The brass, NCOs, recruits, lifers, army wives, GI coffee houses, Green Berets, My Lai and the budget cuts, the Sheridan tank...

READ REVIEW

MILITARY MEN

The brass, NCOs, recruits, lifers, army wives, GI coffee houses, Green Berets, My Lai and the budget cuts, the Sheridan tank and the military's search for purpose, all here in an often heavy-handed impressionist scanning, part of which will appear in the Atlantic Monthly. Just, an ex-Washington Post correspondent, gained access to Fort Hood, Fort Lewis, and West Point and talked with officers, NCOs, et al. down the line. Despite the earthy verite writing, which aims at mood rather than analysis, the Breslin-Hamill effects fall flat (Just assimilated his impressions more successfully in To What End (1968), his Saigon memoir). The result is a long string of commonplaces about the army and army life. Military men fear the PR consequences of My Lai, believe their ""cause is just"" and their goal is ""to win,"" and venomously repeat John Lindsay's statement that the real heroes are the ones who won't fight in Vietnam. West Point cadets decry Mickey Mouse courses and dim future prospects. The brass fears a decline in leadership quality and complains of lack of discipline, widespread sympathy for AWOLs, and troops who ""negotiate"" with officers over Vietnam maneuvers. The sergeants, we learn, run the show, ""live and breathe the army,"" and talk in gritty Aldo Rayese. The generals: ""Put a star on a man's shoulder and he's a different man""; to get ahead you've got to be ""known,"" but remember ""Brains don't lock a man out, imagination does,"" so if you ""deny the status quo you deny your career."" Underlying such bald generalities is the theme that today's wars can't be fought with World War II ideas. Self-evidently true. (The short bibliography features Marcus Aurelius, Hemingway, Omar Bradley and the Armed Services Investigating Subcommittee, as well as Clausewitz and Eisenhower.)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 1970

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1970