. We got some Japs to kill"), Peacock and Brown provide plenty of drama and action. This vivid biography gives its subject well-deserved recognition.