Will Parker has managed to escape from the City of Gold and Lead, where he served as a slave to one of the Masters who rule the modern world. And He has not only discovered what lies behind the Tripods' power, but also how the Masters heartlessly plan to destroy the earth.
Samuel Youd was born in Huyton, Lancashire in April 1922, during an unseasonable snowstorm.
As a boy, he was devoted to the newly emergent genre of science-fiction: ‘In the early thirties,’ he later wrote, ‘we knew just enough about the solar system for its possibilities to be a magnet to the imagination.’
Over the following decades, his imagination flowed from science-fiction into general novels, cricket novels, medical novels, gothic romances, detective thrillers, light comedies … In all he published fifty-six novels and a myriad of short stories, under his own name as well as eight different pen-names.
He is perhaps best known as John Christopher, author of the seminal work of speculative fiction, The Death of Grass (today available as a Penguin Classic), and a stream of novels in the genre he pioneered, young adult dystopian fiction, beginning with The Tripods Trilogy.
‘I read somewhere,’ Sam once said, ‘that I have been cited as the greatest serial killer in fictional history, having destroyed civilisation in so many different ways – through famine, freezing, earthquakes, feral youth combined with religious fanaticism, and progeria.’
In an interview towards the end of his life, conversation turned to a recent spate of novels set on Mars and a possible setting for a John Christopher story: strand a group of people in a remote Martian enclave and see what happens.
The Mars aspect, he felt, was irrelevant. ‘What happens between the people,’ he said, ‘that’s the thing I’m interested in.’
The Pool of Fire (The Tripods #3), John Christopher The Tripods is a series of young adult novels written by John Christopher, beginning in 1967. The first two were the basis of a science fiction TV series, produced in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. Series: The White Mountains (1967); The City of Gold and Lead (1968); The Pool of Fire (1968); When the Tripods Came (1988). تاریخ نخستین خوانش: دهم ماه اکتبر سال 1999 میلادی عنوان: برکه آتش، از مجموعه چهارگانه های جان کریستوفر؛ نوشته: جان کریستوفر؛ مترجم: محمدرضا زمانی؛ چاپ نخست، تهران، کانون پرورش فکری کودکان و نوجوانان، 1353؛ در 235 ص؛ عنوان: برکه آتش، از مجموعه چهارگانه های جان کریستوفر؛ نوشته: جان کریستوفر؛ مترجم: مهرداد تویسرکانی؛ تهران، قدیانی، کتابهای بنفشه، 1386؛ در 197 ص؛ شابک: 9644179161؛ سه پایه (تری پاید)ها نام چهارگانه ای علمی تخیلی برای نوجوانان از جان کریستوفر است که در 1968 میلادی تا سال 1968 میلادی به چاپ رسیده است. این کتاب در زیر سبک پسارستاخیزی داستان جامعه ای را روایت میکند که توسط ماشینهایی غول پیکر به نام سه پایه ها استثمار و به شکلی شبیه به قرون وسطی اداره میشود. سه پایه ها، برای کنترل مردم، مغز آنها را در سن چهارده سالگی به کلاهکهایی مجهز میکنند که بر ساختار ذهن انسانها تأثیر میگذارد و اغلب آنان را شیفتهٔ خدمت و بردگی برای سه پایه ها میکند. در آغاز داستان ماهیت سه پایه ها مجهول است. عده ای آنها را ماشینهایی هوشمند میدانند که علیه اربابان سابق خود قیام کرده اند. اما گروهی دیگر، اعتقاد دارند که سه پایه ها در اصل، وسایل حمل و نقل موجودات فضایی متجاوز هستند. شخصیتهای اصلی داستان: ویل، هنری و بینپل که هر سه نوجوانانی بدون کلاهک هستند به علت احساس شک و دوگانگی که در میان همسالانشان فراوان است، تصمیم میگیرند از کلاهک گذاری فرار کرده و راهی برای شناخت و مبارزه با سه پایه ها پیدا کنند. ا. شربیانی
Okay, but definitely the weakest of the trilogy. Felt more like a summary of how everything got resolved than its own story, and Will is increasingly hard to like. His heedlessness and sulking and self-absorption seem correct when he's thirteen; less understandable (or even believable) when he's in his late teens and chosen for special missions essential to the fate of all humanity.
