28th out of 78 books — 36 voters
The Long March
In the blaze of a Carolina summer, among the poison ivy and loblolly pines, eight Marines are killed almost casually by misfired mortar shells. Deciding that his battalion has been 'doping off', Colonel Templeton calls for a 36-mile forced march to inculcate discipline. The Long March is a searing account of this ferocious ordeal - and of the two officers who resist.
Published October 4th 2001 by Vintage Classics
(first published January 1st 1952)
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(showing 1-30 of 356)
Pitch perfect prose. An easy read because the singular event of the title is the only action. Your mind cannot wander because the events are elaborated and explored until the lemon has given up all its juice. It's as if Styron's written a paragraph for each step of the journey. You go through it with the soldiers. The ultimate irony is that at a certain point the journey I was taking as a reader started to seem pointless. Where was I going and why? At the end, I wondered why I'd begun. This poin...more
So far, my enjoyability statistics with Styron are 50/50. Absolutely LOVED Sophie's Choice, Nat Turner, and Lie Down in Darkness. But Darkness Visible, Tidewater Morning and now The Long March were sadly wastes of time in my humble opinion. If you were ever in the military during peacetime, you might recognize a few character traits here and there, but so what? That means he only did some recollection or some research. For a better story about men being pushed beyond the breaking point, I'd reco...more
The more I read of Styron, the more I enjoy. His language is simply sublime. The rhythm, the description, even in novels like this that are not necessarily "Southern" in subject, are nevertheless Southern in nature. And his ability to create character, whether it's Nat Turner or Milton Loftis in Lie Down in Darkness or the raging Captain Al Mannix in this novel, is beyond compare (except in Faulkner of course). While this novel was not as compelling as Nat Turner, I still found it an enjoyable a...more
Read this very quickly-- line by line an excellent meditation on the inanity of war. The narrator, who survived WWII and remained in the Marines as a reserve, is called for duty when Korean War breaks out, making his peacetime prosperity seem like a dream. That it takes place under "the Carolina sun" rather than in Korea makes it all the more effective as a study in the pathological absurdity of military exercises.
Styron's a fantastic crafter of sentences and situations. I probably would have rated this higher if I'd read it before I read Karl Marlantes' Matterhorn. This is very similar in tone and attitude, but but a very narrow focus. Not bad, but not Matterhorn either. That's an unfair comparison, honestly, but that's what my brain kept going back to as I read this.
If you've never been in the military, and want to better understand the life of a soldier, read this book. For those of us who have been in the military, the theme of the commander's motives make a lot of sense. It's not the full story, though. Joseph Heller can get you caught up on all the catches.
It made me recall marches like this at USMC infantry training, also in the Carolina sun where, after an hour or so the wrinkle in the bottom of your sock seemed like a razor blade, and the rattle of a loose buckle in your helmet liner like hammer blows. I lack the art to remember them so poetically.
I’ll say one thing for war: it has produced some fantastic books. The Long March is perhaps not among the very best I’ve read on the madness of military life. But it’s a powerful, provocative story that stirred up the dying embers of rebellion in my contented middle-aged belly.
I think there was so much more to say at the end. My problem not being that it is a novella, rather that the end was abrupt and left you looking for the next chapter. I guess I'm always looking to have the end neatly tied up and you will not get this in this book.
This is one of the first books I ever fell in love with. Granted I picked it because it was approved for my college lit class and was very short. If I would have picked another author I probably would not have rekindled my love for reading. What can I say Awsome little book that touches to boundries of insanity lol.
William Styron (1925–2006), born in Newport News, Virginia, was one of the greatest American writers of his generation. Styron published his first book, Lie Down in Darkness, at age twenty-six and went on to write such influential works as the controversial and Pulitzer Prize–winning The Confessions of Nat Turner and the international bestseller Sophie’s Choice.More about William Styron...