- Mass Market Paperback: 180 pages
- Publisher: Bantam (November 1, 1983)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0553267396
- ISBN-13: 978-0553267396
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #830,137 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Short-Timers Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1983
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Top Customer Reviews
Written over a period of seven years (Hasford started collecting notes while he still was a Marine in Vietnam, as combat correspondent for the First Division), "The Short Timers" is divided into three chapters. The first ("The Spirit of the Bayonet") covers Private Joker basic training at the Marine Recruit Centre in Parris Island, circa 1967. This is the part of the movie everyone remembers, ironically thanks to the performance of real life DI Lee Ermey - a guy who reportedly embodied everything Hasford hated - as Sgt. Hartmann, the ultimate drill instructor. While Kubrick approach to the subject was admittedly enthralling, Hasford's original is an object lesson on how to forge words into a butcher's knife. The prose is lucid, almost bitterly simple: Private Pyle's now famous downfall is recorded without even a glint of mercy. Joker (and Hasford) recognise that this is not the "I'm-only-rough-on-'um-because-I-love-'um" cliché of Hollywood movies, but we see that this ritual debasement is working on him as well.Read more ›
Kubrick's "Full Metal Jacket" is a wonderful film, but reading the "Short-timers," I came away with a different vision. Nowhere is this more true that the recruit training sequence ("The Spirit of the Bayonet") where the training Joker and Cowboy go through is particularly sadistic. I only thank God that my own boot camp experience wasn't anywhere near as harrowing.
One last thing, some reviewers say that the novel's ending is even more bleak than "Full Metal Jacket" and they are right. To tell more would, I think, spoil the book's effect. If you can find this, read it. I got lucky and found a copy for very cheap. If you're a former Marine, don't be surprised if you find many similarities between the Corps of '68 and whenever you served. Don't be further surprised and find yourself rereading it again and again.
I've since found out that Mr. Hasford died in 1993. What a shame. While he has co-authored the screenplay as well as wrote two other novels, none has ever approached "The Short-timers." At least with this masterpiece, he wrote one for the ages.
Get some Mr. Hasford. Ooorah!!!
Written from the point of view of combat journalist Corporal Joker, the book reads as if it's narrated by one of the Marines Michael Herr followed around in "Dispatches." That same dark sense of humor is in place, that same tone of voice that one moment is expounding on something profound, the next joking about something mundane. Hasford was a vet, he was a Marine in the middle of it all, and his words drip with realism. But there is a surreal aspect to the book as well, as is expected from any Vietnam novel worth its salt. The fate of Rafter Man, as well as the delusional sequence in which Joker believes he's been killed, are macabre bits of surrealism that leave a lasting impression.
The book is spilt into three connected novellas. The first two, "Spirit of the Bayonet" and "Body Count," were adapted by Stanley Kubrick for his film "Full Metal Jacket." However, the final novella in the book, "Grunts," which details Joker's experiences in the besieged Khe Sahn base, rivals the Do Lung Bridge sequence in "Apocalypse Now," and it's a shame Kubrick didn't include this section in his movie.
To increase the impact of the prose, Hasford writes in present-tense. His sentences are lean and mean, making the book a quick read (it's also very short). All of this just makes me scratch my head.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this book when I first read it, shortly after Full Metal Jacket came out. It is an easy and quick read, but the speed at which I read it may have been due to my inability... Read morePublished 4 days ago by J. Zelenak
This is the book "Full Metal Jacket" was based on ... it is a grinder, and a good read for any reader regarding the Vietnam war. Brutal.Published 5 months ago by Pregnant Nun
a viet nam must read. hasford had a brief bit of fame when kubrick used his book for full metal jacket. Read morePublished 16 months ago by warrren leming
This is a brutal, one might say sadistic, novel of the Vietnam War. The first part portrays Marine training at Parris Island, which one hopes is fictional since it would seem that... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Schmerguls
The paper back I received was printed in December 1998. The book I received is quite poor in appearance with yellowed pages and off only modest size(180 pages). Read morePublished on January 3, 2014 by Clifford Oakman