Diamond Head, Hawaii, 1941. Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt is a champion welterweight and a fine bugler. But when he refuses to join the company's boxing team, he gets "the treatment" that may break him or kill him. First Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden knows how to soldier better than almost anyone, yet he's risking his career to have an affair with the commanding officer's wife. Both Warden and Prewitt are bound by a common bond: the Army is their heart and blood...and, possibly, their death.
In this magnificent but brutal classic of a soldier's life, James Jones portrays the courage, violence and passions of men and women who live by unspoken codes and with unutterable despair. The most important American novel to come out of World War II, this is a masterpiece that captures as no other the honor and savagery of men.
©1998 James Jones (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
This story of an army base on Oahu in the months preceding the Pearl Harbor attack is over-written but absorbing nevertheless, despite a so-so narration. The two-track plot follows the fortunes and love lives of a sergeant and a private. It effectively delineates the military and social attitudes and divisions of the time, including casual racism and antisemitism and an interesting dip into the homosexual demimonde in Honolulu. But It's a show-offy literary performance featuring NCO's debating dialectics, Shakespeare-quoting whores, and a zen master in the stockade. The author never used just one simile if he could think of five, and invented adverbs if actual ones weren't available. (This book would have driven Elmore Leonard mad.)
The narration is well-paced, considering the heft of the book, but the reader 's accents and vocal characterizations of the cast are off base at best and annoying at times.
I bought this in a special Audible sale/promotion of unabridged classics, and question whether it was really worth my time despite the special price.
Wine, food and travel writer, editor, novelist.
The characters are cardboard cliché’s, the dialogue laughable, the plot boring, the pace plodding, and the writing atrocious. I am truly shocked by how poorly written this book is, particularly as it won the National Book Award. Virtually every page (or minute) has paragraphs that could win “The Bad Hemingway Contest.”
The narration is also among the worst I’ve heard (out of hundreds) and seriously diminished the experience. If you are a writer and bemoan your lack of talent, read this book — it will make you feel so much better about yourself.
turning it off
His characters are absolutely horrendous. Had to turn this off after a few hours. I tried to listen, but the voices he makes make it impossible to listen.
Like many books, the film adaptation of this book is nothing like the actual writing. The book goes into rich detail and fleshes out characters that are barely mentioned in the film. The book is far better than movie, only the two are not really comparable. The reader does a great job and makes listening enjoyable - important in a book of this length. So enjoy it.
James jones has said with this book all the things I've always felt but could never express in words regarding the human condition. Love and death and religion and everything in between swirl together seamlessly in the vortex that is part story and part life. This is a fine book.
The author can (and does) wax poetic about gambling bouts (including smoking piss-soaked cigarette butts) but all women are whores to be "shacked-up" with; we don't even get the usual whore-saint dichotomy. Frankly, the men don't treat each other much better, but women take the brunt of the author's anger. The book lacks even the minimal romance of the movie. I bought this during a two for one credit sale, and would have returned it if I had paid full price.
Neither. Don't like the story, don't like the narrator. The narrator is very disrespectful of some of the characters, and gives them voices and vocal ticks I've never heard, and are very irritating.
Don't write any more books
I gave it one star, because negative stars wasn't an option.
This book is "Solid" in terms not just a fluff book you read and forget and move on to the next read.
The book makes you think a bit.The story is not contrived especially the romances. It is somewhat closer to real life than "romance" novels.
The beginning was a bit slow.
I almost abandoned the book, but hung in there.
The setting is at a army base but a lot of the book was about people and the characters. For the time and morals of the American culture when the book was published it was quite racy.
WOW. Great book!
Closest book like this I can think of is "A Prayer for Owen Meany".
The horrible mispronunciations of Hawaiian words (it took me forever to realize that 'Wahoo' was supposed to mean O'ahu...) was commented on earlier but even Spark's Texas accent is bad - just dropping your voice and adding some cool to it doesn't make a Texan!
But I do believe it fits the book: the characters are totally flat just like what we always thought Army life is all about. I only made it through 1/3 of the book though - the reading was just too bad.
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