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Thomas Ewing Jr.
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Nightmare on Iwo JimaNightmare on Iwo Jima

A Marine in Combat

Patrick F. Caruso

Narrated by Charles Craig

Available from Audible

Book published by The University of Alabama Press

On February 19, 1945, the 4th and 5th Marine Divisions stormed ashore from a naval support force. Among them was green young lieutenant Pat Caruso who became de facto company commander when the five officers ranking him were killed or wounded. He led his rapidly diminishing force steadily forward for the next few days, when a day’s gains were measured in yards. Caruso was eventually wounded himself and was evacuated. Realizing that the heroism of his comrades would be lost by the decimation of his unit, Caruso latched onto any paper he could find and filled every blank space with his memory of the fighting. This edition has a new foreword. It resumes its place as a classic account of the experience of being in close, direct, and constant contact with a determined enemy at close quarters. Many did not survive; those who did were changed forever.

Patrick F. Caruso was a native of New Jersey. He was educated at Western Maryland College and later earned two M.A. degrees from Seton Hall University. Eager to join the war effort, Caruso enlisted in the Marine Corps while still in college and attended Officer Candidates School at Quantico, Virginia. After receiving his commission, he was assigned to the Ninth Regiment, Third Marine Division, and in February 1945, his company launched its attack in Iwo Jima. By the end of the attack, all five of Caruso’s senior officers had been killed or wounded, leaving him in command of K Company. Before the battle was over, Caruso was also a casualty. Following the war, Caruso was employed by the Veterans Administration as a rehabilitation officer assisting disabled veterans. In 1953 he began a career in education, retiring in 1981 after thirteen years as superintendent of the Morris Hills, New Jersey, district schools. Caruso was also the author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, including an Associated Press article commemorating the Battle of Iwo Jima.


“A tale of individual struggles as fresh and crisp as if the battles were yesterday...Caruso describes the island's terrain of hot, dark volcanic ash so soft and fine that foxholes could be dug by hand. He tells of the hidden enemy gun emplacements that brought fire to every inch of the island and the terrible price paid in casualties to find and then destroy them. Gripping...without pretense or embellishment.”


“Although compact and brief, the book eloquently describes the horrors of the World War II battle for Iwo Jima... From such a nightmare Caruso manages to build a significant literary memorial, a clear and lasting picture of a handful of fighting Marines.”

Associated Press

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University Press Audiobooks