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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars10
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on January 7, 2014
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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on January 28, 2014
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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on November 27, 2013
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 11, 2013
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.

The third story is called The Handle and The Hold. This last, shortest story, is more like the Mamet we've come to respect. It is entirely conversation instead of narration. It occurs among Vegas thugs, Jewish Vegas thugs, who recount World War II stories from home and abroad, as they steal an old bomber and fly it to Palestine with a load of contraband arms. There's lots to talk about and lots of time to kill. The banter is rapid and economical. There is a climax. There is a point. It saves the book, if one out of three is sufficient.

David Wineberg
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on January 31, 2014
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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on December 10, 2014
This is really 3 books in one. It drags in spots but still holds your interest. Mamet's writing style us incredible. He takes you back and forth in the character's life, but still manages to move the story forward. He fully develops his character like no other artist.
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on April 12, 2014
The third story is beautifully crafted, the second story is somewhat interesting, the first is unreadable. Disappointing hardly says how I felt reading them...I think the author got some good ratings from conservatives that the actual writing did not warrant
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on December 31, 2013
Story # 1 Not interesting
Story # 2 The best of the three in my opinion
Story # 3 Interesting, but not100% believable
I remain a great fan of any thing he produces on screen or paper
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on July 12, 2014
TITLE: Three War Stories
AUTHOR: David Mamet
REVIEWER: Josh Grossman, Colonel {r} U.S. Army Medical Corps, M.D., FACP
A truly outstanding text which should be available in all of our City and County Public Libraries, our University Libraries. Our cadets in our Departments of Military Science {Reserve Officers Training Corps R.O.T.C.} should obtain a copy to read and to discuss with their Mentors. I planj to recommend this outstanding text to all of my candidate students preparing for our United States Medical Licensure Examinatikon III (Step Three) particularly for those for whom English is their Second Language.
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on October 27, 2014
Almost unreadable. Disappointing.
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