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From Here to Eternity (The World War II Trilogy #1)

4.08  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,681 Ratings  ·  299 Reviews
Diamond Head, Hawaii, 1941. Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt is a champion welterweight and a fine bugler. But when he refuses to join the company's boxing team, he gets "the treatment" that may break him or kill him.

First Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden knows how to soldier better than almost anyone, yet he's risking his career to have an affair with the commanding officer's wife.

Hardcover, 816 pages
Published April 2004 by Gramercy (first published 1951)
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Nov 04, 2015 Algernon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

I feel exhausted, emotionally drained, as if I had run a marathon, all dressed up in full military kit. Reading James Jones is often hard work, but there is also the satisfaction of reaching the finish line and knowing you achieved something great. Because, even as I think that a good editor could have cut the text in half and still achieve the same effect, I know that James Jones has captured the spirit of army life in the 1940's flawlessly, that the ocean of trivial details from the live
Jan 08, 2013 Jeff rated it it was amazing
For years this has just been that "super-long WWII novel about Hawaii during Pearl Harbor" that I knew was supposed to be good but never could bring myself to read. So when I finally read it, I was pretty surprised that it wasn't anything that I was expecting.

This is held up as a WWII novel. But its NOT a war novel. It's a novel about peacetime soldiers. The book takes place over the full year of 1941, and Pearl Harbor happens near the end, and is not what the book is about.

This is a book about
Jul 29, 2011 Corto rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hell of a book. Feminist characters. Cuckolded husbands (actually, everyone gets cuckolded). Homosexuals debating (at length) the nature of their sexual orientation. Proto-Hippie gurus. Non-conformist rebels. And, an Army story in there somewhere too. Must've been very heady stuff for 1951! I can't believe it was even published back then. Great book. Great summer read. Could've used less "grinning".

Oh yeah- (not to make too much of an understatement) if you've seen the film you've really only s
May 30, 2012 Rozzer rated it did not like it
Shelves: america, reviewed, fiction
It's really very interesting. Not this book, which is in my view a complete waste of time, but the whole concept of the middlebrow novel, a genre that has disappeared. Being new here at Goodreads, I've spent quite some time wandering around and jiggering all the bells and whistles. And I've seen hundreds and hundreds of book titles and authors, both those chosen by members and those otherwise included and promoted on the website. And while of course I can find old mid-20th Century middlebrow nov ...more
Oct 10, 2015 Gary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the movie with Frank Sinatra, Montgomery Cliff, Burt Lancester, Deborah Kerr. I have had the book on the shelf for probably close to 30 years,and never read it till now. I need to rewatch the movie again now...this book is great.....I enjoyed it,and it went into a lot more details about the characters lives, then any movie ever could,and it was heavy on the military life, and what it's like to be a soldier in those days.

I would recommend this to anyone...and it's a first in a trilogy, whic
Daniel Villines
Aug 16, 2013 Daniel Villines rated it it was amazing
Society can be considered a fabric that surrounds us. It’s a warm blanket that has been pieced together to suit our way of life and our collective needs. Society, keeps us safe, wards off isolation, and also defines the possibilities of our success. But society is not tailor-made. It is lumpy where it’s been stretched and binding in the places that have never been touched. Regardless of who we are, however, we must live with the fit that society affords us or suffer the consequences of living wi ...more
May 30, 2008 Mike rated it it was amazing
How can a book about war, with no war in it, be so damned compelling? This is a total masterpiece.
Jun 07, 2010 Adam rated it it was ok
After hearing nothing but good things about this book I couldn't wait to read it. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I think it was a New York Times Review that said this book was "The best book to come out of WWII". Obviously they didn't read "Battle Cry" by Leon Uris or "Once An Eagle" by Anton Myrer and a whole host of other books that I found to be much better reads. I'm all about setting the scene and giving the reader a real since of what the character is feeling. But wh ...more
Lee Anne
Sep 13, 2009 Lee Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are apparently three options for the Army men serving in Hawaii in the days just before Pearl Harbor: get an island girl (or some other Asian or Pacific Islander) in a shack; visit one of the many, many local whorehouses (if you have $15, apparently you can even go "around the world"); or get liquored up courtesy of a wealthy, gay sugardaddy. That was a scene you didn't see closeted Montgomery Clift and Frank m-f-ing Sinatra play in the movie version. And it was one of the many surprises i ...more
Julie G
Sep 10, 2012 Julie G rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Originally published by Scribner in 1951, James Jones' novel was heavily edited to, purportedly, get it past the censors of the time. To present a more tasteful image of life in the military. Now, thanks to Jones' family and OpenRoad Media, we can read the book as it was written.

