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.
In listening to this famous book, I found myself longing for a Reader's Digest condensed version. Scenes and conversations go on far too long and retrace the same path--many times I rolled my eyes and said 'for god's sake let's move on!' The writing is awkward and self-indulgent, the philosophy espoused by the characters--often at great length--is complete gibberish. The characters themselves are maddeningly self-defeating and unfathomable. It's hard to identify with Prewitt, who seems incapable of making a single correct decision. The men are all misogynistic and in the alternate reality of this book, women don't really enjoy sex, they just do it so the men will talk to them. For all that, I must admit it did conjure up old Hawaii before the war very well, and it held my interest. I guess any character you get to know is interesting, but there are better writers out there than James Jones.
Note to the actor who read this: Adjutant is not pronounced ad-JOO-tent. M/Sgt is spoken as master sergeant, not m-sergeant. Others have commented on your Hawaiian name mangling and I concur. Your funny little voices were annoying, especially that of Stark. Less is more in that regard.
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
The reviews currently on Audible seem to be all over the place, in regards to this book, so I hope to make things clear. For what this book is, it is GENIUS.
It tells the stories of some of the "lowest men on the totem pole" in the US Army, prior to the US entering the war. You're not going to get the big battles, the big personalities (like MacArthur or Patton), or the big action. What you will get is TONS of tension and human conflict! Jones' ability to make these characters real is remarkable. The situations they find themselves in, while not the most exciting, are filled with drama.
The stakes are high in almost every scene, and the character are so fleshed out that we actually care what happens to them. The writing is some of the best I've ever read, in terms of transporting the reader into the gritty, terrible world that these men occupied on a daily basis. It wasn't pretty, but it was real.
The narrator was a mixed bag for me. Some of the time he seemed to be whispering, which was a bit odd and unnecessary. However, his different voices help the characters stand out, which is greatly needed when there are this many to keep track of.
Overall, if you enjoy WWII historical fiction, and want something that delves deeper into the human psychodrama of soldiers, instead of just the battles, this is the book for you.
Elijah Alexander manages to mispronounce almost every Hawaiian word except for 'Honolulu.' How uninformed does one have to be to pronounce Hilo Hattie's name as high-low Hattie? Imagine what he does with 'Wahiawa' and 'Haleiwa.' The narrator's ignorance of common Hawaiian names was distracting to the story, and should be an embarrassment to him and the publisher.
The book is a realistic book detailing the gritty experiences of soldiers in early WWII. The focus is on non-commissioned officers and enlisted men in the army. Readers will learn how these men thought and the decisions they made. My chief criticism is that the author never provided a hopeful answer to the fatalistic world perspectives of the characters.
Yes. It provides a "peak" into the mindset of those who have little hope in a world that appears to not reward the poor and downtrodden.
It would have been helpful to not read word for word. Since Jones used a lot of "he said's", Jones could have merely used different voices to avoid the constant refrain of "he said's."
Probably. The movie would be rather graphic and depressing.
work at a job that lets me listen to books all day I like history, good mysteries and humor
I enjoyed this story a lot and have thought about it quite a few times since finishing it. Good characters and flow to the story and dec 7 seemed very real and funny in ways too.
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.
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.
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.
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