Customer Reviews: The World War II Trilogy: From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, and Whistle
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on January 27, 2013
Two of the stories in the "Trilogy" are the unabridged "From Here to Eternity" (about soldiers in Hawaii in the months leading up to Pearl Harbor) and "The Thin Red Line" (about soldiers in Guadalcanal facing their first combat). Both are excellent stories, and each merits five stars. Since they're both famous, I won't say more about them here.

"Whistle" is another matter entirely. Jones died before he could finish it, so the last 10% or so is just an outline of the story. Even the other 90% of it is unpolished. Bits of text get repeated. A character speaks like a hayseed in one chapter but like a scholar in another. I seriously doubt the author wanted anyone looking at this; it's a one-star story, and I only say that about books (usually self-published) that I think shouldn't have been published at all.

Chronologically, Whistle happens *after* "The Thin Red Line" so I'm not sure why they placed it in the middle of this collection. If one is to read it at all, it should certainly be read last.

Arguably it makes more sense to buy "From Here to Eternity" and "The Thin Red Line" separately, assuming the pricing works out. Just be sure to get the unabridged ones; the original editors apparently cut a lot of "controversial" material from the original editions.
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on November 1, 2014
This was a reread of mine. The books capture the essence of war in all its gore, fear, loyalty, and motivations that those engaged in combat experience is captured horrendously in Jones' books. Is already a classic in American literature and rereading it reminded me why. If you haven't read it, you should. Why? Because everything he captured in his books about war is still ongoing in the combat that our troops are experiencing on a daily basis today.
David E. Meadows
Capt-ret U.S. Navy
Author of the Sixth Fleet series
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on August 11, 2016
It's a series of great stories told by someone who knows what war is firsthand. It shows the struggle that soldiers face to get by and the abject misery of combat. Everything from cold rain miserable living conditions and cold food to the always present exhaustion mentally and physically. If you think wars make good reading, read this. If you've never been in combat your eyes will be opened, if you have and you're reading it you'll realize how much life is worth living.
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on November 18, 2014
James Jones harsh reality of the U.S. army on Hawaii right before World War 2 and during the great depression is one of the best war novels I have ever read. The follow up novels in this 3 volume series are excellent as well and anyone wanting to get a grunts eye view of the world war 2 period military life should read this series. The second volume s depiction of combat is unparalleled.
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on November 16, 2013
The writing is a bit uneven, but the story is compelling. WWII was over before I was born, but I grew up watching glorified movies of the era. I have a feeling that these books tell a more realistic story of the heroism, fear, boredom, and abuse faced by those who served. It is worth the money and the time to read.
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on March 18, 2015
A great kindle bundle at a great price.

From Here To Eternity will shock some folks who have only seen the film. It is amazing that James Jones, especially in the stifling post war era, wrote such a candid, brutal and sexually vivid portrait of the peace time Army. The Pearl Harbor scenes, Jones was actually at Peral during the attack, are priceless. Peace time Pearl is not for Puritans.

The Thin Red Line is the best novel about the brutal combat in the Pacific during World War Two. Again Jones was there and was haunted by its brutality, savagery and utter inhumanity for the rest of his life. It is not a John Wayne view no glory lives here..only chaos, violence, fear, anger, pain, hate and death.

Jones died while writing Whistle but segments of it offer glimpses of his greatness. It is a look at recovering veterans, particularly PTSD inflicted World War Two ones, seldom offered in a flag waving era.
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on October 21, 2016
These three books, taken together, are a masterful study of the inner workings of the minds of soldiers-- both professionals and draftees-- in the context of impending conflict (From Here to Eternity), bloody jungle combat (The Thin Red Line) and the aftermath (Whistle) in which the wounded return "home" to endure the pain of physical and emotional rehabilitation, successful or not, before being confronted with the equally terrifying prospects of discharge from the service or being shipped out to fight again in another theatre of war. The same main characters, thinly disguised, appear in each of the three books. The books, while fascinating, are anything but easy to read because Jones, writing from his own experience as a serviceman in the Second World War, tells all of the truth. (Fair warning: anyone familiar with the movie version of From Here to Eternity, for example, can look forward to a lot more gritty, gut-twisting truth in the restored and now un-censored novel than he or she might naturally be expecting.)

Jones' writing style evolves over the course of the three novels, something perhaps to be expected since they were released over a nearly thirty-year time span. But always there is a sense that what is happening on these pages is completely real. The one big disappoimtment is that the final three chapters of Whistle were outlined by Jones, but not completed before his death in 1977 at the age of 55. The official line is that the book was "completed" from these notes by his friend Willie Morris, but that is stretching the truth. The final chapters read more like outlines; much of the rich inner life of the characters is missing. But if you have read all the way through the trilogy before encountering this, you might find (as I did) that the characters are well enough known to you by that point that your inner James Jones will be happy to fill in the blanks. Whatever you do, don't skip Whistle; in many ways it embodies Jones' entire point.

I heartily recommend these books, not just to World War II buffs and military fiction fans, but to anyone fascinated with the human condition.
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on September 14, 2014
This book shows life in the US military, warts and all. The trilogy begins prior to WWII and continues through Perl Harbor to depict the horrible events of the US war in the Pacific and the troop deployments in Europe.

This no pro-war novel. Every chapter asks the question, what was it all about? Rank and file soldiers are sent as cannon fodder into hopeless situations for, as one character puts it "property".

In this time of perpetual warfare this is an essential read for anyone thinking there was a glory time for the US military.
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on February 26, 2013
A fine book to read about the aspects of World War ll. To read a book like this is really special because it takes you back in time with our soldiers.
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on January 14, 2013
These are all books by a great author, so how could you possibly go wrong.
Thanks for such a great "deal" on classic novels.
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