In the wake of the Depression, military service was the only option for many young men in America. Men who were poor, poorly educated, or poor of spirit had few choices in the early 20th century.

On an Army base in Hawaii
John Alt
Mar 14, 2014 John Alt rated it it was amazing
When James Jones died the Army lost one of its own. Here was a soldier, a man with an abiding regard for things military. Many novelists treat war and the Army but only with a passing interest. They write one book and get it out of their systems. For Jones, From Here to Eternity was the start of a lifelong study of what it means to be a soldier. To the day he died he thought like a soldier. Other writers delve into high society or family life or la vie boheme. Jones was at his best when he explo ...more
Oct 29, 2013 Owen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of course,” you hear them say, “the book was much better than the movie.” And while we’ve heard this observation time and again, no one really elaborates as to why. Then, too, I suspect that in instances when the movie was the original, inspired creation, and the book was the one riding the coattails—as in the novelized versions of Dark Knight and Terminator—the opposite is true. The movie is much better than the book. Someone else might have to corroborate this idea, because I, for one, have ne ...more
Now I know why this story looks so familiar to me: a movie was made based on this booK:
From Here to Eternity (1953)
with Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr.

From IMDb:
In 1941 Hawaii, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second in command are falling in love.

May 10, 2012 Aaron rated it it was amazing
This book is grim and dark, but also beautiful and wonderful. Each character is believable and understandable, and that makes some brutal events in the book have that much more impact. I mean that both in the sense that as a reader I sympathized with characters as events happened to them, but also in situations where I understood why a character acted out negatively or in a self-destructive way.

Jones' style can be a bit tricky to follow, especially when he launches into a long stream-of-consciou
Alden Weer
Jul 24, 2015 Alden Weer rated it it was amazing
WARNING: Este review incluye cebadura que puede herir su objetividad.
Después de leer Moby dick, sentí que tenía que crear una categoría más arriba de la que ocupaban mis libros favoritos. Podía elegirla como mi novela favorita o no, pero lo que me parecía indiscutible es que en volumen me había ofrecido mucho más que cualquier otra anterior. Tenía símbolos tan fuertes que podían usarse de mil maneras, y tan fascinantes que me impulsaban a hacerlo, no una sino varias veces. Me daba la sensación d
Czarny Pies
Sep 29, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who has heard tales of life in the army.
From 1940 to 1973 all able bodied men in United States army were required to serve in the American military for 2 years. During this 33 period there were 16 years of war and 17 years of peace. The experience of military service spawned many excellent novels reflecting on life in the military and on the military vocation. From Here to Eternity is one of my favourite in the bunch.

Although, From Here to Eternity might be classified as a war novel because the events of the last several chapters take
Geoffrey Benn
Jul 02, 2014 Geoffrey Benn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
“From Here to Eternity,” by James Jones, is an unusual novel in that its subject is life in the military, not during war, but in peacetime. Specifically, the novel follows the lives of two enlisted men, Warden and Prewitt, who are stationed in Hawaii during the year leading up to the attack on Pearl Harbor. At its core, it is a novel about how people respond to being trapped by their circumstances. Prewitt, who I think is the novel’s most compelling character, feels that he cannot take any actio ...more
Jun 20, 2012 Richard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an epic-sized book of almost nine hundred pages which takes place in the late-1941 months preceding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Despite the book's size, I don't remember ever being tired of the thing. It is totally engrossing, due mainly to the indelible characters who populate it.
The main character is Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt, an ex-bugler who has just been assigned to Company G of an infantry regiment stationed at Schofield Barracks on Oahu. He did extracurricular servic
Jul 05, 2011 Rachel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Please re-title as "Reading for Eternity".

This book is WAY too long. My version was 852 pages. And I disliked most of them. I could have read it in far less than the 5 months it actually took me, if I hadn't kept putting it down and picking up more interesting books.

James Jones can be a very good writer, but not as good as he thought (or others thought) he was. I hated the stream of consciousness portions with sentences that went on for inches and paragraphs that were almost the length of entire
Dec 29, 2014 AndyS rated it it was amazing
The beginning was a bit slow.

I almost abandoned the book, but hung in there.

WOW. Great book in the end!!!

