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Whistle (The World War II Trilogy #3)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  374 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
The crowning novel of James Jones's trilogy brings to life the men who fought and died in the war and the wounded who survived, living to carry the madness home.
Paperback, 496 pages
Published June 8th 1999 by Delta (first published January 28th 1974)
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Oct 13, 2007 rated it really liked it
A great book about returning from war. The Viet vets (me included) thought that rejection, depression, and scorn was only for them. This WW II book tells pretty much the same story. Everyone didn't get the parade down Main Street.
Mar 28, 2017 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Yair Ben-Zvi
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, James Jones, you and I are old friends, aren't we? I remember when I first heard your name when I saw the film adaptation of your book "The Thin Red Line". An incredible movie on all fronts, far better than its apparent rival Saving Private Ryan (afraid I'm in 'that' camp) that completely changed how I looked at not only film but also at how a story could be told and told well, even profoundly so.

Fast forward a couple years from that and I finally got around to reading the source text, your
May 09, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lacpl-ebook, ipad

But for the possible message, “To be avoided at all cost,” the themes of aimlessness, futility and despair hold no moral, social or entertainment value for me. Unfortunately these are the major themes of ‘Whistle,’ by James Jones.

Recommendation: No.

“It was all such a goddamned game. Everything was. Bravado. Bravery. Fear. Pride, humiliation, dignity, decency, viciousness. And yet it was serious. Even panic started out as a game, before it got serious.” –page 151

Adobe Digital E
Feb 13, 2013 rated it did not like it
This author has less a clue about women than even Hemingway. Unfortunately he's not near as good a writer though, so it's a book full of non-redeeming characters without a value system, but there's none of the starkly beautiful romanticism found in a Hemingway. Interesting insight into injured and wounded WWII soldier's environment and the era itself, though. But something tells me there's a whole other side to this story though, if told by someone with more moral maturity.
Brian D'Souza
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The best book ever written on the subject of post-traumatic stress disorder. Ignore at your own peril.
This is the third and final book in Jones's war trilogy. Published posthumously after Jones's death of congestive heart failure at the age of fifty-five, Whistle along with its companions From Here to Eternity and The Thin Red Line, provides what Jones claims is "just about everything I have ever had to say, or will ever have to say, on the human condition of war and what it means to us, as against what we claim it means to us" (xxi). It is not a joyous account. Frankly, it's pretty depressing. ...more
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion better than The Thin Red Line. More intense. More sex too, but that was necesary for the novel. The ending was ofcourse just a summary of what was yet to come. Pity because, when this would have been worked out by Jones, it would have been a GREAT novel.
Still very much worth reading.
Sándor Szabó
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A sad novel, not only the topic but the torso that left after the author's death. I read it as an university student and I don't remember how many times I read it again. Maybe it's time for one more.
M.R. Dowsing
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The third part of Jones' WW2 trilogy, the first two being 'From Here To Eternity' and 'The Thin Red Line'. The absence of a movie version means this one's less well-known. Jones explains in his introduction that the four main characters are essentially the same in each book but he had to change their names each time because he was resurrecting characters he'd previously killed off.

This one tells the story of four soldiers who have all been wounded in action with varying degrees of severity and
Mike Manos
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
On a hospital ship headed home wounded in the war a group of soldiers try to recover both physically and mentally. I had seen the movies From Here To Eternity, and The Thin Red Line years ago as a kid. I had enjoyed the war movies of the day. I had never read any of James Jones works, but happened upon Whistle in a used book sale for one dollar and picked it up to add to my collection of old books. It struck me as soon as I started to read this was not going to be an ordinary book. It is a maste ...more
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-fiction
A fine read indeed. The third and final of Jones soldier trilogy. I was not expecting this to reach the heights of From Here to Eternity, few novels can, but this was certainly up there with The Thin Red Line.

Anyone that writes a suicide that makes the hairs stand on end knows how to write. This is not a book for the faint hearted and as one gets through the story of the 4 protagonists one senses that their life of, by some standards, depraved sexual needs, booze culture, their endless nightmar
Dec 08, 2013 rated it liked it
The final part of Jones’ WWII trilogy. Jones died before he finished the book and the last few chapters are based on his notes and verbal recordings.
This time the four main characters have returned to the US wounded and are sent to a hospital in Luxor (based on Memphis) for surgery and recovery.
All four men struggle with their memories of Guadalcanal, with their physical injuries and illnesses as well as the inadequacy they feel once they are removed from their old Company. Very powerful tales a
Berk Rourke
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is such a sad tale. Four WWII vets, all wounded or sick are returned to the U.S. and eventually sent to a hospital in Kentucky. There they either grow as human beings, discovering much about their masculinity and sex or they simply dissemble into what seems to be terrible depression and what now would be called PTSD. Reading this story makes me feel even more strongly than ever before about the needs of veterans who return from war, whether they come home as heroes or goats. They all need a ...more
Charles Chau
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Scott Dye
May 03, 2011 rated it liked it
The novel was getting interesting when the author died several chapters from the end. Instead of bringing in an experienced writer to complete the novel (which I'm guessing would be done today), the publisher simply provided a narrative outline based on the author's intentions for the ending of the novel. Not a wise option. Made for an unrewarding ending for the reader (and likely would have disappointed the author as well).
Lewis Whitehead
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very sad but very true to life. I can understand the acclaim the novel received since the first novel I've read that got you into the mindset of the main four characters.

I didn't like the ending but wasn't really surprised. None of the four characters could have lived outside of the Army!!??

Erin O'Riordan
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
A great read, and a fine, fitting ending to the wartime trilogy Jones began with From Here to Eternity - but the ending is really a bummer. I especially wanted something much, much better for Robert E. Lee Prewitt/Bob Witt/Bobby Prell.
John Freeman
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wounded WWII soldiers returning home. As timely now, as it was when the novel took place. I read the first novel of Jones' WWII trilogy "From Here to Eternity" when I was still in high school. Forty years later, I read his concluding novel.
Sarah Riddle
Apr 09, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Again there are moments in this book that moved me profoundly. Overall not amazing, but with some amazing moments.
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: keep
This is the last of the WW II trilogy; From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, and Whistle. Does a great job with his characters.
Mike R
Mar 12, 2011 added it
4 WWII vets who have been wounded return home
Bill Pilon
Jun 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Not as strong or consistently interesting as From Here to Eternity, but still not bad.
Dan Sperling
Sep 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Did not live up to the first two books in the series.
Sep 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
A little tough to get through.
Aug 20, 2009 added it
Shelves: wwii
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is really about the far reaching wounds of war. Trudging through the army, trying to hold on to friends, trying not to go crazy. Really interesting.
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war
Very interesting, moving novel. More later...
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Jul 20, 2011
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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
More about James Jones...

Other Books in the Series

The World War II Trilogy (3 books)
  • From Here to Eternity
  • The Thin Red Line

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