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The Thin Red Line (The World War II Trilogy #2)

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3.97  ·  Rating details ·  9,923 Ratings  ·  189 Reviews
They are the men of C-for-Charlie company—“Mad” 1st Sgt. Eddie Welsh, Pvt. 1st Class Don Doll, Pvt. John Bell, Capt. James Stein, Cpl. Fife, and dozens more just like them—infantrymen who are about to land, grim and white-faced, on an atoll in the Pacific called Guadalcanal. This is their story, a shatteringly realistic walk into hell and back.
 
In the days ahead, some wi
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Paperback, 544 pages
Published February 9th 1998 by Dial Press Trade Paperback (first published 1962)
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mark monday
A true masterpiece and one of my favorite novels. Although it has all the realistic, gritty detailing that any novel recounting World War 2 Guadalcanal should have, it is so much more. The reader will indeed learn which gun is which and which rank is which. They will understand what needs to happen to take a hill. They will know what a crowded ship full of men will smell like. They will come to understand the practical intricacies of making war. But, as anyone who viewed the recent version of th ...more
Ursula
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, world-war-ii
I saw the 1998 movie version of this book in theaters when it came out. I remember that I was completely mesmerized and transported by it. It was a movie about war unlike any I'd ever seen before - it was mostly quiet and internal. Walking out of the theater, I found out I was pretty much alone in my enjoyment of it - people all around me said it was slow, boring, pointless. I mention this because I think the movie version prepared me for the book, which is probably just as divisive.

The story fl
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Drew
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I had the same reaction to this as I did to From Here to Eternity, which is to say that the beginning was so irritating that it almost made me put it down, but I ended up glad that I didn't.

I haven't read too many other books that were written around this time, but the prose style in this seems lackluster. Yeah, there are some poetic bits, but there are also bits that seem really lazy. In the first handful of pages, for example, Jones uses the words 'unpleasant' and 'supercilious' to describe D
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Igor Ljubuncic
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: james-jones
I really love James Jones's books. As a former military man, he brings the story of war in such vivid color that you don't get from any thousand blockbusters. Think Saving Private Ryan. Then toss that into a bin. Completely not like that. There's melancholy, there's sadness, there's mad happiness in what's essentially total despair and chaos.

Don't expect a happy ending, only a bitter sweet one. Don't expect miracles, because there won't be any, only a bunch of human stories coming together loose
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4triplezed
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-fiction
See my review on From here To Eternity. I thought that this would be a let down after that wonderful book but had no issues at all. Fine book indeed. Now to try and force my self to read the final book of the trio.
Richard
Mar 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the greatest books on how World War II was fought in the Pacific; it is also unparalleled in its exploration of the nature of war, especially on how it affects the psyches of those bound up in it. It's the second of Jones' trilogy on the Second World War. All of the venues of the three novels were derived from his experiences; Pre-war Schofield Barracks in Oahu, the 1942-43 battles of Mount Austen, the Galloping Horse, and the Sea Horse on Guadalcanal, and in military hospitals. T ...more
Megan Openshaw
If I saw this in a bookshop, the likelihood is I'd walk straight past it without a second glance. I have little to no prior experience with 'war writing' (I'm not sure whether to count The Book Thief) - something like this isn't the kind of thing I'd normally read, but I'm so glad I did!

I won't go into too much detail about the plot (no spoilers!), but the basic premise of the novel is that it follows a group of US troops, 'C-for-Charlie Company', and depicts their experiences during the Guadalc
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Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
The thin red line...whet is it? It is the line that separates life from death, health from injury.
The Novel is an anti-war novel. The effects of war are clearly elaborated.
The reasons for war is actually left out. We see Welsh asking himself why they are fighting? He seems to be the only one with an answer to that question.

