From Here to Eternity

By James Jones,

Book cover of From Here to Eternity

Book description

'I'll never understand the fucking Army.'

Prew won't conform. He could have been the best boxer and the best bugler in his division, but he chooses the life of a straight soldier in Hawaii under the fierce tutelage of Sergeant Milt Warden. When he refuses to box for his company…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked From Here to Eternity as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

James Jones's brilliant debut novel must have had a great effect on me because I admit, in many ways, my book covers the same ground – how does a man maintain honor and dignity when constrained to live his life by the choices of other, and much more powerful men? I suppose the difference between our two themes is that the question in my book is about those same choices but wrapped in the question of race. Jones’s characters, while in the military, were dealing with personal issues. My Corporal Buck is dealing with an issue about which all of…

In this book, the home front is somewhere other than home. It’s the base soldiers are assigned to in Hawaii just prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. And it’s impossible not to get caught up with the lives, lusts, hopes, dreams, comedy, and tragedy that befall this cross-section of Americans. Because virtually everything happens just before war begins, emotions, motivations, and behaviors don’t have to take second place to a global maelstrom. All the human attributes of longing, desire, fear, hope, and sometimes honor, are dramatized with realistic intensity that makes the characters in this novel as memorable as…

There are many novels of the peacetime US Army, but most of them, such as Anton Myrer’s much-beloved Once an Eagle, are about officers (almost inevitably good) participating in epic historical events. Jones's book was one of the first to reveal the khaki-collar enlisted culture, the rigid caste line between officers and their troops, and the ruthless ambition and careerism that typified too many military leaders. At the time it shocked civilians (and outraged officers) with its harsh depiction of barracks life, the boredom and meaningless ritual, the obsession with sports, the drinking and prostitutes, and incessant brutal tyranny…

From Brian's list on the peacetime US Army.

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