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The Thin Red Line (1962)

by James Jones

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,1441312,473 (3.8)42
They are the men of C-for-Charlie Company. "Mad" 1st Sgt. Eddie Welsh, SSgt. Don Doll, Pvt. John Bell, Capt. James Stein, Cpl. Fife, and dozens more just like them, infantrymen in "this man's army" 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.… (more)
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Set in Guadacanal with the US fighting the Japanese.

Reminded me very much of The Naked And The Dead by Norman Mailer, it is definitely contemporary with that in terms of style and sentiment. From there it is not a great leap to Catch 22 except this isn't a funny book. I guess you'd call it gritty.

The author was in this fight and place and that comes through so clearly. As one of the older generation that has never had to go to war, the horrors are truly animated in this book. I'd be terrified, as were most of the characters in this book. There's no glory here, futility and luck come to the fore.

Although this was based on his experience, it reads like fiction, by that I mean that it flows and is coherent. All up a brilliant book. ( )
  Ken-Me-Old-Mate | Sep 24, 2020 |
Brilliant book adapted into an equally brilliant movie. ( )
  easytarget | Feb 6, 2020 |
Er gebeurde veel in dit boek, en toch ook eigenlijk niets.

Normaal heb je, als je eenmaal goed in een boek zit, wel een of meerdere 'helden' of favorieten. Dat overkwam me in dit boek niet echt.

Dit verhaal is verzonnen, maar toch geeft het wel de gebeurtenissen weer die de auteur zelf heeft meegemaakt in deze slag.

Het was een lange ruk om dit te lezen. Of moet ik zeggen, te beluisteren, want ik had dit boek als een audioboek gelezen. Misschien dat een echt boek van papier of e-ink me beter was bevallen. Het deed namelijk veel af aan het verhaal door de manier waarop sommige dingen werden verteld. Zo leek het mij alsof de verteller van het verhaal niet goed Engels kende, waarop sommige woorden en namen nogal vreemd over kwamen. Kon ook niet langer dan 15-20 minuten luisteren. ( )
  EdwinKort | Oct 18, 2019 |
I picked up this novel soon after completing the author’s From Here to Eternity. The Thin Red Line was intended to be the second book of a planned trilogy, picking up with the amphibious landing and fight for Guadalcanal.

As with From Here to Eternity, which focused on a military base in Hawaii immediately preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor, the writing in The Thin Red Line is historically authentic, having been written soon after the events depicted in the novel. The characters in the book, members of Charlie Company, are vivid and sharply drawn. The culture of the army unit, especially having to do with sexual issues, was educational for me. I had seen the movie depiction of the novel and my disappointment in the film actually caused me to delay reading the book. Suffice it to say, the book is far better than the movie.

My only quibble, and one that I also found in From Here to Eternity is the author’s assumption that the reader is familiar with army ranks and the various subdivisions in an army (i.e. squad, company, battalion, regiment, etc.). This becomes somewhat confusing at times, though not insurmountable. Slightly more troublesome is the absence of maps. The book is rife with topographical and geographic description, which would have been far more useful had it been accompanied by maps detailing the areas of operation.

All in all, an outstanding period piece covering one of the seminal military campaigns of our age. One of the best war novels I’ve read. ( )
1 vote santhony | Oct 12, 2015 |
The World War II classic by the bestselling author of From Here to Eternity and Whistle, now a major motion picture from 20th Century Fox. They are the men of C-for-Charlie Company--"Mad" 1stSgt. Eddie Welsh, SSgt. Don Doll, Pvt. John Bell, Capt. James Stein, Cpl. ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  Tutter | Feb 27, 2015 |
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This book is cheerfully dedicated to those greatest and most heroic of all human endeavors, WAR and WARFARE; may they never cease to give us the pleasure, excitement and adrenal stimulation that we need, or provide us with the heroes, the presidents and leaders, the monuments and museums which we erect to them in the name of PEACE.
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The two transports had sneaked up from the south in the first graying flush of dawn, their cumbersome mass cutting smoothly through the water whose still greater mass bore them silently, themselves as gray as the dawn which camouflaged them.
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They are the men of C-for-Charlie Company. "Mad" 1st Sgt. Eddie Welsh, SSgt. Don Doll, Pvt. John Bell, Capt. James Stein, Cpl. Fife, and dozens more just like them, infantrymen in "this man's army" 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.

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