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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