Battle Cry mingles boredom and terror

Ship sinking after Pearl Harbor attack Dec. 7, 1942
Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1942

Battle Cry is a fictional account of a “gang of beardless youths” who enlist after Pearl Harbor and are molded into a Marine “battalion of invincible boys” under the leadership of Maj. Sam Huxley.

The narrator, known only as Mac, tells mainly about his boys who on first sight are, “an anemic Indian, a music lover, a lumberjack with ten thumbs, a farmer, a feathermerchant, …the All American boy… [and] a renegade trouble maker.”

Most of the novel is boring. The men drill and hike,  drink and  hike, play poker and hike, talk about women and hike faster, gripe louder and hike even faster and further with heavier loads.

They curse Huxley for their misery and idolize him for never asking more of them than he demands of himself. They take pride in being “Huxley’s Whores.”

Battle Cry was Leon M. Uris’s first published novel. It suffers from the usual problem of first novels—insufficient practice—and the usual problem of historical novels: making the story fit the history.

A battalion is too many characters to make a good story. Novelists ought to follow Marine Corp’s procedure and look for a few good men.

Battle Cry also does what a war novel should do: it makes the non-boring parts of war so horrific readers wish for boredom.

Battle Cry
by Leon M. Uris
Avon Books paperback edition, 2005
692 pages
1953 bestseller # 4
My grade C
© 2013 Linda Gorton Aragoni

Published by

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.

One thought on “Battle Cry mingles boredom and terror”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.