[Reading] ➸ The Thin Red Line Author James Jones – Dolove.info
This is one of the greatest books on how World War II was fought in the Pacific it is also unparalleled in its exploration of the nature of war, especially on how it affects the psyches of those bound up in it It s the second of Jones trilogy on the Second World War All of the venues of the three novels were derived from his experiences Pre war Schofield Barracks in Oahu, the 1942 43 battles of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse on Guadalcanal, and in military hospitals The books are not autobiographical, but are deeply personal Jones served with the 27th Regiment of the 25th Division, which he transposed into his books Another novel outside the trilogy, Some Come Running has its roots in Jones experiences in returning to his hometown after the war.There is a rather large cast of characters in this book, almost all members of C for Charley Company of 1st Battalion, 27th Inf Reg., 25th Infantry Division Jones takes them across the Pacific in a troop ship and lands them on the beach at Guadalcanal The island had already been attacked by the U.S Marines, and C Company was among the forces reinforcing the original assault waves They all experience the shock of being moved into completely unfamiliar and hostile surroundings Jones bored into their thoughts and fears, and produced a work which debunked the traditional hero war novel The soldiers of this Company find out that they are in a world in which everyone is powerless about their fate You may or may not survive today, or any other days Heroics have no meaning One of the better known passages from the book has a soldier realizing that his actions, whether heroic or not had no point The world around him wouldn t change a bit, whether he lived or not There is a palpable scent of helplessness that permeates the pages I read this book twice The first time was not long after it was initially published It was getting great reviews as the follow on to Jones From Here to Eternity and it was a war novel, so I wanted to read it It was interesting and I kind of liked it, although, being in high school, I didn t quite get it I reread it a number of years later, probably influenced in my decision by the buzz surrounding the movie The book made much of an impression on me the second time.The 1998 movie is, in my opinion, one of the best films ever I know, there was an earlier film in the 1960 s, the less said the better about it I think the great Terrence Malick film is polarizing you may love it or hate it Generally, I think it got great reviews Some people are put off by the constant voice overs Again, I found this also improved with repeated exposure, like the book I wasn t quite crazy about the voice overs on my first viewing, but, on a recent showing, found them to be perfect mood setters, in line with Malick s style I think it is also exceptionally effective in his The New World This was his first feature in twenty years, and it has also been criticized by Malick s deviation of parts of the story from the book Among other things, the book has no narrator, and there is no opening sequence where an AWOL Private Witt is cavorting on an Eden with Melanesian islanders This book, however, almost defies any attempt to make into a movie, and I think it was a good choice by the movie studio to allow a director with Malick s stature to freely use his own interpretation of the book.Jones does an effective job of separating the realities of those suffering an ordeal, having their personal outlooks on life changed forever while living under seemingly impossible risky and dirty conditions, knowing that the world they are operating in is indifferent to their well being Some people get killed, some survive Everyone goes nuts in some way Sgt McCron takes this to the extreme by going completely insane, even exposing himself to hostile fire and thereby, by not being shot, proving the concept that life and death are random in this place When this unit finishes its assignment, it will re fit and reinforce before moving on to the next place it is sent without the ability of anyone in it to exert control over the matter. I had the same reaction to this as I did to From Here to Eternity, which is to say that the beginning was so irritating that it almost made me put it down, but I ended up glad that I didn t I haven t read too many other books that were written around this time, but the prose style in this seems lackluster Yeah, there are some poetic bits, but there are also bits that seem really lazy In the first handful of pages, for example, Jones uses the words unpleasant and supercilious to describe Doll at least four times each I normally wouldn t advocate using a thesaurus to help you write, because if you re having trouble thinking of synonyms, you ve probably got bigger problems But Jones definitely could have made use of one From Here To Eternity s full of similar things what I remember most of all was the construction he ed ly over and over again, page after page But both books characters grow on you via sheer force of repetition The Thin Red Line is much shorter, but it s still over 500 pages, and though there are tons of characters, almost all of them get enough page space to make a lasting impression.And Jones clearly has a good sense of what motivates or demoralizes soldiers, and communicates it well In particular, I found the interactions between enlisted men and officers pretty fascinating At one point, several men of varying ranks go off on a special mission, and succeed Afterward there s a lot of backslapping and promises of medals Unfortunately, they don t seem to come through, which seems to be a pretty forceful statement about the army s regarding men as tools and nothing But then, eventually, they do get their medals unexpectedly So what does that mean I m not sure about that one, exactly I am, however, sure about this novel s classic status It s worth a read, and it seems like it s better than the 1998 Terrence Malick film, which is itself supposedly pretty good, although I haven t seen it. They Are The Men Of C For Charlie Company Mad St Sgt Eddie Welsh, Pvt St Class Don Doll, Pvt John Bell, Capt James Stein, Cpl Fife, And Dozens Just Like Them Infantrymen Who Are About To Land, Grim And White Faced, On An Atoll In The Pacific Called Guadalcanal This Is Their Story, A Shatteringly Realistic Walk Into Hell And Back In The Days Ahead, Some Will Earn Medals, Others Will Do Anything They Can Dream