It had been 13 days since the company had shipped out of Schofield Barracks in Hawaii and rumors swirled about their destination. Now Blatt dropped a bombshell: Blatt, a Chicago lawyer in peacetime, had been in command of the company since before Pearl Harbor. Just before the men shipped out from Hawaii, regimental headquarters had canceled their leave passes, but they angrily blamed Blatt and 15 of them went AWOL.
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But Blatt—along with everything else—seemed to disgust First Sergeant Wendson. He hid his genuine concern for the men behind a sarcastic and bitter outer shell, and often waxed cynical about the country he served: I just wish the Goddam Jap would win this war, just to see how these millionaire bastards would cringe on their bellies.
The Thin Red Line (novel) - Wikipedia
He had one grand ambition: In The Thin Red Line , Jones would base the intelligent but emotionally fragile character of Corporal Fife, the company clerk, on himself. Jones had been with Fox Company for two years. After failing to make the boxing or football teams—and badly injuring his ankle—Jones kept mostly to himself. His closest friend, a Kentuckian bugler and boxer named Robert Lee Stewart, had been promoted, busted, and sent to the stockade multiple times before being reassigned out of the company.
Like Jones, fighting also influenced army artist Howard Brodie. Word circulated that Japanese planes had been seen approaching Guadalcanal. Jones prepared by securing a dog tag to each wrist and ankle, so that if he was blown up someone could still identify a piece of his body. Fortunately for Jones and his comrades, the company made it ashore before the Japanese aircraft reached the area. The men watched in horror and fascination as the enemy bombed the American transports. Jones drew from the incident in The Thin Red Line , describing its effect on the men pulled from the water:. They had crossed a strange line; they had become wounded men; and everybody realized, including themselves, dimly, that they were now different.
Of itself, the shocking physical experience of the explosion, which had damaged them and killed those others, had been almost identically the same for them as for those other ones who had gone on with it and died. The only difference was that now these, unexpectedly and illogically, found themselves alive again. He assigned Fox Company the toughest job: Their attack would be aimed at capturing two features: Fox Company was to next press on to take Hill At dawn on January 12, a thin line of soldiers in olive drab herringbone twill fatigues, their eyes wide and mouths open against the concussion of their artillery bombardment, clutched their rifles and hugged the dirt as shells whistled overhead and exploded.
Fox Company waited for the attack order.
The terrain ahead of them consisted of open, rolling hills, clearly visible from elevated observation points behind. From one such point, division commander Major General J. Patch waited to observe the attack; word spread that U. After capturing the Galloping Horse complex, the regiment advanced westward toward Kokumbona above, in another Brodie sketch , aggressively wiping out pockets of Japanese resistance. As Champ Jones fell, Japanese small-arms and mortar fire tore into Fox Company from the surrounding hills.
Despite a flurry of casualties, the company captured the forward ridges. Mitchell committed Easy Company to plug the gap and ordered Blatt to continue attacking across the wide, open ground. But Japanese fire from the distant western ridge kept Fox and Easy Companies pinned down; the men desperately sought shelter in shell holes or behind folds in the ground.
Mitchell demanded that Blatt continue to attack westward. Instead of going straight into the buzz saw and losing more men, Blatt wanted to pull Fox Company back, move through the jungle, and concentrate an assault on Hill 53 from the north. A furious Mitchell demurred, instead ordering Blatt to continue the frontal attack.
With Japanese fire tearing into his men, Blatt made a critical decision. He was desperate to succeed before his superiors.
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Otherwise he could never have given such an order. One of the shells exploded near Jones, throwing him through the air and wounding him in the head. There was not even time to connect it with himself and frighten him, before there was a huge sunburst roaring of an explosion almost on top of him, then black blank darkness.
He had a vague impression that someone screamed but did not know it was himself. Fife…suddenly realized that he was free.
The World War II Trilogy: From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, and Whistle
He did not have to stay here any more. He could simply get up and walk away—provided he was able—with honor, without anyone being able to say he was a coward or courtmartialing him or putting him to jail. His relief was so great he suddenly felt joyous despite the wound. Under the relentless tropical sun, afternoon bled into early evening as the companies tried again in vain to capture Japanese positions on the ridges.
Davis, a strapping, athletic Alabamian, was the battalion executive officer and volunteered to assist the men. For his bold leadership in eliminating a Japanese strongpoint, Captain Charles W. Davis received the Medal of Honor. Heavy fire from a hidden Japanese strongpoint on the reverse slope of the distant ridge brought the American assault to a standstill. Davis realized they had to locate that enemy position and led two others in a crawl along the east side of the ridge toward it.
These characters feel lived in and loved for all their flaws, their lack of happiness or stubbornness which causes them to forsake better choices.
The World War II Trilogy: From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, and…
While each story stands alone, the trilogy thematically connects throughout, and one fully experiences a real rarity in literature: May 02, Cyril rated it liked it. Read just From Here to Eternity. The other books are supposed to be sequels, even though the main characters have different names, and at least one of them has already died. Eternity is a really long book that I could not give the attention it warranted. Some of the plot is sensational, but the down-in-the-gutter exploits of some of the enlisted does ring true.
Because the focus is on the seamier side Read just From Here to Eternity. Because the focus is on the seamier side of military life, I found all the characters unsympathetic. It is fascinating to see the military becoming more professional in the background. Ryan W Taylor rated it really liked it Aug 29, Beth rated it it was amazing Dec 13, James rated it it was amazing Apr 20, Bob Sauerbrey rated it really liked it Mar 14, Linda J Piette rated it it was amazing Nov 14, John Struckmann rated it it was amazing Nov 18, John rated it it was amazing Nov 24, Richard Coleman rated it it was amazing Nov 07, Powers rated it it was amazing Aug 08, Chris Elder rated it it was amazing Dec 29, Y rated it liked it Mar 05, Craig rated it it was ok Jan 12, Jansen rated it it was amazing Jul 26, Andrew Flatley rated it really liked it Nov 24, Erin rated it did not like it Nov 26, Nick Corlett rated it it was amazing Jan 31, Tom P rated it it was amazing Dec 19, Phillip J rated it it was amazing Sep 26, Clark Maddux rated it liked it May 20, Amy rated it really liked it Oct 17, Lance Young rated it really liked it Jun 02, Bowman rated it it was amazing Nov 07, Jennifer rated it it was amazing Nov 26, Mark Bowers rated it it was amazing Apr 08, Deb rated it did not like it Dec 27, Sandra Burney rated it really liked it Dec 05, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.
His wartime experiences inspired some of his most famous works. The Thin Red Line reflected his combat experiences on Guadalcanal. His last novel, Whistle , was based on his hospital stay in Memphis, Tennessee, recovering from his wounds. Other books in the series. Books by James Jones. No trivia or quizzes yet. It was hard to accept that he, who was the hub of this known universe, would cease to exist, but it was an inevitability and he did not shun it.