Fife also tries to answer that question, but his reasons are vague. Besides being sent by the government, he's in war for his own personal reasons. That is, to prove that he
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Geoffrey Benn
Feb 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
“The Thin Red Line,” by James Jones, is the fictional account of the trials endured by the men of Charlie Company during their first month on Guadalcanal in the early days of WWII. The book, first published in 1962, has come to be recognized as a classic war novel. I think that designation is well-deserved – the book is an incredible examination of the varying ways in which men react to the shock of combat. Jones follows at least a dozen recurring characters through a range of experiences – incl ...more
Booknblues
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredible War story set in the pacific theater of WWII. Packed with action, relationships, drama and a close look at the inferno of war.
This would be a good companion book to Catch 22, if one were to chart a course for literature of the second world war.
Robynne
This is an incredible study of war and of men who have participated in battle. This book will not make you feel good; it is not designed for that. Jones, who served in the Guadalcanal campaign, says a lot in his dedication at the beginning of the novel: "This book is cheerfully dedicated to those greatest and most heroic of human endeavors, WAR and WARFARE; may they never cease to give us the pleasure, excitement and adrenal stimulation that we need, or provide us with the heroes, the presidents ...more
the gift
this is a much much later comment: i have trouble believing it is almost three years since read, so certain i recall the film, the resolution to read 'from here to eternity' then this again! i have to read this again...

first review: this is an unusual book, an unusual history of reading: i read this after seeing it as one of my favourite films, so i cannot tell if it has strong images as all i see are scenes from the movie. characters played by certain actors, tropics played by certain islands,
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Emily
May 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let’s start with the names of the soldiers: Big Queen, Buck Sergeant Doll, Shorty Tall. Then move on to the soldiers’ names for their battle sites: The Giant Boiled Shrimp, The Sea Slug, Boola Boola. In vivid strokes like these, Jones brings intimacy, humor, and authenticity to his story of the U.S. invasion of Guadalcanal, told from the viewpoints of a handful of combat troops in C-for-Charlie Company. This book gives a reader so much to gnaw on: What is a soldier? What makes a good one? Can so ...more
Ola
Jul 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm surprised that I did not like the book more. I can't even figure out why, but it's definitely not the best war book I've ever read, to say the least. At some points purely boring. I couldn't make myself like any of the characters. It didn't also help that almost all of them had 4- or 5-letter names, many of them even rhyming, and I couldn't figure out who is who. There's Bell, Dale, Blane, Darl, Doll, Culp, Culn, Cash, Bead, Band, Beck, Keck, Gray, Gaff, Carr, Witt, Task, Tall... and more. S ...more
manuti
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Otro más, que cae.
Supongo que a todo el mundo le sonarán las películas De aquí a la eternidad y La delgada línea roja, pues además debería sonarnos también que el autor de la dos novelas en que se basan es el mismo, James Jones. Aún no he visto la película, pero sé que tiene fama de dura, pero la novela no es para menos. Creo que es la aproximación más real a lo que pasa por la cabeza de alguien cuando se encuentra en esas situaciones extremas de combate, y también las preguntas que uno se hace
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Steve Woods
This book is a tour de force! If you are looking for a controilled sequentiial narrative this is not it, but as someone who has seen combat the exploration of the function ofmen's minds in those circumstances is right on the knocker. Given my own experiences and conversations in the field and often afterwards the themes Jones outlines turn up time after time, often wryly in retrospect with a dash of embarrassed humour but there. The book has an essential American flavour, and much of the interna ...more
Michael
Outstanding account of hill battle at Guadalcanal, the first step in taking back Pacific islands from the Japanese in World War 2. The 1964 book, which was the basis of the great Terrence Malick movie in 1998, was founded on Jones' experience as a veteran of the battle. The portrayal of a company of green soldiers from all walks of life becoming transformed by the horrors and challenges of war and their courage and cowardice into an effective fighting force is very moving. There is much life and ...more
Jim Coughenour
My favorite World War II novel. I'm tempted to say "sentimental favorite," if that makes any sense applied to this hard-core tale of American soldiers in Guadalcanal. Jones is convincing on the banality, the raw fear, the horniness and insanity of combat – he refuses to romanticize any of it, just as he skips the easy polemics. A gritty, captivating tale.

Fortunately I read the book before I saw Terrence Malik's film – which is excellent, if a bit too austere and stylized. Malik leaves out the di
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John Nevola
James Jones is a talented writer with great insights and perspectives but I just could not connect with The Thin Red Line.
I loved From Here To Eternity but I found The Thin Red Line to be somewhat slow and laboring. Perhaps it was the use of fictional settings on a real island (Guadalcanal) that threw me off but I look for, and value, historical accuracy in historical novels. The War was long over when he published this book so national security could not have been the reason for the fictitious
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Sarah
Jan 02, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Give it a miss.
I just couldn't finish this. I got to about page 130. Then I realised I couldn't care less about the characters.