As the characters grow older and interact with a wider range of the populace, the omission of women also becomes more glaring. Not only are no significant characters female, but there hardly even seem to be women in the towns they pass through. In the first book, a story of three boys escaping through the wilderness to freedom, it wasn't a big deal that they didn't meet or think about women, but when they're out recruiting dissidents -- and they explicitly don't recruit women, wtf is up with that?! -- it's a little unnatural. None of these young men ever think about girls? And the aliens are also sexist and only take male slaves while females .
The alien-fighting plan was pretty dubious, too, I thought. But I guess it would be a crappy ending if the aliens won. Not that the ending was exactly upbeat. It's a sucky world, kids, and people are assholes! Don't get your hopes up too high. Enjoy some hunting and fishing while you have the chance, and avoid women and other aliens.
Checked this one off the other day as read, but never got around to a review. I enjoyed this book, the whole trilogy. Kinda fun rereading a childhood favorite.
I've read a lot of discussion lately on protecting children from books, and I look back at books like this and I'm so glad I read them. The lessons they had about self-sacrifice, independence, the value of having your own mind and not living in easy complacency. They had a hand in forming who I am today. Would I be the same person if I'd picked up a different book or, worse yet, failed to pick up a book at all?
This was a child friendly dystopia. A cautionary tale of what could happen. And, in child-friendly fashion, there is a bit of a happy ending. Although, like all good stories, the end is only the beginning of the next story (unwritten). They freed the earth, but had to go back and find a way to reunite humanity in peace, as they were in war.
Once again, suffers from a complete lack of female characters. I don't think this book even mentions the existence of any females at all except once (and that was remembering someone who died). In this final installment, we get the inevitable conclusion made necessary by the previous book. Few surprises here, but still plenty of interest, especially if you care to follow the exact mechanics of things like airlocks.
What I really like about these books is how far from perfect the protagonist is. Even in this third book, he is very much still growing up, learning to control his pride and his temper, finding out that he isn't always going to be the hero. It's a very attractive perspective to read, inundated as we are in more recently written books by near-perfect protagonists who always find a way to win the contest, save the day, be the center of attention.
Christopher wrote this book the year before the first moon landing. His emphasis on the wonders of science and the potential of humanity reflects a 1960s culture interested discipline and duty at both an individual and social level, a trust in the value of self-sacrifice, a suspicion of anything that could lead to tyranny, and a strong argument for young people to overcome the mistakes of their parent's generations and never again allow the world to descend to mass violence.
If only there were some women in it. But it was the 60s. You can't have everything.
Both The White Mountainsand The City of Gold and Leadfeatured our protagonists working toward a single objective. Achieving that objective was the substance of the book. The Pool of Fire had at least three such objectives. If written in a similar pacing as the first two, this third volume could easily have been split into three different books. Instead Christopher slotted them into one, making this a much more hurried story. There is little mystery to this one and the dramas are generally quickly settled, so it is also quite unlike books one and two in style. Yet readers will still readily recognize it as another juvenile adventure/science fiction that is easy to read and easy to follow. Christopher seems to target the same age-group of children with this volume. It has some similar adventure-related violence, but this one is even more kid friendly than the last two. It worked fine as a read-aloud with a thirteen-year-old, but my now teenage reader had matured past the eleven-year-old that had started this series and, in that time, had really grown beyond it. The original three books were published over the course of approximately a year. Having your pre-teen read them all in a single year might lead to a more satisfying experience. There is some mention of politics toward the end of the book that was clearly informed by the Cold War years. This and some very identifiable failings in the main character created some discussion opportunities to move this out of the mindless action-adventure category, but these themes did not seem planned for in the initial two books. The “Tripods” series might have been regarded as something more memorable, meaningful, or important had those themes been threaded through the early volumes and brought to their culmination in this last one.
The culminating novel in a trilogy of books recounting the heroic efforts of the human race to overthrow an invasion by technologically superior aliens. While the previous work was well worth its 5 star rating for its depiction of the quite unique and interesting invading species, my appreciation of this work slipped a bit (only 4 stars) as it concentrated more on the traditional YA trope of daring-do in the planning and execution of the insurgency to save the planet for the human race. Heroic exploits, moving self sacrifices and suspenseful challenges are all very well and good, but much better suited to the teenage mind.
