Rally Round the Flag for Cold War comedy

Rally Round the Flag, Boys is a tale of the Cold War era written by Max Shulman, the man who gave the world Dobie Gillis. As you might expect, it’s stupid stuff, but funny.

Second Lieutenant Guido di Maggio has been ordered to Fairbanks, Alaska. He doesn’t want to go. He has a girlfriend back home in Putnam’s Landing, Connecticut, and he doesn’t want to leave her.

When Guido hears a Nike missile facility is being built in Putnam’s Landing, he gets himself appointed PR man for the project, much to the dismay of Captain Walter Hoxie, assigned to head the base. Hoxie hates civilians and anybody who likes civilians.

Determined to keep out of Alaska, Guido maps his strategy and makes a strong start. People rally around the project.

A few teenage boys are unhappy that their girlfriends are throwing them over for soldiers, but Guido doesn’t notice until it’s way too late.

All the book’s characters are drawn with sit-com strokes. There’s not enough substance to any of them to make a good novel, but Shulman makes them credible for as long as it takes to tell the story.

You’ll enjoy Rally Round the Flag, Boys the day after you have 24-hour flu.

Rally Round the Flag, Boys
By Max Shulman
Doubleday, 1957
278 pages
#4 on the 1957 bestseller list
My Grade: D+
© 2007 Linda Gorton Aragoni
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Linda Aragoni

I'm passionate about helping people learn through the medium of nonfiction writing. Although I occasionally have an idea of my own, I mostly build education tools by recycling and repurposing other folks' ideas.

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