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Devil Dogs: First In, Last Out – King Company from Guadalcanal to the Shores of Japan

By Saul David

A Times History Book of the Year 2022

From Sunday Times bestselling historian Saul David, the dramatic tale of the first American troops to take the fight to the enemy in the Second World War, and also the last.

The ‘Devil Dogs’ of K Company, 3/5 Marines, were part of the legendary first Marine Division. They landed on the beaches of Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in 1942 – the first US ground offensive of the war – and were present when Okinawa, Japan’s most southerly prefecture, finally fell to American troops after a bitter struggle in June 1945. In between they fought in the ‘Green Hell’ of Cape Gloucester on the island of New Britain, and across the coral wasteland of Peleliu in the Palau Islands, a campaign described by one K Company veteran as ‘thirty days of the meanest, around-the-clock slaughter that desperate men can inflict on each other.’

Ordinary men from very different backgrounds, and drawn from cities, towns, and settlements across America, the Devil Dogs were asked to do something extraordinary: take on the victorious Imperial Japanese Army, composed of some of the most effective soldiers in world history – and defeat it. This is the story of how they did just that and, in the process, forged bonds of brotherhood that still survive today.

Remarkably, the company contained an unusually high number of talented writers, whose first-hand accounts and memoirs provide the colour, emotion, and context for this extraordinary story. In Devil Dogs, award-winning historian Saul David sets the searing experience of K Company into the broader context of the brutal war in the Pacific and does for the U.S. Marines what Band of Brothers did for the 101st Airborne.

Gripping, intimate, authoritative and far-reaching, this is a unique and incredibly personal narrative of war.

Saul David’s previous book SBS -Silent Warriors was in the Sunday Times Bestseller Chart in the 35th and 36th week of 2021.

Author: Saul David
Format: Trade Paperback
Release Date: 15 Sep 2022
Pages: 624
ISBN: 978-0-00-839577-3
Price: £14.99 (Export Price) , £16.99
Saul David is a critically acclaimed military historian and broadcaster. His recent books include Operation Thunderbolt, which was turned into the movie Entebbe; Crucible of Hell, picked as a Best Book of 2020 by The Times and The Telegraph; and SBS: Silent Warriors, which reached No. 4 in the Sunday Times bestseller chart. He co-hosts the Battleground podcast with Patrick Bishop.


”'Exquisite detail…subtly textured… the Pacific War is rendered in painful and poignant detail… A narrative that reads like war in real time. It's war unplugged: cruelty, destruction, pain, but also love, kindness and camaraderie. I cried for these men and then thanked God that I will never have to send my son to war.” - Times

‘Brilliant… A chronicle that is part Hollwood film-script, but never less than vigorously researched history. David has a claim to be our finest military historian… Superb’’Daily Telegraph -

‘David recounts in this stirring saga the WWII campaigns of Company K, the 1st Marine Division unit … Skillfully plumbing the rich array of firsthand accounts by Company K veterans, David vividly describes pillbox raids, accidental deaths, and hellish jungle conditions, and draws incisive portraits of Marine officers and their command decisions. The result is a captivating chronicle of the war in the Pacific’Publishers Weekly -




‘This is a terrific book, written with all the gusto, thrills and heady excitement these SBS operations richly deserve. It really is one of the most enjoyable histories I’ve read in many a year’James Holland, Daily Telegraph, five stars -

”'It’s an extraordinary trawl through the archives, backed up with diaries and interviews; an accomplished act of storytelling… David has written a book that often gladdens the heart, but also makes you think about the nature of sacrifice” - Times

‘A brilliant account of how the SBS was born from wartime needs, and just how much the organisation and its affiliated units were able to achieve in those early years’Daily Mail -