There is a quite interesting sub-theme presented which, if it had been developed more extensively, may have lifted this work much higher in my estimation. The aliens cannot comprehend how the human species seem to have always either been at war, or on the brink of war, with one another. Although they do not always agree with one another, the Masters, as the aliens are called, do present a united front of common policy and uniform approaches, especially towards humans. One of the heroes of the battle against the Masters, noticing this difference, reflects poorly on his own species: 'It seemed to him monstrous that such a state should exist, that men should go to kill other men they did not know, simply because they lived in a foreign land.'
A telling dichotomy of comparison between the two species is that while humans have a great capacity for friendship and interrelationships with one another, the Masters are quite solitary, living in their own little pyramids and rarely if ever developing any emotional attachment with each other. Yet, the startling difference also exists that humans have a marked propensity for both inter-personal and inter-national conflict while the Masters exist within an unruffled sense social cultural harmony.
The ending of the trilogy with the conclusion of this book brings this issue into stark relief with the three remaining heroes, representing three different nationalities, vowing to try to stem the fracturing of the unity of spirit between different peoples on Earth which the long conflict with the Masters had worked to bring about. Quite an interesting theme but one, unfortunately, which was subsumed by all the daring-do exploits and technical challenges of the actual war.
Now that I'm at the end of this trilogy, the parallels drawn between the author, in the 1960s, and the world wars, which had ended 20 years prior, are clear and strong. Will, Beanpole, Henry and Fritz's world of the Tripods is a world in which mankind has been defeated by an alien delegation, and forced into servitude. It's an allegorical series about rebellion and freedom; war and peace; and human nature; and it works very well on many levels.
Neither book 2 ("The City of Gold and Lead") nor book 3 ("The Pool of Fire") come close to the emotional strength of book 1 ("The White Mountains"), as we see this world through Will's eyes as the wool is slowly pulled away and the Tripods revealed for what they truly are. However, overall, the series is powerful, the writing is precise, and the world is well-imagined and unafraid to tackle adult themes, though this series is appropriate for young readers.
And thanks again to my fifth grade teacher, Mr. Kribbs, for being the first to introduce me to the Tripods and the Capped, as he read the books aloud to our class.
Finished reading the trilogy tonight. The whole family was eager to here the next instalment each evening. My son has been relaying snippets to his school friends and some of them are keen to read the series. The sign of a true classic.
review of John Christopher's The Pool of Fire by tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - October 15-16, 2020
This is the last bk in the Tripods Trilogy (except for a prequel that was published as a sequel 20 yrs later) that I've already reviewed the 1st 2 bks of: The White Mountains: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... ; The City of Gold and Lead: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... . This review cd be called "Review Lite" b/c I have almost nothing to say about the bk — not because I didn't enjoy it, I did enjoy it, but, perhaps, b/c it was a 'classic' reading experience for me where I just breezed thru the story & then it was done.
""You talk of the Council coming to us with its plans. You talk of parts to play, of men being told what they must do. I would remind you, Julius: it is not Capped men you are talking to, but free. You should rather come to us asking than ordering. It is not only you and your Councilors who can plan how to defeat the Tripods. There are others who are not lacking in wisdom. All free men are equal, and must be given the rights of equality. Common sense as well as justice demands this."" - pp 7-8
An anarchist in the midst of those rebellious humans! Good for him, I say. Unfortunately, the council holds sway. It wd've been interesting to read about the rebellion happening without top-down leadership.
In the previous bk, Will had escaped from the City of Gold and Lead & was now back at the place where the rebels were living & organizing. His return leads to his being asked to give an explanation of conditions. The speaker introducing him isn't exactly flattering.
""And yet Will, an ordinary boy, no brighter than most, a trifle on the small side—Will has struck at one of these monsters and seen it collapse and die. He was lucky, of course.["]" - p 12
The suppression of human knowledge to make the invader's control easier becomes further apparent.
"["]The land we are going to is called America, and the people there speak the English tongue.["] - p 18
It's discovered that the invaders, the 'Masters', can't hold their booze.
"Then, passing a pyramid, we saw one of them come out, Mario gripped my arm, unthinkingly, and I winced. But the pain did not matter. The Master teetered on his three stubby legs, his tentacles moved uncertainly. A moment later, he crashed and lay still." - p 128
Sheesh, even with 3 legs the ET cdn't stand up — they'll never compete w/ humans. Why, I've seen a guy be drunk all day long & STILL drive. We'll just send him to fight. Then again, humans are such self-sabotagers.
