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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
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2012 Book Discussions > Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk - Second Quarter ("Bully of the Heart" to "Dry Humping...") (November 2012)

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Daniel | 738 comments Mod
Each of these three chapters introduces a new and unique character (or group) that teases out a different angle to the story—Billy's family, Norm Oglesby, and Faison—and each introduces a different tension to the story. What are your thoughts as the story begins to weave in these added elements?

In the previous chapter ("By Virtue of Which..."), Albert brings up von Clausewitz's theory that "war is simply politics by other means." Ben Fountain is also on record stating that a war novel without politics is no different than a video game. Do you agree with his view? Is your reading impacted by the not-so-subtle political messages that have popped up so far?

The floor is also open for any other topic that grabbed your interest in this section.

Will (wjmcomposer) this might be a point lost, but my volumes of Carl von C in the corner remind me to point out it's actually "War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will." with the antithesis of his argument being "War is merely the continuation of policy by other means." I think Continuation is the word most importantly lost in most people's flawed understanding of what the very fascinating man wrote. "In Addition To" vs. "Instead Of" might not sound like much, unless you're speaking of water. It's the difference between drinking and drowning.

message 3: by Daniel (last edited Nov 07, 2012 09:54AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Daniel | 738 comments Mod
As sad as it sounds, I was really hoping somebody would bring up the "flawed" von Clausewitz reference. There's also the added nuance of the original German "Politik" meaning both "policy" (as per your translation) and "politics" (as per this novel).

Coming out of Albert's mouth, I see this as another example of the repackaging of a complex concept into a soundbite. Most people aren't interesting in the philosophical or logical underpinnings of an argument. Give them a quote that sounds impressive and they'll roll over like a puppy.

But does the novel succeed in making an ironic statement with this quote, or does it simply reinforce the watered-down variation of von Clausewitz?

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