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From Here to Eternity
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From Here to Eternity

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  10,058 ratings  ·  244 reviews
Winner of the National Book Award, this bestseller describes army life in Hawaii on the eve of Pearl Harbor.
Mass Market Paperback, 960 pages
Published November 3rd 1991 by Laurel (first published 1951)
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HA
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...more
Rozzer
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
Jeff
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...more
Adam
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
Daniel Villines
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
Julie G
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...more
Mike
How can a book about war, with no war in it, be so damned compelling? This is a total masterpiece.
Lee Anne
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
Rachel
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...more
wally
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 two...no 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
...more
John Alt
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
Aaron
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...more
Owen
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
Czarny Pies
Sep 29, 2014 Czarny Pies rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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...more
Amy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Geoffrey Benn
“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
Beth
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
Richard
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...more
Miriam
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 Bezalel
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...more
Corey
First off, this is a very solid mid-20th century American novel. It's not quite as well written as Norman Mailer's 'The Naked and the Dead,' one of its notable WWII relatives, but is probably superior in terms of character exploration.

This is an interesting book in that it clearly shows a writer who has great insight and ideas, but whose style is, at times, immature. An over-reliance on manufactured adverbs sometimes distracts the reader from an otherwise beautiful sentence. It was, after all,...more
ZaBeth
Like most classics, I found "From Here to Eternity" is one of those books that everyone says is good because most haven't suffered through reading it. While there were certainly passages that were interesting, I truly thought that James Jones must be getting paid for this book by word count which would explain the long, drawn out scenes that truly did not progress the book. For example like the excruciating detail of how to drive from the base to Prewitt's girlfriend's house on Wilhelmina Rise....more
Mardel Fehrenbach
This was a big slow read and it did take me a little bit to get into the flow of the story and the conversations between the men. This was well worth doing though, the characters are very well developed and the book is engrossing. It is not a book to dip into a few pages at a time though, but a book to settle in with and get absorbed into. If you take the time to settle into the conversations of the men the story is completely compelling, a novel about war without any battles, a novel very much...more
Motorcycle
I was just asleep on my couch and had a dream about one of my students which was similar to the bit near the end where Prewitt tries to make it back to the base, and I woke up realizing I hadn't put this on my Goodreads.

This is great. It took me a little while to get into the story, and it was different from the film which I'd seen previously. After reading it I don't know at all why they got Deborah Kerr for that role. She filled it amazingly for how badly she seemed to me to be cast for it, bu...more
Jim Vuksic
Published just six years after World War II ended, this insightful and spellbinding portrayal of an Army unit just before, during, and immediately after the attack on Pearle Harbor depicts the "treatment", better known in modern times as a "code red", imposed upon a member of a rifle company who refuses to give into pressure from his peers and superiors to go along to get along so realistically that the reader will feel the pressure as much as the main character does.
You will also get to meet hi...more
Harold
Actually 4 ½ stars. At first I felt it was slow moving and nearly gave up, but then I realized I was waiting for the action – Pearl Harbor. I was impatient. The book is really about the peacetime army in the time before the attack. As readers we were precognizant of something the characters were not. The book opened up for me andI began to see Jones as a gifted writer – a wordsmith who painted a picture. It was writing to savor and situations to ponder – not a “quick read.” The characters came a...more
Meri
Tom Brokaw, caught up in more severe propaganda than he himself ever produced, called the men who fought in WW II "the greatest generation." He claimed these men fought not for fame and recognition but because it was the "right thing to do." In From Here to Eternity James Jones creates a protagonist that completely dispels Brokaw's fairy tale notion that the men of WWII entered the war with valorous hearts and for patriotic self-sacrifice.
Pvt Robert E Lee Prewitt loved the army. He did not lo...more
Book Concierge
2.5 stars

It was a controversial best seller when published because of the language and overt sex. But I'm bored by it. The repetition may be Jones's way of introducing the numbing effect of military drill, but it just drove me crazy. The book could have been half the length and still given the message. What disturbed me even more, though, is that at base I do not hinkg Jones likes the American soldier. And that just turned me off.
Howard
A very interesting, insiders, take on the pre-World War II in Hawaii. The book takes place in the nine or so months leading up to and the days immediately after Pearl Harbor. The main character is Robert E Lee "Prew" Prewett an enlisted man who left his Harlan, Kentucky home to bum around the country before joining the army. Prew reminds me of a Hemingway "code" hero. He works very hard to be true to his high ideals even though it gets him in big trouble. The second major character is Milton War...more
Chris Gager
Another long ago probable read overwhelmed by the memory of the movie. I might not have read all of it but recall that there were some major changes in the movie script. Mainly to soften some of JJ's more realistic edges. The later TV miniseries was truer to the book and Natalie Wood was a better choice than Deborah Kerr. Steve Railsback played Prewitt as recall. Date read is a guess.
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James Jones! 7 25 Mar 16, 2014 07:16AM  
National Book Awa...: 1952 - From Here to Eternity 3 13 Nov 13, 2011 11:10AM  
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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
More about James Jones...
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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.” 31 likes
“He knew how to handle pain. You had to lie down with pain, not draw back away from it. You let yourself sort of move around the outside edge of pain like with cold water until you finally got up your nerve to take yourself in hand. Then you took a deep breath and dove in and let yourself sink down it clear to the bottom. And after you had been down inside pain a while you found that like with cold water it was not nearly as cold as you had thought it was when your muscles were cringing themselves away from the outside edge of it as you moved around it trying to get up your nerve. He knew pain.” 21 likes
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