Robert Leckie (author)


Robert Leckie
Robert Leckie.jpg
Nickname(s)"Lucky", "Peaches"
Born(1920-12-18)December 18, 1920
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
DiedDecember 24, 2001(2001-12-24) (aged 81)
Byram Township, New Jersey, U.S.
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1942–1945
RankPrivate first class
UnitHow Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsPurple Heart
Navy Commendation Medal with "V" Device
Other workWriter

Robert Leckie (December 18, 1920 – December 24, 2001) was a United States Marine and author of books on United States military history, sports, fiction, autobiographies, and children's books. As a young man, he served with the 1st Marine Division during World War II; his service as a machine gunner and a scout in the war greatly influenced his work.

Leckie's war memoirs, Helmet for My Pillow, along with Eugene B. Sledge's book With the Old Breed, formed the basis for the HBO series The Pacific (2010), the follow-on series to Band of Brothers. Leckie is portrayed in the miniseries by James Badge Dale.

Early life and education

Leckie was born on December 18, 1920, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to an Irish Catholic family of eight children. He grew up in Rutherford, New Jersey.

Early career and military service

He began his career as a writer in high school, as a sports writer for The Bergen Evening Record in Hackensack, New Jersey.[1] On January 18, 1942, Leckie enlisted in the United States Marine Corps.[1] He served in combat in the Pacific theater, as a scout and a machine gunner in H (How) Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division (H/2/1).

Leckie saw combat in the Guadalcanal Campaign and the Battle of Cape Gloucester, and he was wounded by a blast concussion in the Battle of Peleliu. Due to his wounds, he was evacuated to an army field hospital in the Pavuvu Islands. He returned to the United States in March 1945 and was honorably discharged shortly thereafter.[2]

Military decorations

Leckie's decorations include:

Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st row Purple Heart Medal
2nd row Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Combat "V" Navy Combat Action Ribbon Navy Presidential Unit Citation with award star
3rd row American Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze campaign stars World War II Victory Medal

Later career

External video
video icon Booknotes interview with Leckie on Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II, September 4, 1995, C-SPAN

Following World War II, Leckie worked as a reporter for the Associated Press, the Buffalo Courier-Express, the New York Journal American, the New York Daily News, and The Star-Ledger.[1]

According to his wife Vera, in 1951 Leckie was inspired to write a memoir after seeing South Pacific on Broadway and walking out halfway through it. He said, "I have to tell the story of how it really was. I have to let people know the war wasn't a musical."[3]

His first and best-selling book, Helmet for My Pillow, a war memoir, was published in 1957.[4] Leckie subsequently wrote more than 40 books on American war history, spanning from the French and Indian War (1754–1763) to Desert Storm (1991).[5]

Personal life

He married Vera Keller, a childhood neighbor, and they had three children: David Leckie, Geoff and Joan.[6]


Leckie died on December 24, 2001, six days after his 81st birthday, after fighting a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was survived by his wife of 55 years, his three children, two sisters, and six grandchildren. His remains were entombed at St. Joseph's Mausoleum in Newton, New Jersey.[7][8]


Military history

  • March to Glory. World Publishing Co. 1960. LCCN 60011454. OCLC 2851705.
  • Conflict: The History of the Korean War, 1950–53. Da Capo Press. 1996 [1962]. ISBN 0-306-80716-5.
  • Strong Men Armed: The United States Marines Against Japan. Perseus Publishing. 1997 [1962 (Random House)]. ISBN 978-0-306-80785-5.
  • Challenge for the Pacific: Guadalcanal, the Turning Point of the War. Doubleday. 1965. OCLC 1295146.
  • Challenge for the Pacific: The Bloody Six-Month Battle of Guadalcanal. Doubleday & Company. 1968. ISBN 0-306-80911-7.
  • Delivered from Evil: The Saga of World War II. Harper & Row. 1987. ISBN 0-06-015812-3.
  • None Died in Vain: The Saga of the Civil War. Harper Perennial. 1990. ISBN 0-06-016280-5.
  • The General. I Books. April 2, 2002 [1991]. ISBN 0-7434-4461-2.
  • George Washington's War: The Saga of the American Revolution. Harper Collins. 1992. ISBN 0-06-016289-9.
  • From Sea to Shining Sea: From the War of 1812 to the Mexican-American War, the Saga of America's Expansion. Harper Perennial. 1994. ISBN 0-06-016802-1.
  • Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II. Viking Press. 1995. ISBN 0-670-84716-X.
  • The Wars of America: From 1600 to 1900. Harper Collins. 1998. ISBN 0-06-012571-3.
  • A Few Acres of Snow: The Saga of the French and Indian Wars. Wiley & Sons. 2000. ISBN 0-471-24690-5.


