Skip to comments.Freeper Reading Club Discussion: "From Here To Eternity"
Posted on 01/12/2003 2:39:55 PM PST by PJ-Comix
The Freeper Reading Club now stands at 131 members which makes it (I believe) the LARGEST Reading Club on the Internet. Actually it may be the LARGEST Reading Club anywhere.
Anyway, I hope that most of our 131 members read the current assignment, From Here To Eternity by James Jones. This is perhaps the GREATEST novel ever written. I think it qualifies for THE Great American Novel. Many of you might not know this but most of the characters in this book (and in James Jones' other novels) were based on REAL people. The minor character of Slade (the Army Air Corps soldier) was based on James Jones himself (Jones transferred from the Air Corps to the regular infantry while stationed in Hawaii.)
I'll post more about all this as the discussion continues so post away your comments about this book. Oh, and if anybody else wants to join the Freeper Reading Club, Freepmail me and I'll put you on the Ping LIst.
The other major character that surprised me was Sgt. Warden. He had his own ways of doing things, but his goal was to have the best company at the base. Which it appeared he achieved. Overall, I did find the book interesting, and if it is an accurate picture of pre-WWII military life, anyone who was in before WWII started deserves any medal they may have received, and possibly a couple of more.
Prewitt and Warden banter back and forth good-naturedly, finishing Warden's bottle together and then sit in the middle of the road "to get hit by a truck." But they are picked up by Lt. Culpepper's driver who is obviously disgusted at the "mutual backslapping society" as they both call each other "the best f'ing soljer in the Compny..."
But even in his drunken state, Warden knows that Prewitt is doomed to soon to end up in the stockade for one reason or another, and he feels very badly about it.
I wonder if there are more college papers on the subject of James Jones? I sure would like to read them.
Back to FHTE. After reading the thread, I think most people missed the relationship between Prewitt and Warden. Warden sees himself in Prewitt. Prewitt is Warden and while the top kick sees the soldier in Prewitt that he can become, he also sees the independent streak in Prewitt that was somewhat extinguished in Warden. Prewitt, though he needs the "sea daddy", the mentor, that Warden can be, resents Warden looking out for him.
What are my favorites parts in the novel? The stockade experience and how Prewitt realizes that nearly anyone placed in that type of authority can become a Fatso Judson. When the one buck sargent that fought Prewitt kills himself. He is one that went all the way with the homosexuals. After being beaten by a little man - Prewitt - he doubts himself and his manhood and believing himself to be a fag, kills himself. Jones description of this one act that can never be taken back or corrected is awesome. It is somewhat ironic, that the actor that portrayed Prewitt in the movie - Montgomery Clift - was an homosexual. I know it is off track, but one part in the movie I loved is when Frank Sinatra takes a chair and hits Fatso Judson (Ernest Borgnine) upside the head with it. One of the great American novels and a fantastic movie.
Check out my Fiction As History link in Reply #43. The reason why this description was so great was that Jones' own father committed suicide. You will also see how Jones' family in the Midwest used to be in the upper crust of his town but eventually were lowered by economic conditions to a hard scrabble life.
James Jones is my favorite author and I have read nearly everything from him.
So you must have read Go To The Widowmaker. I quickly realized that the main character was DIRECTLY based on Jones himself and did a lot of personal research on that book. I found out that every character I researched was based on a real person and that the incidents were true. I think I'll have to read Jones' Merry Month Of May about the student/worker strike in Paris (he used to live there) in 1968.
BTW, Jones was a visiting professor down here in South Florida around 1974-1975 at Florida International University. He was perfectly content to stay on since he liked it here but FIU stupidly refused him a minor salary increase. This is the same FIU that freely spends money to give students free massages and pizzas (I plead guilty to grabbing a few slices myself the other day). The point is FIU was incredibly short-sighted by refusing the minor salary increase and allowing American's GREATEST novelist to slip away.
You can find it HERE.
If you like scuba or skin diving you might want to also check out his Go To The Widowmaker. It is considered the best book about skin diving ever written. Many folks who skindive but aren't really into literature have told me about this book, not even realizing who the author is. They just like the book.
Go To The Widowmaker is an good read, but Some Came Running, his second novel I believe, is actually better and right on par with FHTE. Thanks for the link.
I think I have Some Come Running lying around here somewhere. I'll have to see if I can find it. I understand there is a long version of it which I would prefer to read.
I just think it's ironic because we seem to have come full-circle. For the "tailormades" have become so expensive due to oppressive taxes that even the affluent have taken to rolling their own again.
Actually with the cigarette making machines now they can roll really good ones. There was a thread here once about that.
BTW, I just started reading a book by the same guy who wrote Watership Down, Adams. This book is called Traveller and is about Robert E. Lee's horse of the same name and told from its point of view. So far the book seems really terrific and it would probably make a great cartoon movie.
Mrs. MacKenzie of the Victoria Club?
Anybody else out there ever hear of Traveller the book?
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