I started to read this because I lived on Guadalcanal as a child, so I was quite disappointed to learn the author had changed the names of hills/towns etc, to render them unrecognisable.

The chapters were overlong. There were so many characters I couldn't remember who was who especially as I was struggling to keep my mind on the book anyway.

There isn't much more I can say, really. Ther
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scott
Mar 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This novel is awfully good. Clearly amongst the best war novels that I have read. I really didn't care for the movie when it came out, and after reading the book, understand why: The book is far more about the human rationalization of solidering and killing, than it is about actual events. Internal dialogs drive the narrative, and they are much more accurate than those of (at least from the feeble understanding of human behavior I use to conjecture) other war novelists. There's something masochi ...more
Harold
Nov 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really 3 1/2 stars. This is the second of James Jones's WWII trilogy. Jones has a dense, thick writing style that I sometimes find hard to stay with. There are a lot of characters that can mesh with one another and at times it's hard to remember who is who. That being said it is a memorable book and I'm glad I read it. It presents a realistic view of what warfare in the Pacific in WWII must have been like. There is a lot of time given to interpersonal relationships and the petty and personal rea ...more
Doug
Dec 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ultimately unsatisfying, though a masterpiece of construction. Jones's efforts to be rigorous and accurate about war, both technically and emotionally, end up bogging down any kind of thrust to the story. If you don't want to have a thrusty story, fine, but then don't have so many goddamn characters you head-hop around to; give me a chance to work up some empathy over here!
António
A work of genius. The book has excellent character development, it has an impressive, and unvarnished, descriptive vividness, it's engrossing, and amidst a lot of melancholy it has the correct amount of black humour to balance it out.
Old_airman
Jan 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww-ii, 2013
Interesting take on men in battle. Very rough language. Not traditional hero tale.
Realini
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: delightful
The Thin Red Line, based on the novel by James Jones, written and directed by Terrence Malick
9 out of 10

Notes and thoughts on other books are available at:

- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list... and http://realini.blogspot.ro/

This astonishing work seems to be, for large segments, more of a cinematic poem than a film about war.
It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Writing, Screenplay…

Strangely, it was not nominated for any Golden Globes, but won
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Bene
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At university I had to take a course that was called "Manhood in past and present" which I didnt find very interesting because usually Im not into gender studies that much.
This novel, however, really reminded me of some things our professor told us then, which were about the changes a man in combat can go through: sheer terror, bravery, dehumanization or "combat numbness", and how these things define some of our modern views of men at war. As a German I really want to understand how the machiner
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John Alt
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 explo ...more
Spencer
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book is based during WW2 on the Solomon Islands. The C-for-Charlie Company, full of draftees and regular soldiers hardened by the wars, are put into the bloody lands. They are to fight in the most bloodiest battles, the Guadalcanal Campaign. The soldiers are met in the bloody lands with a line of machine guns. As they fight through the first line there is a lot of conflict between the characters. They finally get through the first line of Japs, and set up camp for the night. The next morning ...more
Valentijn
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Het is moeilijk te oordelen over dit boek. Ik heb er bijna twee maanden over gedaan en raakte daardoor snel het overzicht kwijt over de tientallen verschillende personages. Het doet mij wat aan Matterhorn (Karl Marlantes) denken. Het gebrek aan één of enkele hoofdpersonages en het feit dat ik het boek in veel korte stukjes (middagpauzes) heb gelezen zorgden ervoor dat ik soms wat moeite had om mij in te leven in het verhaal.
Maar ook: Heel realistisch en goed geschreven. De auteur vocht zelf mee
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James^^Jones

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
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More about James Jones...

Other Books in the Series

The World War II Trilogy (3 books)
  • From Here to Eternity
  • Whistle

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“If I never meet you
In this life
Let me feel the lack
A glance from your eyes
Then my life
Will be yours”
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“War don't ennoble men, it turns 'em into dogs. It poisons the soul.” 34 likes
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