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The Thin Red Line: A Novel Paperback – Feb 9 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback; Reprint edition (Feb. 9 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385324081
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385324083
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #151,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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The two transports had sneaked up from the south in the first graying flush of dawn, their cumbersome mass cutting smoothly through the water whose still greater mass bore them silently, themselves as gray as the dawn which camouflaged them. Read the first page
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Grant Waara on Jan. 24 2004
Format: Paperback
This is the best combat novel of World War II infantry ever written. The second of an autobiographical trilogy planned by Jones (with "From Here to Eternity" being the first, and "Whistle" planned to finish the storyline) it covers the shortest span of time, and it is also the shortest. But it is probably the most intense and I think, the most gripping. Avoid Terrence Malick's cinematic version which I think missed Jones' vision by a mile.
In this novel, we see "C for Charlie" company's struggle for some fictional territory on Guadalcanal in late 1942. It carries some of the most intense sequences of infantry combat ever committed to paper (one of the most harrowing is the company clerk, Bead and his run-in with a roving Japanese soldier while attempting to relieve himself is particularly effecting to make it all the more remarkable, it's based on Jones' own personal experience).
I can't recommend this masterpiece highly enough. Jones has captured for all time, the sights and smells of infantry combat better than anyone before or since. Read it. You won't be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
"The Thin Red Line" is not your average war novel. I've read books like "Battle Cry" and "The 13th Valley", and while they explored the feelings and experiences of soldiers in combat, neither of those books - or any similar novels I've read - discussed war in terms used in your average college course.
"The Thin Red Line" discusses war in the terms of an intellectual exercise, although there's also plenty of action throughout the novel. This does not make it a bad novel, but it does make it into a different type of war story than you may be used to reading. You need to understand that going into this book, or you may not want to keep reading it.
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Format: Paperback
The Thin Red Line is not a bad book, in many ways it's a great book. It's just that there is a thin line between great and OK. And Jones almost gets there but never quite hits the mark like the movie does. While the book strugles with divining what the thin red line is, the movie makes it crystal clear.
The movie which adds haunting poetic mystery to the world yet able divine a story of good and evil, love and hate, beauty and ugly, fear and bravery, etc. and that thin line between them. Add to that great acting and beautiful fliming.
Someone made a better movie then the book.Is that's the ultimate praise of a movie? Maybe not, but someone did it.
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Format: Paperback
I can only say that I believe all reading is worthwhile, so reading this book wasn't a complete waste of time. I found a great deal not to like about this book. First, and most important, Jones doesn't give the reader any characters that are very likeable at all. If he had presented one even remotely worthwhile character, it might have made the experience a bit more tolerable and worth seeing through to the end. Second, he so overwrites the thing that after about 100-150 pages you start hearing a voice in the back of your mind begging for it to end. I began to wonder if he challenged himself to see how many different ways he could describe Welsh's grin or whether he just kept inserting references to it, slightly varied, to fill words on a page. I also began wondering if he challenged himself to try and refer to every act of war as some kind of erotic, sexual thrill. Further, I believe he overdoes it with the references to homosexuality - totally degarding the memory and dignity of every soldier who's served his country. Finally, while I've only read this one book by Jones so I haven't anything to compare to, he seems to needlessy inject far too many '$2 words,' which to me came across as almost condescending. I've always been trained that when it comes to art 'less is more.' All that said, there were a couple compelling and relatively well done battle sequences. However, by the last 30 pages or so of the book, I just quit. Why? I really didn't care about any of the characters or what happened to them and had had enough already. Needless to say, I wouldn't recommend the book, nor would I be inclined to read anything else by James Jones.
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By R Takamoto on Aug. 23 2002
Format: Paperback
George Plimpton has stated that "The Thin Red Line" contains the best writing about war ever put on paper--"better than Tolstoy, better than anyone."
Irwin Shaw has said that one of the key obligations of novelists is "carrying the news of one generation to those that follow. If you want to know what it was like to be alive and be an American soldier during World War Two--not only in the foxholes of the front lines but in the bars, on the parade grounds, on the hospital ships and military hospitals. If you want to know what it was really like to be alive and walking the streets of 1941 Honolulu or 1943 Memphis, or to fight on Guadalcanal, then you read James Jones. He has carried the news and will be read hundreds of years from now by those who want to understand this war and this era."
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Format: Paperback
I have always liked the James Jones trilogy of the war era army--
"From Here to Eternity"
"The Thin Red Line"
"Whistle"
"From Here to Eternity" details in unmatched accuracy what the pre-Pearl Harbor
professional army was like for the enlisted man.
"The Thin Red Line" carries that army and those men into combat in the Solomons
with the same honesty and intensity.
"Whistle" takes men wounded in combat home via hospital ship and stateside
rehabilitation center.
Most people have heard of "From Here to Eternity" and "The Thin Red Line" because
they have been made into movies.
"Whistle," the concluding, and in many ways the most important volume of the
trilogy, is less known.
Jones has always dwelt in the shadow of the more famous Norman Mailer. But I
have always thought of Mailer as poseur who wrote what he wrote in order to be
accepted into literary society and become famous. Jones has always seemed to
me the real deal. He enlisted in the army in 1939, was at Pearl Harbor when
the Japs attacked, fought in the Solomons, receiving the Bronze Star with V for
Valor and the Purple Heart.
With the money he made from "From Here to Eternity," Jones founded a writer's
colony and paid the hospital bills of the great and tragic poet Delmore
Schwartz, who clearly influenced Jones' writing. See especially the poem "For
the One Who Would Take Man's Life in His Hands" from the collection "Summer
Knowledge" published in 1938.
Read more ›
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