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From Here to Eternity [Paperback]

JAMES JONES
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 30 1987
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

THE COMPLETE UNCENSORED EDITION • THE WORLD WAR II MASTERPIECE AS IT WAS MEANT TO BE READ • WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

 
Diamond Head, Hawaii, 1941. Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt is a champion welterweight and a fine bugler. But when he refuses to join the company’s boxing team, he gets “the treatment” that may break him or kill him. First Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden knows how to soldier better than almost anyone, yet he’s risking his career to have an affair with his commanding officer’s wife. Both Warden and Prewitt are bound by a common bond: The Army is their heart and blood—and, possibly, their death.
 
This new edition features an Afterword by George Hendrick, a James Jones scholar, who discusses the novel’s origin and eventual censorship at the hands of its first publisher. Now the original language has at last been restored to the most important American novel to come out of World War II. From Here to Eternity re-creates the authentic soldier experience and captures, like nothing else, the honor and savagery of man.
 
Foreword by William Styron        
 
“A work of genius.”Saturday Review
 
“Extraordinary and utterly irresistible . . . a compelling and compassionate story.”Los Angeles Times
 
“A blockbuster of a book . . . raw and brutal and angry.”The New York Times
 
“Ferocious . . . the most realistic and forceful novel I’ve read about life in the army.”The New Yorker
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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This is a long, satisfying, commanding novel of the soldiers who were poised on the brink of real manhood when World War II flung them unceremoniously into that abyss. Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt is the nonconformist hero who refuses to box at Schofield Barracks and is slowly destroyed by his own rebelliousness. Around him, others are fighing their own small battles--and losing. It's worth noting that Jones' 1951 audience was shocked by his frank language and the sexual preoccupations of his characters. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A work of genius.”Saturday Review
 
“Extraordinary and utterly irresistible . . . a compelling and compassionate story.”Los Angeles Times
 
