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Three War Stories Paperback – November 11, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David Mamet is a stage and film director as well as the author of numerous acclaimed plays, books, and screenplays. His play Glengarry Glen Ross won a Pulitzer Prize, and his screenplays for The Verdict and Wag the Dog were nominated for Academy Awards. He lives in Santa Monica, California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Argo-Navis (November 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786755601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786755608
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,153,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By dragonlady on January 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Big Mamet fan. But these stories are wordy and abstruse. He plays with styles -- all very well for a writer, especially someone who does a lot of screenwriting-- but I didn't find the faux 19th or early 20th century memoire style terribly readable. It was somewhat tedious -- as a reader. The book is self published, which is odd for such a major writer. Perhaps because publishers weren't impressed. Sorry that I fell for it. Still love Mamet, though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mark Braginsky on January 31, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed it from the beginning to the end
I highly recommend it because the author is the high level professional who has great ideas,
knows how to implement them, and "glue" characters and actions in a very dramatic way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tom Arneson on January 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is not an easy read, but I couldn't stop reading it.

The first story is the longest, Its narrated by an old man at the end of two careers: first as a British naval officer and then as a spy. He's been through some dreadful experiences, which he recalls in bits and pieces, not in chronological order, but jumping back and forth in his memory.

The second story is set in the USA during the post civil war, Indian wars. It follows the first in the method of recalling scattered memories of traumatic military service.

The third and shortest story is the shortest and seems somewhat unfinished. In it two Jewish veterans of WWII steal a bomber, intending to deliver it to the infant nation of Israel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Rubinstein on November 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
David Mamet is one of our most acclaimed writers. "3 War Stories" are connected by virtue of being related to wars. The striking thing about them is the language. Mamet is virtually a ventriloquist when it comes to narration and dialogue. The first novella, "Redwing," is the longest. It's a seafaring tale told in the style of Patrick O'Brian with a formalistic, English approach that sets it clearly in the 19th Century. "The second, Notes on Plain Warfare," is a disquisition on religion as told by a narrator involved in the American-Indian wars. The third, "The Handle and the Hold" is pure Mamet--dialogue driven with no real descriptive narration--between two Jewish tough guys smuggling arms into Palestine just before the Israeli War of Independence. This one snaps, crackles and pops with Mamet-speak. On the whole, the three novellas demonstrate David Mamet's wide range of interests and his enormous talent. A solid five-star rating fromsomeone who enjoys the written word.

Mark Rubinstein
Author, Mad Dog House and Love Gone Mad
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Format: Kindle Edition
The magic of Mamet is that his (better) characters push themselves or are pushed to the breaking point, and then beyond. They then reveal the depths of their weaknesses and perhaps strengths they didn't know they had. The peaks and valleys are gaping. This book does not go there.

It is a collection of three stories, all connected to wars.

Redwing takes up more than half the book. Its conceit is that an old sailor, who no longer has need to lie or protect or seek gain, tells the truth about his life and experiences. He gets to compare it all to an autobiographical novel he published earlier, correcting and "quoting" liberally. He has had adventures - dealing with pirates, being imprisoned in a foreign land for years, and doing battle with the seas. But he never makes a connection to the reader.

The story is as flat as a pancake. It constantly drops names you don't know that will figure in later substories, but it never builds to anything. There is no climax, no attachment to any characters, and nothing to resolve. It's like Philippe Muray (See e.g. Festivus Festivus ) without the humor: a lot of miscellaneous philosophizing, all jammed together.

Notes on Plains Warfare is also the reminiscences of an old man, this time a Civil War solider who was then sent to kill Plains Indians. Mamet applies a lot of angles, giving him insight into Indian ceremonies, seeing things from their perspective, and combining the narrator's experience with other knowledge gained over a lifetime. It has more real detail and depth, but the voice is totally inauthentic: "The Zoroastrians indeed could have been inspired to their noted dualism by the selfsame process of delight and absolute aversion." This is not the incendiary Mamet you hope for.
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