Belles Lettres

  • These Are My Heroes: A Study of the Saints
  • Warfare: A Study of War
  • A Soldier-Priest Talks to Youth


Younger readers

  • The Battle for Iwo Jima. New York: Random House. 1967. ISBN 1-59019-241-9.
  • The Story of Football. Random House. 1965.
  • The Story of World War Two
  • The Story of World War One
  • The War in Korea
  • Great American Battles. Random House. 1968. LCCN 68023671. "Summary: A review of America's major wars, from the French and Indian War to the War in Korea, with emphasis on eleven important battles: Quebec, Trenton, New Orleans, Mexico City, Chancellorsville, Appomattox, Santiago, Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Normandy, and Pusan-Inchon."[9]
  • The World Turned Upside-Down
  • 1812: The War Nobody Won
  • The Big Game
  • Keeper Play
  • Black Treasure (Sandy Steele #1, as by "Roger Barlow")
  • Danger at Mormon Crossing (Sandy Steele #2, as by "Roger Barlow")
  • Stormy Voyage (Sandy Steele #3, as by "Roger Barlow")
  • Fire at Red Lake (Sandy Steele #4, as by "Roger Barlow")
  • Secret Mission to Alaska (Sandy Steele #5, as by "Roger Barlow")
  • Troubled waters (Sandy Steele #6, as by "Roger Barlow")

According to World Catalogue,[10] Robert Leckie, writing as "Roger Barlow", also wrote six juvenile boy adventure books called "The Sandy Steele" series; all six are available at[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b c Leckie Biography, All Media Guide.
  2. ^ Leckie, Robert (1979). Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific: Robert Leckie: 9780553593310: Books. ISBN 0553593315.
  3. ^ Rice, Sarah (2010-02-21). "HBO series illuminates N.J. Marine's book on World War II experience |". Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  4. ^ Booknotes, Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II, Transcript of Interview with Robert Leckie, 3 September 1995
  5. ^ Interview with Brian Lamb, 1995.
  6. ^ "Robert Leckie – The Pacific". Awesome Stories. 2010-02-21. Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  7. ^ "HBO The Pacific Premiere In Raritan". Black Tie Magazine. Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  8. ^ "Obituary". The New York Times. December 27, 2001. Retrieved 2015-02-27.
  9. ^ "Full Record of Great American battles (1968; Leckie, Robert)". Library of Congress Online Catalog. Retrieved 2007-12-22.
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Books by Barton, George (Sorted by popularity)".


  • "Find A Grave memorial page". Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  • "Leckie, Robert – Books and Biography". All Media Guide LLC. Retrieved 2007-12-22.
  • Leckie, Robert (March 10, 2010). "The Pacific Miniseries Unfolds Through Rutherford Veteran's Eyes". North Jersey (Interview). Interviewed by Virginia Rohan. Archived from the original on September 8, 2012. Retrieved 2010-03-22.
  • Leckie, Robert (September 3, 1995). "Booknotes: 'Okinawa: The Last Battle of World War II' by Robert Leckie". C-SPAN (Interview). Interviewed by Brian Lamb. Archived from the original on November 15, 2011. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
  • "Simple search – author – "Leckie, Robert"". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2007-12-22.
  • Martindale, Stone (July 26, 2007). "'Band of Brothers' producers cast 'The Pacific' series on HBO". Monsters & Critics. Archived from the original on August 13, 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-22.
  • "Robert Leckie – The Pacific". Retrieved 2010-05-11.
  • DiIonno, Mark (February 21, 2010). "HBO series illuminates N.J. Marine's book on World War II experience". Retrieved 2010-05-11.

External links

  • Works by Robert Leckie at Project Gutenberg
  • Robert Leckie as remembered by fellow H-Company Marine Sidney Phillips
  • Historical interview footage of Robert Leckie
  • Robert Leckie at IMDb