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The Thin Red Line

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The Thin Red Line Cover

ISBN13: 9780385324083
ISBN10: 0385324081
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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" 1st/Sgt. Eddie Welsh, S/Sgt. 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.

Review:

"Brutal, direct, and powerful...the men are real, the words are real, death is real, imminent and immediate." Los Angeles Times

Review:

"The Thin Red Line moves so intensely and inexorably that it almost seems like the war it is describing." The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"A major novel of combat in World War II...reminiscent of Stephen Crane in The Red Badge of Courage." The Christian Science Monitor

Review:

"A rare and splendid accomplishment...strong and ambitious, spacious, and as honest as any novel ever written." Newsweek

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

lukas, January 28, 2014 (view all comments by lukas)
Like most people, I saw Terrence Malick's excellent film version before reading the book. Malick uses the basic structure and setting, but adds his own lyrical/transcendental touch to it, as if a copy of Emerson were left on top of Jones's novel and they bled together. Based on Jones's own experiences in WW2, "The Thin Red Line" is a tough, gritty, powerful, and sometimes vulgar account of men fighting in Guadalcanal. Aside from the combat, he also deals with the tensions and relationships in the company. I feel this a much more successful of a WW2 novel than Mailer's overpraised "The Naked and the Dead." Jones's other major novel was "From Here to Eternity."
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PhineasGage, May 1, 2009 (view all comments by PhineasGage)
A simple explication of James Jones’ book, The Thin Red Line, would be a novel of World War II in the pacific theater and the American men who experienced it. It is evident however, that Jones intended to leave the reader with more than just a fading memory of a war story. He intricately takes the reader into the lives of C-for-Charlie Company and their struggle to survive against the Japanese on Guadalcanal. The reader comes face to face with each of their encounters and witnesses each soldier’s reaction to the gruesome realities of war. In this novel, Jones gives a more honest perspective of war than seen in the movies and novels driven by the entertainment industry. As a veteran of this battle himself, James Jones is able to bring his own personal experiences into his writing. This fact is important to note before beginning the novel, as it allows the reader to trust its contents more completely. This is especially relevant for a book in this genre, as society’s view of war is often misconstrued by Hollywood movies and the media. Jones thus provides the reader with a more accurate look into World War II and the soldiers who lived and died in it.
The novel begins on a large military sea vessel, where the characters are introduced and the reader is given insight as to what each of the men were like before the war. The soldiers of C-for-Charlie Company then embark on a series of attacks on Guadalcanal where the rest of the novel takes place. When all of the fighting is over, the men pack up, and board a new ship destined for a new island and the same old fighting. Jones masterfully shifts between several characters throughout, allowing the reader to view the development of each soldier and how he reacts to the combat. While the novel is written in 3rd person omniscient, by following individual soldiers one at a time, the reader becomes better acquainted with each character and their outlook on the war. This technique allows the reader to take in more than one perspective and thus have a greater understanding of the events that take place. Some of the men come to excel as soldiers of war, while others fail as cowards. This is the case for Cpl. Fife, a clerk, who explains after a Japanese air raid that "when he laughed and joked after a raid, it was plain to him that his laughter was more shaky and less sincere than the other's laughter" (92).. It is comments like this, that make each of Jones’s characters so relatable. They depict real people who were thrown onto an island and ordered to kill. They have fear, anger, loneliness, cowardice, and bravery. These characters are not just war heroes who sacrificed their lives, but everyday men who lived and died in unimaginable circumstances.
While the C-for-Charlie Company endured the physical battles together, every character fights his own war from within. Each soldier strives to come to his own conclusions of war, its purpose, or the role they play in it. The theme of the book is the range in these differing notions and ideas. This is best summed up in the last lines of the novel where Jones writes “One day one of their number would write a book about all this, but none of them would believe it, because none of them would remember it that way.” (510) Jones knows firsthand the gruesome horrors of war, and describes it in graphic detail, but also demonstrates the necessity and inevitability of it. Each soldier comes to terms with the war in his own way, and each undergoes a profound change. In the end, the characters are not the same people as they were in the beginning. Jones proves to the reader that while war is a horrible and disgusting aspect of humanity, it is nevertheless there and very real. Jones does not attempt to glorify war, nor does he disgrace the men who have fought in them. He simply presents an honest depiction of war and leaves it up to the reader to decide.
James Jones’s novel, The Thin Red Line throws the reader right into the dirt, sweat and blood of war. His descriptions of battles are so exhilarating and heart pounding that the reader fears to go on, and yet begs for more. Jones provides numerous characters for the reader to fall in love with (or hate) and thus opens the novel up to a myriad of different readers and personalities. The novel flawlessly moves between each mans inner dialogue allowing the reader to view the war from multiple perspectives. This is a novel of war, of fast-paced, fearsome, grotesque, real war, and is a masterpiece deserving of appreciation by all.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385324083
Author:
Jones, James
Publisher:
Delta
Author:
Prose, Francine
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
World war, 1939-1945
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
American fiction (fictional works by one author)
Subject:
War
Subject:
War stories
Subject:
World War, 1939-1945 -- Fiction.
Subject:
World War, 19
Subject:
War & Military
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Military
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
19980231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
544
Dimensions:
8 x 5.23 x 1 in 0.85 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Military

The Thin Red Line Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 544 pages Delta - English 9780385324083 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Brutal, direct, and powerful...the men are real, the words are real, death is real, imminent and immediate."
"Review" by , "The Thin Red Line moves so intensely and inexorably that it almost seems like the war it is describing."
"Review" by , "A major novel of combat in World War II...reminiscent of Stephen Crane in The Red Badge of Courage."
"Review" by , "A rare and splendid accomplishment...strong and ambitious, spacious, and as honest as any novel ever written."
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