""Ah, so you are better, no? You 'ave recover the good appetite, and prepare to break the fast?"
"I smiled. "I think I could manage something."
""Good, good! So we 'ave the special break-the-fast for you. I 'ave cook 'im ready."
"He passed me a plate, and I took it. It contained slices of bacon. They were thick, the meat was fat, apart from a couple of narrow bars of pink, and they looked as though they had not been fried but boiled in grease, which still adhered to them. I stared at it, while the cook watched me. Then the ship heaved one way, and my stomach heaved another, and I hurriedly put the plate down and staggered for the fresh air of the deck. As I went, I heard the cook's merry laughter echoing along the companion-way behind me."
"(The greasy fat bacon, I learned, was an old ship's cook trick; and this one was particularly fond of practical jokes.)" - pp 183-184
I must have a special edition of this bk b/c it actually vomited on me when I turned the page.
The good guys win (ok, ok, the humans win but since I'm more or less human that's who I was rooting for) & the world will probably get TV back again so that Mind Control can get right back on track. Some people never learn.
"(In a year or two, we had been promised, there would be something called television, by which men could see, in their own homes, things happening half a world away. It was the device which the Masters had used, as a preliminary stage in their conquest, to hypnotise man and so control their minds—and our scientists were making sure that could not happen again before they brought it back.)" - p 208
I thoroughly enjoyed this (ok, I missed a spot or 2) but I won't claim that it had the richness that Tolkein's The Lord of the Rings does or that Peake's Gormenghast Trilogy does. SO, if you're one of those people who might only read one trilogy in your lifetime I'd recommend those 2 before I'd recommend this one. Still, if you're an actual reader instead of a pretend one then go for it.
The third and final book of the original Tripods trilogy was something of a disappointment to me in a variety of ways. Again, this is a boy's adventure story from the late 60's and it was probably aimed at 10-12 year olds. I won't dwell on this too much but I thought it the weakest of the three novels. The story here is interesting and carries on right from the second book, "The City of Gold and Lead." The angle here is to capture one of the "Masters" to supposedly learn more about how they can be stopped. They are under a deadline however as in the second story it was revealed that a massive ship from the Master's homeworld would arrive in 4 years to begin the process of transforming the earth into a planet suitable for habitation by the Masters and that will result in death to all current life on earth.
So what really bugged me by the end of the story was how the earth survivors basically living at a middle ages subsistence level mount a challenge within this time frame. Secondly, I was really bothered by the lack in all three books of women characters in any position in this story - I guess that reinforces the "Middle ages" setting, but I can only remember vaguely, briefly, a boy's mother in the first novel as well as a young maiden at a tournament who could have developed as a significant character but instead had a rather unpleasant fate laid out for her, and at the beginning of the third book there is a brief mention of a woman who mothered one of the boy heroes here back to health after nearly dying of pneumonia. Otherwise one would not even know a woman existed on the planet anymore and they certainly don't exist in the resistance movement. Thirdly, the social and political framework of the earth survivors by the end of the story was a bit strange. Perhaps there is an allegory here lost on an American reader of this British science fiction adventure.
Overall this series was an enjoyable read but it strikes me as very dated.
Τρίτο και τελευταίο βιβλίο της νεανικής σειράς επιστημονικής φαντασίας "Οι Τρίποδες", που αποτελείται από τρία βασικά βιβλία (αυτά που διάβασα δηλαδή) και ένα πρίκουελ με τον τίτλο "When the Tripods Came", το οποίο μας δείχνει πως οι εξωγήινοι κατέκτησαν την Γη (δυστυχώς το συγκεκριμένο δεν έχει μεταφραστεί στα ελληνικά). Νομίζω ότι η σειρά κλείνει ικανοποιητικά με το τρίτο αυτό βιβλίο.
