From Here to Eternity Shows Hell of Peace Time Military

Hundreds of novels tell us war is hell. In From Here to Eternity, James Jones tells us the peace-time military isn’t any better. The officers are incompetent and unethical, the enlisted men social and moral misfits.

Everyone knows it is just a matter of time until America enters World War II.  The military looks like a ticket out of the Great Depression.

Shiploads of recruits have are stationed in Hawaii waiting for their time to fight the Germans. The infantrymen of A company spend their time boozing, brawling, gambling, and queuing for sex at one of the thriving brothels.

The officers are similarly occupied except that instead of brawling they connive for promotions in a dignified manner.

When the characters are not passed out drunk, they talk. They don’t make sense, but they talk. Mostly they talk in slang, but occasionally they break into long paragraphs that sound like transcripts from a graduate philosophy seminar.

From Here to Eternity is 860 pages of mind-numbing detail about people you wouldn’t want in your living room doing things you don’t want done in your town.

You have better things to do from here to eternity than read this boring book.

From Here to Eternity
by James Jones
Delacort Press, 1951
860 pages
My grade C+

© 2011 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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Linda Aragoni

I read. I write. I think. I make big ideas simple. I help teachers teach expository writing to teens and adults. In my free time, I read and review old novels.

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