Up To Get Evacuated Before They Land In A Muddy Grave But They Will All Discover The Thin Red Line That Divides The Sane From The Mad And The Living From The Dead In This Unforgettable Portrait That Captures For All Time The Total Experience Of Men At War Foreword By Francine Prose Brutal, Direct, And Powerful The Men Are Real, The Words Are Real, Death Is Real, Imminent And ImmediateLos Angeles TimesA Rare And Splendid Accomplishment Strong And Ambitious, Spacious, And As Honest As Any Novel Ever WrittenNewsweekA Major Novel Of Combat In World War II Reminiscent Of Stephen Crane InThe Red Badge Of Courage The Christian Science Monitor The Thin Red Line Moves So Intensely And Inexorably That It Almost Seems Like The War It Is DescribingThe New York Times Book Review I really love James Jones s books As a former military man, he brings the story of war in such vivid color that you don t get from any thousand blockbusters Think Saving Private Ryan Then toss that into a bin Completely not like that There s melancholy, there s sadness, there s mad happiness in what s essentially total despair and chaos.Don t expect a happy ending, only a bitter sweet one Don t expect miracles, because there won t be any, only a bunch of human stories coming together loosely, only because they happened to be there at the same time, and sought meaning to their participation in madness, to try to justify the pain, the loss, and the lack of logic Don t expect heroes or extraordinary people, because they are all just ordinary folks who got pulled into war.One of them wrote a book.We don t know who JJ was, but I surely know who his favorite is If you re read From Here to Eternity, you will see some common characters come and go Part reality, part memory, part artistic embellishment, but they must have existed somewhere sometime, and they found themselves in another war story, because you can t have a war story without them.I think this book is ever so slightly less powerful than FHTE, but it s still damn good I can t tell you , as it will spoil the story A bunch of green soldiers, thrown into the Pacific hell on the island of Guadalcanal It can t be pretty.JJ has his unique style that touches the heart Like Joseph Heller, like Leon Uris, this man writes his life, so you can t not be affected by what he s telling And you know that in some way, some form, somewhere, it happened Brutal, meaningless, inspiring, heroic, terrific.No limericks, as they aren t befitting the genre.Roger, over and out.Igor Consid r comme un grand classique de litt rature aux U, La Ligne Rouge est le deuxi me volume d une trilogie que James Jones crit sur le role des am ricaines dans la guerre du Pacifique Ce roman autobiographique d crit les exp riences de l auteur dans la bataille de Guadalcanal 7 ao t 1942 9 f vrier 1943 laquelle il a particip comme caporal d infanterie C est un excellent roman pour tous ceux qui d sirent mieux comprendre la culture et la soci t am ricaine Comme la grande majorit des romans de guerre chez les am ricains, on d crit les v nements du point de vue des simples soldats et des sous officiers Les officiers ne font que des rares apparences Une raison pour cette tendance est qu il y a beaucoup plus de simples soldats et sous officiers am ricaine qui veulent devenir crivains La deuxi me raison est que les maisons d ditions am ricaines sont conscientes du fait que le public am ricain s int resse plus aux exp riences des simples soldats qu aux celles des officiers En fait, les officiers appartient une caste assez d test aux U.Avant de lire La ligne rouge , je recommande aux membres de GR de lire le premier volume de la trilogie de Jones Tant qu il y aura des hommes ou From Here to Eternity o Jones explique comment et pourquoi les am ricains n aiment pas les officiers de leurs forces arm es et de fa on g n rale cr e le contexte pour que l on va trouver dans La ligne rouge. War is hell I first came across James Jones novel with the Terrence Malick film released in 1998 In that year there were two amazing popular war films released, the other was Spielberg s Saving Private Ryan I liked them both However the Terrence Malick film was the philosophical and held a deeper meaning than that of Spielberg, but both are different films, different theaters of war and different messages It has taken me twenty years since then to finally read James Jones novel The book comes in at just over 500 pages long, with chapters amounting to sometimes near 100 pages with no break inbetween So sometimes it became a grind, but not an unpleasant one because I found that I became attached towards certain characters, of which there are so many that it does become confusing to work out and remember casualties, being transferred elsewhere and so on There is a roster at the beginning which helps understanding who is who in C for Charlie Company, that the book is concerned with Guadalcanal August 1942 The start of the fightback against the Japanese in the South Pacific, centering on The Solomon Islands, the first invasion of a Japanese held location after their initial success in late 1941 As stated, the book focus is centered around a specific Company C for Charlie who are reinforcements for the Marines who assaulted the island earlier on Green troops with no combat experience essentially I will try and compare the book with what I remember of the movie, because a lot is different, but some sections totally is as written in the novel They are both different, and yet deal with the philosophical aspects of warfare basically the futility of it all The main part of the book and film deal with the attempt to take Hill 210 , a well dug in emplacement by the Japanese The relationship of the characters is the most prominent aspect rather than any military excercise here, leading to conflicts with the company commander Stein and the Battalion commander Colonel Tall , Stein being hesitant about sacrificing his company against the assault which eventually after 4 days of combat with no water, high attrition rates and so on, they eventually take That part of the novel was well detailed in Malicks film However, I believe the Terrence Malick film is probably the better medium to use rather than the long winded book, but the book has the most merit in essentially describing the relationships between the men, the dissension within their ranks, the fleshed out character portrayals, the caste system within the early American military things like that are, and cannot be translated onto film, unless