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We Pierce: A Novel Paperback – May 7, 2004

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (May 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743212789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743212786
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,103,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This novel carries the concept of a roman a clef almost to the point of autobiography. It relates the story of two brothers: one whose sense of duty propels him into the Gulf War as a tank commander, the other whose equally strong sense of his duty to protest war leads him eventually to New York to ultimately fight a war of his own. The surnames of the fictional brothers? Huebner! Smith Huebner endures bad food, desert sandstorms, and life inside a tank for six months. Meanwhile, his brother, Sam, English teacher and war protester, is losing a war with cocaine dependency. Smith, who one might have thought to be imperturbable in his conscientiousness, is ironically chastened in his sense of duty when he sees his good friend Morrison fall in battle and is quick to return home to the safe shield of his wife, his baby, and his South. While alternating the brothers' stories, the author leads naturally to a denouement during Smith's seven-hour stopover in New York on his way home. Allen Weakland
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


The New York Times A spare, forceful novel....[Huebner] is often capable of a terse, angry eloquence that unifies the book's divergent threads....We Pierce is wise and unabashed.

The New York Times Book Review Smart, sharp...We Pierce joins Swofford's Jarhead in attempting to fill a memory hole. It's the story of Smith Huebner who comes from a long line of military men. His great-grandfather fought in the Indian Wars, arriving, as beautifully depicted in Andrew Huebner's first novel American by Blood, a day late for the Battle of Little Big Horn. Read together, his two novels offer a memorable take on the evolution of the American military.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
First of all, I'd give this book 3 1/2 stars, which isn't bad. I wanted to read this novel after having read "Jarhead" and "Baghdad Express", two memoirs about Marines in the first Gulf War. I like that there are books coming out by the soldiers and Marines who fought in the first Gulf War, offering different perspectives on the same topic. This one was written as a novel, though the writer uses his own last name as the same last name for his two main characters, the brothers Smith and Sam Huebner. I'm not certain why he does this, but I found myself wondering how much of it was taken from his own life's experiences.

The most distracting thing I didn't like about the way this book was written was the lack of quotation marks to indicate speech. This was hard to get used to at first, but I caught on, although in a few places, it added confusion as to what was spoken by a character and what was only a thought. I'm not sure why he would forgo the use of quotation marks, unless it was for some literary device, but again, I thought it added to unnecessary confusion.

The tale of the two brothers was an interesting juxtaposition. I preferred reading about Smith Huebner and his experiences at war, though it didn't seem to amount to much. His brother, Sam, who aspired to be a Kerouac-style writer but got lost in drug addiction, was the heartbreaking half of the book. As I read, I couldn't believe that someone would destroy the potentiality of his own life in pursuit of the next high. I enjoyed seeing a glimpse into the life of a drug addict and how powerless they are to change, even if they intend to change, after their "final high." No jail time or ultimatum from a girlfriend seemed strong enough to convince Sam to change his ways.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Richard Wells on May 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
"We Pierce," is less about fighting for what you believe in than finding what that is in the first place. Two brothers embark on adventures of discovery; one is confronted by all the demons of war, and emerges somehow unaffected - the same character at the end of Gulf War One as at the beginning; the other confronts the demons of self-worth and addiction and though we are left with hope for his recovery, never find out for sure. Both stories are well told, and tie nicely together, and the details of war and addiction coupled with the background of family history work well in giving us a believable picture; but, resolution seems to be missing. Overall, I was left wanting more; either closure, or an indication the story would be continued, rather than the feeling of life just going on. But maybe that was the point. Some people don't change much regardless of what they've been through, in which case I'd have to ask, "So what?" "We Pierce," is a good read, but guardedly recommended because of the lack of closure.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jonathan briggs on May 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here's the only way I can figure it: One day, the boss at Simon & Schuster declared, "I declare today is Slush Pile Day. We shall reach deep into the pile of wannabe manuscripts and pull out one book to be published as is with absolutely no editorial interference." And thus, we have "We Pierce," the story of a Persian Gulf War soldier and his peacenik junkie brother. The only alternative to my Slush Pile Day theory would be that a major publisher just decided to chuck all standards of writing and editing as too much trouble. "We Pierce" is a mess. It's like reading an ambitious hopeful's extremely rough first draft of a novel. And somehow it got published without going thru any editing. Now many successful writers have made a stylistic choice to ignore the rules of grammar and punctuation. Take the wonderful and amazing Cormac McCarthy. Andrew Huebner is obviously a devout follower of Cormac McCarthy. But the big difference between the master and the novice is that Cormac knew the rules of writing before he started to break them. Cormac may not use quotation marks, but he writes with crystalline clarity. Huebner shows no such awareness, no such foundation in the fundamentals of writing. "We Pierce" is an often incomprehensible jumble of fractured English and muddled dialog and nonsensical action and military jargon jibba jabba and laughable tough guy posturing (right down to the author's photo on the back cover). The reader stumbles across far too many descriptions like this one: "... an old biker with long greasy hair shot with gray, red eyes." Quite the mental picture. It'd be very effective in a Clive Barker novel, but here it unintentionally provokes reader chuckles. And one measly star.
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