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Such is the ultimate significance of war in The Thin Red Line (1962), James Jones's fictional account of the battle between American and Japanese troops on the island of Guadalcanal. The narrative shifts effortlessly among multiple viewpoints within C-for-Charlie Company, from commanding officer Capt. James Stein, his psychotic first sergeant Eddie Welsh, and the young privates they send into battle. The descriptions of combat conditions--and the mental states it induces--are unflinchingly realistic, including the dialog (in which a certain word Norman Mailer rendered as "fug" 15 years earlier in The Naked and the Dead appears properly spelled on numerous occasions). This is more than a classic of combat fiction; it is one of the most significant explorations of male identity in American literature, establishing Jones as a novelist of the caliber of Herman Melville and Stephen Crane.
I really enjoyed reading this book, and I hope that you will too.
Mailer gives us subhuman characters cast as soldiers; Jones helps us appreciate the humanity that survives even in the most degrading circumstances.
Although not a great work of literature, THE THIN RED LINE is a powerful novel, one of the best in my experience of the American soldier in war.
This is one of my favorite novels, in my Top Ten. It starts out slow, focusing on a fairly long and pointless scene on the ship. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Sky Blue
NOTE: this turned into more of a review of the movie than the book, sorry.
I loved this novel, but I avoided it for years because of the Terence Malick movie. Read more
good look at the reality of combat and the emotional reaction to itPublished 24 days ago by cole franklin
James Jones, what can I say? He is a great author, an excellent read, and overlooked in an age of crap fiction. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Martin Amance