you want Oliver Stone to make a 4 hour epic journey Terrence Malick covers the essential nature of the book into an over 2 hour visual portrayal incredibly well War is hell It is an anti war book, the loss of life, the inter linked characters and their idiosyncrasies, their conflicts, combat numbness you basically become immune to the shellings, the wounded, the deaths whilst being on the line after a certain period of time, etc are quite realistically portrayed I do not know who wrote the script of the movie, but the two most interesting characters are Witt and Fife in the book In the film, after the capture of Hill210, then they are exaggerated completely and the ending is totally different than the novel Most people would say in most instances the book is usually better than the film version which I agree with, but with the Terrence Malick film of The Thin Red Line, I think in this instance, because the novel is quite long winded, and with artistic license, then the film basically does do what the book attempts to portray, maybe in a much emotional way Good book, 5 stars, will read again in another twenty years. See my review on From here To Eternity I thought that this would be a let down after that wonderful book but had no issues at all Fine book indeed Now to try and force my self to read the final book of the trio. If I saw this in a bookshop, the likelihood is I d walk straight past it without a second glance I have little to no prior experience with war writing I m not sure whether to count The Book Thief something like this isn t the kind of thing I d normally read, but I m so glad I did I won t go into too much detail about the plot no spoilers , but the basic premise of the novel is that it follows a group of US troops, C for Charlie Company , and depicts their experiences during the Guadalcanal campaign in World War Two The book goes to some pretty dark places at times it can be very violent and unsettling, and there s a lot of profanity and sexual references If this doesn t bother you, then I would definitely recommend it Things I liked How realistic everything was. Jones evidently knew what he was writing about he makes a military campaign that might otherwise have been boring translate perfectly onto the page The narrative is constantly moving, even in the quieter moments when the action finishes with one character, a seamless transition in the omniscient POV takes us to another member of the company, and the story continues This allows Jones to show us all aspects of military life Although the combat scenes were well done, I personally preferred seeing what the troops got up to in their free time Some of the moments when they were roaring drunk genuinely made me smile The characters are so well drawn you can easily believe they are were real people I wasn t really expecting to get attached to the characters, since I was reading it purely for a school assignment and wasn t sure how much it would engage me, but there was one particular moment view spoiler just before Chapter 7 hide spoiler I saw the 1998 movie version of this book in theaters when it came out I remember that I was completely mesmerized and transported by it It was a movie about war unlike any I d ever seen before it was mostly quiet and internal Walking out of the theater, I found out I was pretty much alone in my enjoyment of it people all around me said it was slow, boring, pointless I mention this because I think the movie version prepared me for the book, which is probably just as divisive.The story floats among a wide cast of characters as they arrive on Guadalcanal A special note at the beginning of the book points out that the terrain and battles contained in the book are fictitious, but that Jones placed the imaginary battles on Guadalcanal because of the emotion the island evoked You meet Pfc Doll, Cpl Fife, Sgt Welsh just about everyone has a simple, one syllable name which is also a word Band, Queen, Tall, Bell, Dale, Witt, Field, Cash, Beck At the beginning, they re green recruits who miss the relative comforts of army life in a non combat zone and one where it s not constantly raining , apprehensive about what lies ahead Shortly, as they re thrust into the thick of fighting, they become battle tested veterans How they react to their experiences is varied, and we are privy to each man s thoughts, reactions and self assessments The inability to ever really know what s going on in someone else s head is a theme visited frequently You often see things from than one point of view what caused someone to act like they did, or what they were trying to convey, and how it was viewed by someone else.I think that you have to just surrender yourself to the experience of the book Jones terrain may be fictional, but he is absolutely certain about how it looks and feels He transports you to the humid, muddy island, its jungles and rocky hills The progress made toward the next target is often slow, then suddenly shots are fired and you re thrown into confusion People act heroically for the wrong reasons, cowardly for the right ones, and the reverse of both of those as well The soldiers are frustratingly human, and occasionally disturbingly inhuman If you re looking for Band of Brothers, this isn t the war experience you want to read about The men of C for Charlie company aren t members of Tom Brokaw s Greatest Generation, they re just scared young men wondering how they can keep their fear from showing They fight because there s no way to get out of it The book explores the idea that a war is fought by an army, but the army is made up of individuals who are each fighting their own war They all have go through the same things, and yet no one experiences them the same way Through a number of different characters, Jones repeats the idea that many people were going to live through this war than got killed in it, and you realize its value as a mantra when you re in a life and death situation that often seems to be a lottery.Recommended for fans of Catch 22 and or The Things They Carried, anyone looking for an antidote to the romanticizing of war, people who know better than to get too attached to characters in a war zone.Quote It was easy to see, when you looked at it from one point of view, that all prisoners were not locked up behind bars in a stone quadrangle Your government could just as easily imprison you on, say, a jungled island in the South Seas until you had done to its satisfaction what your government had sent you there to do. ,.