Closest book like this I can think of is "A Prayer for Owen Meany"

BTS: Stockade scenes were actual events from personal experience from the author.
Aug 01, 2014 Beth rated it it was amazing
Even if you have seen the movie you don't know the full story. In fact the version I read (on Kindle) is a restored version with all the cut words and passages that 1950's censors would not allow for publication. Character development was incredible and to me that was the book's strongest feature. Jones allows the reader to see the heart and the soul of the main characters. The story is based on Jones' personal experience in Hawaii in the US Army and ends with the bombing of Pearl Harbor. This b ...more
Rex Fuller
Mar 29, 2016 Rex Fuller rated it it was amazing
Started this once, long ago at an age when it meant little and the length at over eight hundred pages was daunting. This time, I could hardly put it down. What it says came through clear, recognized, felt, and understood.

Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, 1941. The peace-time Army, ill-prepared for the war that everyone sees coming, is the backdrop to the universal themes of love and war between men and women.

The bad-boy Private Robert E. Lee Prewitt, his lover Lorene, clueless Captain Dana Holmes, his
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
Now, after reading this book I can only summarize it by saying that it involves drinking, disreputable women and coarseness of language and humor. Only the permissive ones will enjoy.

"There is no greater happiness
Than to imagine a good book
which you are about to read."

I can imagine-
the thrill,
the joy,
the happiness,
and most of all the experience.

From Here to Eternity! The title alone sends my heart beating very fast. I have the book. It's on my hand. Previously it's been lying on my shelf and eve
Mar 24, 2008 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Neal Dench
Feb 12, 2016 Neal Dench rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Goodness, what an experience this book was. My goal for 2016 is to concentrate on longer books, and this, at just shy of 1000 pages, was the first. And what a book it was. It's misogynistic, homophobic, and racist. But that's almost a requirement of the subject matter, as it's just a reflection of many of the characters. It's also probably one of the finest books I've read, and a great reminder of what I love about American literature. The prose flows, at times almost poetically, while remaining ...more
May 18, 2015 Doug rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My impetus for reading this came via an odd, circuitous route - I was listening to the recently shuttered, flop London musical based on the novel, and read that it, in turn, incorporated material from the uncensored, restored version of the book that had only been published a few years previously. I was intrigued that, among many other emendations, a lot of material about gay activities in the peacetime army had been excised. Not really remembering a lot from the award-winning film (or the subse ...more
Considering one of the most iconic love scenes in movie history came from “From Here to Eternity”, I was quite curious to read the book it was based off of (heck, I didn’t even know there was a book) by James Jones. While I wanted to like it, in the end, it didn’t meet my expectations and ended up just being happy to have finished it.

I don’t read many books whose focus is on the military and the men and women involved, but I have a feeling that FHTE is unique in its portrayal of military life. I
Dec 04, 2012 wally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jones, time-passages
1st from jones for me. i'd read the name in heller's memoir, Now and Then: From Coney Island to Here: A Memoir...never read the story, although i'd heard/read about it...perhaps saw it on the shelf a time or recall if i saw a movie w/the same title...and figured now is the time to give it a read.

this version is...edited & w/an afterword by george hendrick...the kindle version, "the restored edition"...

story is divided into five books:
the transfer
the company
the women
the stockade
the r
Apr 04, 2011 Miriam rated it liked it
I think that this book relies on a series of paradoxes, but I'm not sure if they are legitimate paradoxes or things that feel true but don't bear much scrutiny. Like people always kill the things they love. That the things people love end up destroying them. And then there are the proverbs about life in general. That unrequited love (or love not made permanent by marriage, kids, and a picket fence) is preferable to socially-validated love because if you have to live the conventional life you'll ...more
Yair Ben-Zvi
Sep 22, 2011 Yair Ben-Zvi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic uneven tidal force of a book. Reading it I couldn't help but get impressions of Melville's "Moby Dick" because like that work this book feels the summation of a lifetime of feelings, experiences, thoughts, aspirations, doubts, failures, and rage. The emotions of rage and disappointment in this book are so thick they're almost seperate characters unto themselves.

First, the negatives. This book is long and at times iceberg slow. Also, being a first novel, James Jones' style isn't alway
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James Jones! 7 31 Mar 16, 2014 07:16AM  
National Book Awa...: 1952 - From Here to Eternity 3 15 Nov 13, 2011 11:10AM  
National Book Awa...: Prew? 1 10 Nov 05, 2011 02:29PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Ramon Jones was an American author known for his explorations of World War II and its aftermath.

His wartime experiences inspired some of his most famous works. He witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which led to his first published novel, From Here to Eterni
More about James Jones...

Other Books in the Series

The World War II Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Thin Red Line
  • Whistle

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“That was one of the virtues of being a pessimist: nothing was ever as bad as you thought it would be.” 2215 likes
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