Hey! Now - (Don't get me wrong here) - I certainly don't expect every book that I pick up to be a "quik-read" - But - Let me tell ya - (At 860 pages) - This sprawling work of fiction, by James Jones, sure cried out for some serious editing. Yep. It sure did.
This semi-autobiographical book took a very pessimistic and belligerent look at being an American soldier (living amongst one's fellow soldiers) stationed in Hawaii throughout WW2 (before, during, and after Japan's attack on Pearl Harbour).
Published back in 1951 - As you're sure to find out - The Hollywood movie-version of "From Here To Eternity" is so shamelessly sanitized that it's actually hard to believe it was, in fact, really adapted from Jones's graphically negative book.
*Note* - In 1977 - James Jones (56 at the time) died of heart failure.
(*Watch "James Jones" video-clip*)
I was planning a trip to Pearl Harbor and thought I'd read this first. Man, it is long. James Jones's classic (he also wrote "The Thin Red Line," which is better) is a heavyweight of a book: big, brawling, boozing, brawny. Like some of Mailer's novels (he also wrote a WW2 book), it knocks you around until you've had enough. I'm not sure if Jones had an editor on this, but he certainly could've cut some parts from this over 800 page doorstop. For those who've seen the movie, which is much more streamlined, this is much more vulgar and seedy, with whorehouses, "queer" bashing, racial slurs, and liberal use of the f-bomb. I didn't dislike it, but it was a bit of a long slog (it'll only feel like an eternity!) and I'm glad to be done with it. PS: the title comes from Kipling.
1952 National Book Award - Fiction
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