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Bloody Ridge and Beyond: A World War II Marine's Memoir of Edson's Raiders in the Pacific is the story of a critical battle at Guadalcanal, written from the perspective of Marlin "Whitey" Groft, a veteran of the conflict.
On the island of Guadalcanal, a 2,000-yard-long ridge rose from the jungle canopy. Behind it lay the air base of Henderson Field. And if Henderson Field fell, it would mean the almost certain death or capture of all 12,500 Marines on the island.
Bloody Ridge is a close, unflinching look at brutal fighting, heroism, friendship, and loss during two days of intense battle. Through personal stories and meticulous research, the reader begins to understand what a small band of Marines went through to hold their ground at all costs.
U.S troops had landed on Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942 to secure Henderson Airfield. In response, the Japanese landed 6,000 soldiers to retake the island, and with unchallenged sea power in the region, their army had thousands more ready to join in the fray if needed. For two hellish nights in September, about 840 Marines from Edson's Raiders of the 1st Marine Raider Battalion - commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Merritt Austin "Red Mike" Edson - fought one of the most pivotal battles of World War II in the Pacific, clinging desperately to their position on what would soon be known as Bloody Ridge.
Groft, who was born in born in Lebanon, PA, joined the U.S. Marines after Pearl Harbor, volunteering for the 1st Marine Raider Battalion and served with that unit until its dissolution. Assigned to the 29th Marine Regiment of the newly formed 6th Marine Division, he served beyond the end of the war, seeing duty in China until the end of 1945. Groft and his wife live in Lancaster County. He co-wrote this book with Larry Alexander, a popular Lancaster newspaper reporter and columnist, and the author of the New York Times-bestselling biography Biggest Brother: The Life of Major Dick Winters, the Man Who Led the Band of Brothers and the coauthor (with Adam Makos) of A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II.
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