THE THIN RED LINE
James Jones examines the bloody Guadalcanal campaign in his giant army story, after dissecting the hardcore army man in From Here to Eternity and bringing a World War II veteran back to his mid-Western home town beginning in some Came Running. In this new novel- without-a-hero, C-for-Charlie company itself is the protagonist- draftee and professional soldier; a "thin red line" of draftees and hardened regulars land on Guadalcanal on the heels of the Marine Beachhead landing, to follow in the bloody footsteps of those who went before them. C-for-Charlie Company is thrown into desperate truffle for honeycombed machine-gun nests. Well-drawn battle narrative provides take-off points for dozens of character studies, and the author describes emotional responses to battle, fear, death, homosexuality, along with detached, ironic comments on army organization and the workings of fate, luck and circumstance. The discipline of the short novel, The Pistol, has brought to Jones' accurate and sensitive description, a spare, direct dialogue related to a life and death world of men without women, men at war.