Η ιστορία αρχίζει ακριβώς από το σημείο που τελείωσε η ιστορία του δεύτερου βιβλίου, με τον νεαρό Γουίλ Πάρκερ να γυρίζει στο κρησφύγετο των συμμαχητών του με σημαντικότατες πληροφορίες γύρω από τις πόλεις των εξωγήινων, την λειτουργία τους, τον τρόπο σκέψης τους, τα μειονεκτήματά τους κλπ. Έτσι, υπάρχουν περισσότερες ελπίδες για τους ανθρώπους ώστε να ανατρέψουν και να αφανίσουν τους εξωγήινους, πριν να είναι αργά για την Γη... Τα πράγματα δεν αλλάζουν όσον αφορά την πλοκή, την ποσότητα της δράσης και την γραφή, όλα παραμένουν στο ίδιο καλό επίπεδο με τα δυο προηγούμενα βιβλία. Έτσι και αυτό προσφέρει την ίδια ψυχαγωγία στον αναγνώστη. Απλά μου φάνηκε λιγάκι κατώτερο σε σχέση με το δεύτερο βιβλίο, το οποίο θα έλεγα ότι είναι και το καλύτερο και πιο ενδιαφέρον της τριλογίας (με μικρή διαφορά πάντως).
Εν κατακλείδι, πρόκειται για ένα ικανοποιητικό τέλος μιας ωραίας και διασκεδαστικής σειράς επιστημονικής φαντασίας. Φυσικά η σειρά απευθύνεται κατά κύριο λόγο σε νέα παιδιά (με ό,τι συνεπάγεται αυτό στις λεπτομέρειες της κοσμοπλασίας, την γραφή κλπ), όμως νομίζω ότι μπορεί να διαβαστεί πολύ ευχάριστα και από πιο έμπειρους αναγνώστες στο είδος. Εγώ χάρηκα που την διάβασα.
The Tripods are my favourite set of books from childhood and probably still are. I read them every other year. I think I may have watched the first BBC series and then got the books before the second series was released. The White Mountains is excellent. The City of Gold and Lead is probably the best of them. The last sentence of The Pool of Fire is my favourite line in literature. The prequel book When the Tripods Came written years later is perhaps not quite of the same standard, but still highly enjoyable.
I would also strongly recommend John Christopher’s other works. Most of them are technically children’s books, but the adult themes and quality of writing sets them apart. The Death of Grass, A Wrinkle in the Skin, The Guardians, The Sword of the Spirits Trilogy, I could go on. If you’re a fan of dystopian fiction, I would also recommend The Day of the Triffids and The Chrysalids by John Wyndham and the recent The Age of the Triffids by John Whitbourn (a masterpiece, sadly only available in Canada).
After discovering the Tripods' plot to destroy mankind, Will rushes back to the White Mountains to tell the other uncapped humans. With a race against time to overthrow the Tripods, Will and his friends must go across the globe recruiting massive amounts of youth to deal the final blow to the aliens.
After capturing a Tripod, they discover that alcohol has a sleep-inducing effect on the aliens. Armed with this new knowledge, will the resistance be able to take back Earth. What will happen if the Tripods catch on to the humans' plan?
This is an adventure filled with action, suspense, and right vs. wrong. The well-developed characters seem to step up to the plate and shine in this book, and the plot is fast-paced. Readers who like fantasy, science fiction, adventure, and action-filled books will enjoy reading THE POOL OF FIRE.
This is a good wrap up to the Tripod trilogy. It has many of the same qualities as the originals, which is to say it's a quite good book aimed at young adults. Christopher does not shy away from making it clear that the world is in terrible shape and that living as one of the humans (particularly uncapped) would be terrible, but he also doesn't let the book go much darker by dwelling on this aspect of the world.
One interesting choice is the character of Will, the narrator. Of his cohort, Will seems to be the least changed by his ordeals - he certainly feels chastened by his failures (and even to some extent the nature of his successes), but despite being one of the prime actors in several world-changing events, he doesn't seem to achieve greatness like those around him. Essentially, he is the main character of his own story (the one he narrates), but his "supporting players" have much more claim to the lead role. It's a much more subtle version of the narrative technique employed in Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd Century America.
On the other hand, you can also see Will as in fact being equally worthy of his place in the heroic pantheon of the war with the Tripods as his compatriots, with the primary difference being that the story is told from Will's perspective and is thus tainted by his own natural human insecurities. We mostly get feedback about Will's performance from his superiors and commanding officers, who are clearly harsh with him to attempt to smooth out some of his brash characteristics, but continue to choose him for important missions. I'm not sure which one John Christopher is going for, which is an interesting choice in a young adult style novel.
