Pulitzer Prize Awardees for General Nonfiction


Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War (1979)

Written by William Manchester

Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War is the book in which one of the most celebrated biographer/historians of our time looks back at his own early life and gives us a remarkable account of World War II in the Pacific, of 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.

The nightmares began for William Manchester 23 years after WW II. In his dreams he lived with the recurring image of a battle-weary youth (himself), "angrily demanding to know what had happened to the three decades since he had laid down his arms." To find out, Manchester visited those places in the Pacific where as a young Marine he fought the Japanese, and in this book examines his experiences in the line with his fellow soldiers (his "brothers"). He gives us an honest and unabashedly emotional account of his part in the war in the Pacific. (Copyright © Little, Brown and Company/Hachette. All rights reserved.)

Source:  Hachette Book Group.

William Manchester was an American author, biographer, and historian. He was the author of 18 books which have been translated into over 20 languages. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal and the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award.

Manchester enlisted in the Marine Corps. However, he was ordered back to college until called up. Although he had expected to serve in Europe, Manchester ultimately found himself in the Pacific Ocean theater. Initially he joined the Officer Candidate School but dropped out before receiving a commission. After rising to the rank of sergeant, he was sent to Guadalcanal in 1944 for further training, then he served in Pacific War's final campaign on the island of Okinawa, he was severely wounded on June 5, 1945, and he was awarded the Purple Heart. 

Manchester's wartime experiences formed the basis for his very personal account of the Pacific Theater, Goodbye, Darkness: A Memoir of the Pacific War (1980). In this memoir, Manchester uses some personal anecdotes from his service on Okinawa in his descriptions of battles on Guadalcanal and Saipan. He wrote of World War II in several other books, including his second of a planned three-part biography of Winston Churchill, and a biography of General Douglas MacArthur, American Caesar.

His best-selling book, The Death of a President (1967), is a detailed account of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who had been the subject of an earlier book by Manchester.

The Arms of Krupp (1968), was a look at the two German arms manufacturers, Gustav Krupp and Alfried Krupp. The book explored the Krupp family's links to Adolf Hitler and his government. Other books by Manchester included The Glory and the Dream: A Narrative History of America, 1932-1972 (1974), American Caesar: Douglas MacArthur (1978), Remembering Kennedy (1983), The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill (1983), Magellan (1994) and No End Save Victory (2001).

Manchester died in Middletown, Connecticut on 1st April, 2004.


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