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From Here To Eternity (1951)

by James Jones

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: World War II Trilogy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,660277,278 (4.01)124
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. . .in the most important American novel to come out of World War II, a masterpiece that captures as no ther the honor and savagery of men. From the Paperback edition.… (more)



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» See also 124 mentions

English (26)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)

As usual, I liked the book more than the film. I think the only parts that grated were where relatively unsophisticated soldiers engaged in deep conversations about Art and Literature which felt a bit like the author talking to his imaginary friends. As noted above, the character of Maggio is much less well developed and the women get relatively less viewpoint time than in the film. But in general it's a lot more substantial, a lot more frank about sex and complex emotions; several particularly good subplots were cut from the script; the army of Jones' novel may not have any black soldiers, but it does have Jews and Indians, unlike the army in the film; the Hawaii of the novel has a lot more non-white people than the Hawaii of the film. And it's very well written, tensely close to the geography of 1941 Honolulu, to the point that one can follow Prewitt's track from Alma and Georgette's house to the fatal golf course quite readily on the mapping app of your choice. It's a darker story than the film (which is already dark enough); Warden and Karen's relationship is considerably more rocky on the page (there's a grim passage where they sneak away for a romantic break and discover that they can't actually stand each other's company for more than an hour or so) and Prewitt's final disintegration is recounted at length. I think it's a rather old-fashioned book, in that it's really all about the men, but it's pretty gripping all the same. ( )
  nwhyte | Jan 29, 2019 |
This novel was a real eye-opener for me. I had not yet watched the iconic movie with Burt Lancaster, Debra Kerr and Frank Sinatra when I read the book, so I felt compelled to view the movie after I finished it. There are many differences between the book and the movie. Firstly, this is a big book. There is no way that all of it would have fit into a two-hour movie. Secondly, the US Army insisted on extensive edits before it would allow its personnel, land and equipment to be used in the movie. All the cursing, prostitution, homosexuality and suicide was excised for the film. Most of the violent discipline was also deleted. Thirdly, some characters were hugely revised. Last but not least, the language in the song, "Reenlistment Blues, " was cleaned up.It was helpful for me to be able to see actors portraying the characters I had read about. It was even better to be able to hear the melody to "Reenlistment Blues."After finishing the book, I saw on a trivia site that more than 85% of American army recruits had homosexual experiences in WW II. I asked my father about this. I do not recommend that anyone else try asking that. ( )
1 vote Patricia_Winters | Jan 10, 2018 |
The book is more realistic and detailed but the movie is more entertaining. ( )
  Brava10 | Nov 25, 2017 |
In Hawaii in 1941, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second-in-command are falling in love. (IMDb) ( )
  DrLed | Nov 4, 2017 |
A very good novel indeed. I am surprised that so few Library Thingers possess a copy. The story of a soldier who wants to do a simple hitch in the army. He falls afoul of military politics, and the various levels of it lead to his tragic death. There are numerous well realized characters and a genuine feel for time and place. Time for a revival of this work.
I read it at least twice. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jul 7, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 26 (next | show all)
Reminded me a bit of Celine, unmitigated pressure, a cross between hell and purgatory set against the backdrop of paradise in the Hawaiian Islands.

» Add other authors (25 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James Jonesprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kliphuis, J.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schrag, OttoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The sphinx must solve her own riddle. If the whole of history is in one man, it is all to be explained from individual experience. Emmerson.
I have eaten your bread and salt.
I have drunk your water and wine.
The deaths ye died I watched beside,
And the lives ye led were mine.
--Rudyard Kipling
Gentlemen-rankers out on a spree,
Damned from here to Eternity,
God ha'mercy on such as we,
Ba! Yah! Bah!
--Rudyard Kipling
To the United States Army
First words
When he finished packing, he walked out on to the third-floor porch of the barracks brushing the dust from his hands, a very neat and deceptively slim young man in the summer khakis that were still early morning fresh.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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