John Hersey (1914–93) was a correspondent for Time and Life magazines when in 1942 he was sent to cover Guadalcanal, the largest of the Solomon Islands in the Western Pacific. While there, Hersey observed a small battle upon which Into the Valley is based. While the battle itself was not of great significance, Hersey gives insightful details concerning the jungle environment, recounts conversations among the men before, during, and after battle, and describes how the wounded were evacuated as well as other works of daily heroism.
John Hersey wrote several nonfiction books and numerous novels, including A Bell for Adano, which won the Pulitzer Prize.
"Brings home, as do few war stories, one of the hundreds of thousands of little episodes which make up this war. . . . It might be held up alongside Stephen Crane's Red Badge of Courage."—New York Times
"Will be part of the abiding literature of this war."—The New Republic
"Terse, faithful, moving."—The New Yorker
"Hersey has produced one of the good pieces of writing which must emerge from this war."—The Saturday Review of Literature
"Hersey is skillful in communicating what he saw and felt, and his skill gains strength from the fact that he describes not a brilliant action, but an obscure one which was successful in a qualified and unspectacular way, gaining its ends only after some things had first gone wrong. His story is successfully, in fact, what it claims to be: a reality of war, seen at the closest of quarters."—Manchester Guardian