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Behind the Lines by W. E. B. Griffin
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Behind the Lines (1995)

by W. E. B. Griffin

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Near the beginning of WWII, the last remnants of the American forces in the Philippines are improperly ordered to surrender to the Japanese invaders, but many refuse and either escape or go into hiding. On the island of Mindanao one of these men, a self-proclaimed brigadier general, Colonel Fertig, cobbles together a band of American and Pilipino irregulars to commence an organized resistance against the Japanese occupying force.

This a story of how an intrepid group, authorized by President Roosevelt, attempts to make contact with and determine the efficacy of this General Fertig, and whether his force should be recognized as the United States Forces in the Philippines and thus should be supported.

There is no question that Griffin is a masterful storyteller who chooses historical events that can be fictionalized into a great read, who researches his topic in great depth.

While this is one of his Marine Corp series, I have to admit that I have not read them in sequence, as is the case with his other series. Most of his novels I’ve picked up at thrift stores and used book sales, and I’ve made no concerted effort to complete or read these novels in sequence.

When I purchased ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ I also picked up ‘In Danger’s Path’ published 3 years later in 1998. I began to read that novel first, but after 40 pages I set it aside and will not deign to read it. It was so larded with supporting detail and character background that I felt like I was wading through a history textbook with little in the form of a story to draw me into it.

Thankfully ‘Behind Enemy Lines’ turned out to be a novel in the literary style of the Griffin I’d become accustomed to. It opened right into the story using characters I’d grown to know from previous novels and for whom I’d acquired a taste.

Great story based on historical settings using real life people presented with reasonably accuracy, coupled with a host of believable, yet fictional characters.

However, there were two patterns that were quite annoying and marred the read for me. First, all of the characters were repeatedly referred to by their complete name, service, rank, and position. Second, in just about every scene where a new or repeat character was introduced, the type of weapons he was carrying were described in exacting detail, such as a 1911A1 .45 ACP Caliber Colt pistol, when a .45 would be more than sufficient. I have no doubt a few thousand words could’ve been shaved off by deleting these woefully unnecessary redundancies. Naturally I began to skim past these repetitions, as well as the character’s supporting background.

That said, and being as how I was recuperating from the reinjury of my back, I finished the book in 3 days. Perhaps a record for me. For those who enjoy a great military read, this is worth the annoyances. ( )
  DavidLErickson | Aug 19, 2014 |
If not the best, then right there near the top of The Corps books I've read so far. "Killer" McCoy is put in charge by the top brass (think Brigadier General Fleming via Douglas MacArthur and President FDR) to establish contact with guerilla forces in the Philippines to establish their viability as a rebel force against the Japanese during WWII. Full of emotion, politics, and some intense action scenes, this book was the perfect addition to this series. ( )
  utbw42 | Jul 29, 2013 |
Great book ( )
  rzornow | Sep 10, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0515119385, Mass Market Paperback)

Behind the Lines is W. E. B. Griffin's powerful novel of World War II -- and the courage, patriotism, and sacrifice of those who fought it.

By 1942, the Japanese have routed the outnumbered American forces and conquered the Philippines. But deep in the island jungles, the combat continues. Refusing to surrender, a renegade Army officer organizes a resistance force and vows to fight to the last man. A Marine leads his team on a mission through the heart of enemy territory.

And the nation's proudest sons fight uncelebrated battles that will win -- or lose -- the war . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:43 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Refusing to surrender despite the odds against the American forces in 1942, a renegade Army officer organizes a resistance force while a Marine leads his team on a mission through the heart of enemy territory.

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