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Buffalo Soldiers

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  160 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Set on a luxuriously appointed and hopelessly corrupt Army base in Mannheim, Germany, where the soldiers prefer real-life race riots to mock combat, Robert O'Connor's viciously funny novel is conclusive proof that peace is hell and the U.S. Army is its ninth circle.

In that hell, Specialist Ray Elwood is the ultimate survivor: a high-stakes drug dealer, bureaucratic con art...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 15th 1994 by Vintage (first published January 11th 1993)
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Jenny Zhang
This is about a bunch of macho douchebags who think everything is more important and weighty than it actually is--drugs, violence, guns, women and the stupid shit they say, blah blah, and WHAT'S WORSE? It's written from the second person 'you' perspective, so it feels like I'm the macho douche without actually having any of the benefits an actual macho douche could potentially receive. I hate this book so much I want to go inside and make the characters in it cry.
Art Tirrell
Oct 04, 2007 Art Tirrell rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: alltimefavorites

From the cover to the final page, not an iota of color exists within Buffalo Soldiers. Anyone who's lived in an army barrack during peacetime knows the direction race relations within the ranks have taken. O'Connor's chilling story leaves no doubt; the situation is worse than anyone imagined.
Free fall. That's where Spec-4 Ray Elwood is headed, and in his less and less frequent MPC's (moments of perfect clarity) he knows it. The rest of the time, he's taking ste...more
Jul 19, 2009 Jeffrey rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: hetero Fight Club fans
The book starts off plesantly brisk, combining the excitement of a hard boiled detective novel with the contemporary pop philosophies of Fight Club. The characters are sympathetic sociopaths. The setting is a military base, but the pervasiveness of drugs and violence could be from any group living situation.

Sadly, the book starts to drag halfway. Rather than escalating the gonzo craziness like a Harry Crews novel would do, O'Connor adds some side plots - a tank joy ride, a pompous Colonel's part...more
Malcolm Torres
This story is about corrupt US Army guys stationed in Germany during the cold war. There's an intense immediate feeling because of the author's unique point of view. There is a dark nihilistic savagery between the characters but the author has you laughing out loud.
Paula Sophia
Though I can't identify with all the drug running and gangster violence, I do appreciate how well O'Connor captured the ludicrous life of soldiers in peacetime, always looking for a way to make it feel real.
Second person, gimicky and interesting but intellectually dishonest. It's like listening to someone lie to himself all the while marveling at how deep the deceipt goes.
Perhaps second person narrative only works with subversive characters, the kind of people who would put their lies on someo...more
Actually much better than it appears and I think that this paradox can only be explained by that bloody second person perspective. The mind revolts when reading it but given a chance it is a truly good book that in parts shows true brilliance. In other parts of course, 2nd p p and those dream sequences spring to mind, it feels like it is trying to be something it isn't which is very striking when the rest of the work feels so truthful.
Did I mention it is written in the second person?
I really liked this book. I haven't read any books that are told from the second person, so this was a new experience. The story is mainly the reactions of the peripheral characters to the chaos that Elwood has created in his own personal life. The characters are shallow and the sad thing about it is as you read you know that they are real. It makes you wonder about where the author drew his inspiration. I highly recommend this book and can't wait to rent the movie.
This made me want to be in the army less than all vietnam movies combined.

Okay, essentially marine stationed on an US army base in Germany. Sells drugs, fucks daughter of his CO, makes a ton of meth, CO kills him.

The author may have done too good a job conveying how boring things are there because I actually started to become bored with his descriptions of how boring things were. Boring.
Andy Harris
Enjoyed the film so read the book. The book is a bit different being told from a second person perspective and the film wasn't a straight re-telling of the book. It's a good story capturing life of the soldiers, the comedy, black humour and absurdity. Well worth reading.
The cast is shallow, unlikeable, despicable. The plot is nothing but a downward spiral. But it's a powerfully ironic and poignant mind screw. O'connor's style, with the exception of the second person narrative, reminds me of Vonnegut for some reason.
May 05, 2010 melissa marked it as to-read
Recommended to melissa by: Justin Klugh
Shelves: 2sr
Excellent, quite different from the film, which I also enjoyed.
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