Jeremy Hornik's Reviews > The Beardless Warriors: A Novel of World War II

The Beardless Warriors by Richard Matheson
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's review
Mar 17, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: borrowed-from-library
Read in March, 2012

I like Matheson.

This is a terribly violent story of a callow, alienated 18-year-old who drops in as a replacement in December 1944. It's gory and violent, sure, but it's really about the damage that just being in the war does. What they used to call a "psychological" novel, I think. Apparently, it's autobiographical. I think it would have to be... I think it would be hard to write that way about a soldier in combat and the shock and trauma of it without having been fairly close to it yourself. Someone said, "It's impossible to make an unromantic war movie." This one is about as unromantic as I can imagine.

This is the first time in fiction I've read about soldiers who don't shoot their weapons. Apparently it's pretty common in war for some soldiers never to shoot at all. I'd read about it in S.L.A. Marshall's book, but I hadn't seen anything about it in fiction. That's what I mean... I think you had to have been in it to write this unromantic a book.

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