Viimeiset vapaat ihmiset kehittelevät kiihkeästi keinoja tuhota Tripodit ja niitä hallitsevat Mestarit. Lopulta he kehittävät uhkarohkean suunnitelman, jonka toteuttamiseksi Will ystävineen joutuu vielä kerran tunkeutumaan kammottavaan Lyijykaupunkiin. Riittävätkö ihmisten vastaiskut Mestarien tuhoamiseksi?
Olin hiukan pettynyt tämän kolmannen osan ratkaisuihin. Ottaen huomioon, miten täydellisesti Mestarit olivat hallinneet ihmisiä tähän asti, heidät onnistutaan kukistamaan yllättävänkin helposti. Mutta ehkä kirjailija halusi tässä vaiheessa jo armahtaa ihmisiä ja antaa näille edes jonkinlaiset mahdollisuudet vapautua muukalaisten orjuutuksesta. Ja tietenkin ajatus koko maapallon elämän tuhoamisesta on jo itsessään tarpeeksi ahdistava.
Niin ja onhan se aina yhtä sykähdyttävää havaita, miten pian ihmiset kääntyvät toisiaan vastaan sen jälkeen, kun yhteinen vihollinen on kukistettu. Unelma vapaasta maailmasta, jossa kaikki kansat olisivat liitossa keskenään, on ehkä vieläkin suurempi utopia kuin ajatus avaruusolennoista, jotka valtaavat planeetan ja alistavat kaikki ihmiset toimimaan tahtonsa mukaan.
Another book in a series that I began when I was younger and got around to finishing lately. I typically don't enjoy science fiction as much as other genres, but this series I like for some reason. I found the first two books while rummaging around in our garage and my parents had no idea how we came to own them, so perhaps they were gifted to me by a magical book fairy. ;)
The other two books were definitely five stars, but this one I didn't enjoy quite as much. I agree with another review I saw saying that Will was harder to like in this one. The plot in this one isn't paced quite as well as the others either. The scene at the very end also feels slightly forced, as if the author was making a poor attempt to force a moral into the book.
Still, I did like the book overall, and was glad to finally know what happened to Will after wondering for so many years!
سهگانهی «سهپایهها»ی جان کریستوفر هم از اون کتابایی بود که دیر شروع به خوندنش کردم. داستان راجع به نوجوانیه که با آدمهای اطرافش فرق داره و مطیع و سربهراه نیست. کتابیه دربارهی ماجراجویی و سفر ونبرد بین انسانها و آدم فضاییها. با اینکه خوشم میاد از اینجور درونمایهها، ولی احتمالاً خودم به هیچ نوجوانی پیشنهادش نکنم. شخصیت اصلی رمان، ویل پارکر، بهشدت با خودش و با دیگران در رقابته. مدام بهش گفته میشه که اهل حماقته، که زندهموندنش فقط از سر شانسه، که هر چقدر هم تلاش کنه کافی نیست و باید بیشتر تلاش کنه. در عین حال، همیشه هم ازش خواسته میشه که تمام اون شور و سرکشی و هیجان نوجوانانهش رو کنترل (سرکوب) کنه تا عملیات خراب نشه و انسانها نجات پیدا کنن. در غیر اینصورت، هر اتفاقی برای نوع بشر بیفته مسئولیتش با اونه. بهعنوان یک اکس-سمپادی آسیبدیده از فضای سمی رقابتی، دلم نمیخواد یه نوجوان دیگه هم در معرض چنین فضاهایی قرار بگیره.
An appropriate end to the trilogy. I remember originally my favorite character was Beanpole, probably because his personality was the most like mine and so I was able to see myself doing some of the things he did. On the re-read, though, I think Henry was the more important character. And I like Fritz a lot more than I remember from before. Still, I believe I'm done with the Tripod series now. I don't feel a need to revisit this one again in future, or to read the prequel, When the Tripods Came.
Overall the trilogy was much better than i thought it would be, especially for a 1967 YYA. the story was exciting, it kept me up past my bedtime instead of putting me to sleep early. The characters were pretty good. the main character was significantly flawed instead of the usual perfect hero type. and not in the usual, "now ive learned and grown" way either. thats just how he was. the biggest criticism is its definitely a boys club, no girls allowed. the author's anti-vietnam war sentiment clearly showed a couple of times. kind of neat to pick up on that now that im an adult.