THE PISTOL by James Jones


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Not a major novel this, but those of us who felt that From Here to Eternity showed immense promise and its successor, Some Came Running, was a ghastly letdown, will be heartened. For here again is that rare perceptive quality which cuts at the very heart of man's feelings, which reflects the interrelationship of men, thrown into close contacts with little but the immediate situation to link them. The story this time revolves around the very human need of men in war for a sense of self-protection, and of one man in particular, PFC Richard Mast, who kept a pistol he was supposed to turn in after guard duty, because of the sense of security it gave him. That the opportunity occurred on December 7th, 1941, when the first bombs fell on Wheeler Field, made it a symbol to all of the men in his unit. During a span of duty, engaging successive small units, Mast went through every kind of attempt to get the pistol from him. Here in brief compass is one small area of the early days of war, the hardships without actual or imminent danger, the frustrations and yearnings of men- no heroes or villains, but just ordinary men -- etched with sharp perception and understanding. Jones has proved that he doesn't need the false props of salacious depravity to give substance to his characterizations.
Pub Date: Jan. 12th, 1958
ISBN: 0226391868
Page count: 162pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1958


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