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The Thin Red Line: A Novel Paperback – February 9, 1998
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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.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
"From Here to Eternity"
"The Thin Red Line"
"From Here to Eternity" details in unmatched accuracy what the pre-Pearl Harbor
professional army was like for the enlisted man.
"The Thin Red Line" carries that army and those men into combat in the Solomons
with the same honesty and intensity.
"Whistle" takes men wounded in combat home via hospital ship and stateside
Most people have heard of "From Here to Eternity" and "The Thin Red Line" because
they have been made into movies.
"Whistle," the concluding, and in many ways the most important volume of the
trilogy, is less known.
Jones has always dwelt in the shadow of the more famous Norman Mailer. But I
have always thought of Mailer as poseur who wrote what he wrote in order to be
accepted into literary society and become famous. Jones has always seemed to
me the real deal. He enlisted in the army in 1939, was at Pearl Harbor when
the Japs attacked, fought in the Solomons, receiving the Bronze Star with V for
Valor and the Purple Heart.
With the money he made from "From Here to Eternity," Jones founded a writer's
colony and paid the hospital bills of the great and tragic poet Delmore
Schwartz, who clearly influenced Jones' writing. See especially the poem "For
the One Who Would Take Man's Life in His Hands" from the collection "Summer
Knowledge" published in 1938.Read more ›
"The thin red line" is about the battle of Guadalcanal, an island of the Solomons chain and an important base in the south Pacific Ocean, between the american and the japanese troops.
"The thin red line", by author and ex-combatent James Jones, was brought under the spotlights once again more recently after cult director Terrence Mallik transposed it to the big screen, for the second time, in 1998 (the first time was in 1964). The movie is visually beautiful, long, and insightful, with extraordinary development of its main characters. The book does not have visual resources, but Jones' fast prose, moving from character to character, from battle scenes to the long nights spent in the open, all this makes the reader "watch" what is happening with his or her mind, just like it was a movie.
Jones knows what he is writing about. He was there, he did that. And he is intelligent. War battles are not much different, one from another (except if you are actually there, of course). So, Jones technic is to write unusually long chapters, to make the reader feel involved with the environment, with the people of C-for-Charlie Company.Read more ›
James Jones masterfully goes from one character to another, introducing the reader to the character's internal thoughts, while keeping the novel moving, marching through the jungle, to a conclusion that is exactly how it was for the soldier - this battle over, on to the next, what for, who cares - you didn't die, but you probably will on the next island.
How does one manage these thoughts, as a sane, rational human being? Jones' does an amazing job of bringing out these subleties in each character, how each one deals with it, how each one thinks about it. You can almost feel yourself there on the island, having made it through a day of horrors, lost some acquaintances, exhausted, and what for? In WW 2, it wasn't one year and out of service - you were in it 'til A.) you died, B.) you were maimed, or C.) the war ended. After 24 hours of constant combat and no water during a battle, all you had to look forward to during your "recovery" (a day, two days, a week?) was the same thing all over again, until you either died or somehow, the war ended.
While Mallick's films fails spectacularly in attempting to illustrate these points, Jones succeeds in ways that will only cause you to keep reading, imagining what it must have been like, yet thanking your God that you weren't there, and that these brave men were there for us.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Allegedly this unit is the 27th Infantry of the 25th Division, my old unit in Vietnam.
Great story that is believable from my experience.
A little over the top even for a fictionalized look at a pivotal point of WWII. Those who have studied the war or have been in any theatre of war will find it marginally... Read morePublished 5 months ago by John Glynn
Thought I would really enjoy the book, got it while I was bed ridden from a friend with raving reviews. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is actually book two of a loose trilogy, From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line and Whistle. All have similar characters (off the top of my head, tough sergeant: Ward, Walsh... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bruce A. Wayne
this is wonderful classic story that I have wanted for years, the book they sent me looked almost brand new. I am very pleasedPublished 6 months ago by ned j. augustyniak