“A blockbuster of a book . . . raw and brutal and angry.”The New York Times
 
“Ferocious . . . the most realistic and forceful novel I’ve read about life in the army.”The New Yorker --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Freedom is an inner Country. July 18 2004
Format:Paperback
"From here to Eternity" is a many-layered story. There are explicit and implicit levels to read it; in all of them this book is outstanding.
It describes with crude language the life in the Army in times of peace. In this case is the USA's Army just before Pearl Harbor, but the examples shown are universal and may apply to any Army in any country. At this level the class structure of Officers, Noncoms and Privates is shown with penetrating sight. The power relations, the subtle struggle amongst them, loyalties, abuses, solidarity, weakness. All these traits are depicted vividly thru the different characters that come across this epic novel.
At another level is the story of a young man. A Soldier. He is the epitome of soldiership. He knows what is due to the Service and what is due to himself. He sticks to these principles without regard of the cost. Robert Lee Prewitt is a natural fighter; he has enjoyed boxing until an accident on the ring changed him. He will box no more. Destiny puts him in a Company, where the commanding officer is trying to form a crack team in order to win the championship and enhance his career.
Prewitt is subject to increasing pressure to join the team. He won't bend. He will pay the price. He will remain Free in his hearth until the end.
But this is not all. Romance has its place too. Although unconventionally. Prewitt is in love with a prostitute. Sgt. Warden with his boss' wife. Still love is pure and real and touching.
Jones' opus requires the reader to get involved with the story. To cry and laugh with it. To get in touch with the deepest human emotions.
A major experience to be sure!
Reviewed by Max Yofre.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An authentic look at the pre-WW2 US Army. April 24 2004
Format:Paperback
What can one say about one of the most famous novels of all time dealing with the US Army? This novel is a very authentic look at what a life and career in the pre-WW2 US Army was like. The Army was riven with politics and waiting for a great war to begin. Jones tells an interesting tale of soldiers and officers in the US Army at Pearl Harbor and what their lives were like.
Put simply, the novel tells the story of a company of soldiers at Scofield Barracks, Hawaii shortly before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The Army is sleepy, not primed for war. The officers advance by politicking and one of the ways to politick in the peacetime Army was to have one's company do well in the divisional sports competition. The protagonist is a talented boxer who does not want to box. This turns into a test of wills between him and his company commander, who wants another boxing star in his company. There is much more to the story; this is a long and complex novel. The basic theme is that the Army in those days was a small, sleepy institution that would have to be (and was) transformed radically in order to take on the Axis. The novel is an interesting look at the Army as it was in those days.
Jones' writing is excellent and his characterizations are strong. The reader will come to care deeply about the various protagonists. This is a great story. My only criticism is that the book does not feature an uplifting or happy ending, and really, this is something of a dark and unhappy story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Easily one of the Greatest Books of our Age Feb. 12 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I first read "From here to Eternity" as a project for my high school senior English class on the reccomendation of a friends. While the sheer size of the volume was intimidating, I was not daunted and I am very glad I was not. It took me a entire month to read the book, but it was one of the best months of my life. "From here to Eternity" captures an immeasurably large spectrum of what it is to be human. Contrary to what I've read about it here and there it is not a love story, nor is it a war story, rather, it is a human story, one of the most dramatic and overpowering tales of human being I have ever read. One should not be intimidated by the size of the book, nor by it's first few chapters, becuase if one gives it time it will entrall beyond belief.
One would be hard-pressed to find a better twentieth century novel, perhaps a better novel ever. I reccomend this book to everyone I know that I think has the intellect and philosophical inclination to appreciate it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What Happens When You Disown The Here and Now? Sept. 10 2002
Format:Paperback
This book captures the mindset of how many enlisted military men think. Whether a war is about to happen, or we are at peace time, enlisted men enter the military, based upon the wonderful promises of adventure, heroism, and "be all you can be."
In the military social conditioning, those who enlist are taught to live for the military. They are taught to disown their limitations, feelings, needs and wants, for the good of military missions. This includes taking what comes your way, as being part of developing your right of passage.
The main protagonist in this story, Private Robert E. Lee, "Prew" Prewitt, finds himself constantly in trouble, amongst his peers, and with the girls that he chooses. But he won't allow the reality to be something to drive him to think of the here and now.
He is so removed from the here and now that he is willing to put up with anything, this includes being brutally beaten up, and being in the stockade. He has that conditioned military mind set of, "Oh. I can handle it. Bring it on."
What impresses me most about this novel is from page one, through the last page, there is so much to absorb, think about, process, and consider from so many angles.
Reading this novel offers readers a glimpse into the human condition, and a chance at making some pretty powerful decisions about living in the here and now.
When he witnesses another person being beaten to death, Prew becomes consumed with revenge. His commitment of revenge becomes self-fulfilling. Which leads him further down the path of destruction.
And what I most admired about this novel is
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars from here to Eternity
Wonderful to revisit one of my favorite movies of all time. I never knew it was in print with Kindle
Published 10 months ago by Donald Vandervoort
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite war novel
The novel starts off a little slow but turns into a magnificent story that is hard to put down.

The character development in this novel is excellent. Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2007 by J. Kucmierz
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best Novels About Army Life Before World War II.
FROM HERE TO ETERNITY is an American classic and one of the very best novels about army life before World War II. Read more
Published on Nov. 3 2003 by Patrick Doherty
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect example of why books are called "GREAT".
A truly great book, rich in insight and irony, which juxtaposes the personal against the backdrop of history. Read more
Published on Oct. 28 2003 by Killer Pooh
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just a War Novel
A very interesting portrayal of two different types of male hero. Both men are uncompromising in their philosophical approaches to life and love. Read more
Published on Sept. 29 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars From Here to Eternity
This book was amazing. I have to state, for the record, that I read James Jonse's "trilogy" out of order and completly inside out, reading The Thin Red Line, after seeing the... Read more
Published on April 25 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad publishing
I'm writing this review to warn people away from the new paperback edition of this book -- 1998 edition from the Delta divison of Dell Publishing. Read more
Published on March 25 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars A slow burn
If you've heard of this book, chances are you've seen - or at least heard of - the classic movie. Rest assured, no matter how many times you've seen the movie, there's a lot more... Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2002 by David A. Bede
5.0 out of 5 stars an epic study of masculinity
The Army serves as microcosm in this novel--not a particularly original or inspiring technique--but the probing depth of the character study displays a profound understanding of... Read more
Published on July 23 2002 by asphlex
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