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From Here to Eternity

(The World War II Trilogy #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  15,626 ratings  ·  452 reviews
Diamond Head, Hawaii, 1941. Pvt. Robert E. Lee Prewitt is a champion welterweight and a fine bugler. But when he refuses to join the company's boxing team, he gets "the treatment" that may break him or kill him.

First Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden knows how to soldier better than almost anyone, yet he's risking his career to have an affair with the commanding officer's wife.

Hardcover, 816 pages
Published April 2004 by Gramercy (first published 1951)
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 ·  15,626 ratings  ·  452 reviews

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Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015

I feel exhausted, emotionally drained, as if I had run a marathon, all dressed up in full military kit. Reading James Jones is often hard work, but there is also the satisfaction of reaching the finish line and knowing you achieved something great. Because, even as I think that a good editor could have cut the text in half and still achieve the same effect, I know that James Jones has captured the spirit of army life in the 1940's flawlessly, that the ocean of trivial details from the
Nov 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
David Putnam
Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Don't give out many five stars anymore but I really loved the first two in this trilogy, Whistle not so much. Loved the voice, the setting and sense of place.
Highly recommend.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nat K
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2
An epic read and an epic story. This book took me literally months to finish, but Im so glad that I did. It was well worth the effort.

Id always had a hankering to read this book, purely for the fact that Frank Sinatra was obsessed with getting a role in the movie of the same title, to revive his (then) flagging career.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book, and how believable I found the characters to be. James Jones certainly had a knack for getting right into the characters heads,
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the movie with Frank Sinatra, Montgomery Cliff, Burt Lancester, Deborah Kerr. I have had the book on the shelf for probably close to 30 years,and never read it till now. I need to rewatch the movie again now...this book is great.....I enjoyed it,and it went into a lot more details about the characters lives, then any movie ever could,and it was heavy on the military life, and what it's like to be a soldier in those days.

I would recommend this to anyone...and it's a first in a trilogy,
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This complete, uncensored version of James Jones' 1951 naturalistic classic is raw, gritty and (despite its nearly 900-page length) free of extraneous information or adornment. What it does do is immerse the reader in the intolerable situation Robert E. Lee Prewitt from Kentucky finds himself as a member of Schofield Barracks in Hawaii: he's a boxer who refuses to box after badly wounding a man. As a result, and with James Jones' adroit use of peripheral characters and their plights, we get a ...more
Daniel Villines
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Society can be considered a fabric that surrounds us. Its 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 its 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 ...more
May 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: america, reviewed, fiction
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 ...more
Czarny Pies
Sep 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of course, you hear them say, the book was much better than the movie. And while weve 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 coattailsas in the novelized versions of Dark Knight and Terminatorthe opposite is true. The movie is much better than the book. Someone else might have to corroborate this idea, because I, for one, have never ...more
Now I know why this story looks so familiar to me: a movie was made based on this booK:
From Here to Eternity (1953)
with Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr.

From IMDb:
In 1941 Hawaii, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second in command are falling in love.

Jun 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
John Alt
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Mar 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Great Novel

This spectacular novel was published in 1951, was a huge best seller and made into a classic film (Oscar for best picture). For some reason I never read it until now and I am glad that I waited since I was able to read the restored version published in 2011. This is the version as originally written and edited by Jones. The bestselling 1951 version was severely edited by the publisher to remove profanity and other taboos which would never have passed the censors of that era. I
May 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
How can a book about war, with no war in it, be so damned compelling? This is a total masterpiece.
Julie G
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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
Steven Meyers
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Many veterans who have read Mr. Jones's novel assert it was an accurate portrayal of the times in the Army. I'll take their word for it. The closest I ever came to serving in the military was joining the Cub Scouts and playing with my G.I. Joe action figure (a.k.a. doll) when I was a kid. The novel revolves two major characters, Robert E. Lee Prewitt and Milton Anthony Warden. There are other notable individuals such as Angelo Maggio, Dana Holmes, and the cook Maylon Stark. The two major women ...more
Lee Anne
Jul 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My impetus for reading this came via an odd, circuitous route - I was listening to the recently shuttered, flop London musical based on the novel, and read that it, in turn, incorporated material from the uncensored, restored version of the book that had only been published a few years previously. I was intrigued that, among many other emendations, a lot of material about gay activities in the peacetime army had been excised. Not really remembering a lot from the award-winning film (or the ...more
Glenna Pritchett
I am giving up at 152 pages. Close to 20 pages of a poker game held in the latrine, complete with slang that I don't understand and the clash of male egos, plus nearly a whole chapter lamenting the lack of funds to visit a brothel -- I just can't keep on. Jones' writing is wordy and bloated, even more so than Stephen King's. On to something more to my taste!

Note to self: stop trying to read classics, modern or otherwise, or books on any kind of "must read" list.
Feb 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
I nowadays rarely read novels but did this one after seeing the film The Thin Red Line and reading various reviews of James Jones novels. I could not put this down. Wonderful story and great writing that had me loving every word and moment.
Russell Sanders
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every now and then, I like to read what I consider a classic novel, books like War and Peace, Don Quixote, Ulysses, Gone With the Windthose lengthy books that most people say they would like to read but somehow never seem to get around to doing so. My class project this time was James Joness From Here to Eternity. Having read it when I was about twelve years old, I felt it was not only time to read it these 48 years later so I would actually understand it this time around but also having seen ...more
May 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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.

As mentioned above, I may well have NOT read this back in the day. My memory is all geared to both the movie and
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 31, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: hawaii, history, fiction
Read about "From Here to Eternity" this morning in Joan Didion's essay "In the Islands" from The White Album. A good discussion and excerpt of the essay:
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The beginning was a bit slow.

I almost abandoned the book, but hung in there.

WOW. Great book in the end!!!

Closest book like this I can think of is "A Prayer for Owen Meany"

BTS: Stockade scenes were actual events from personal experience from the author.
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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 Eternity. The Thin Red Line reflected his combat experiences on Guadalcanal. His last novel, Whistle, was based on his hospital

Other books in the series

The World War II Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Thin Red Line
  • Whistle

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