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475 pages, Paperback
First published January 1, 1962
And the same thing was in his mind now as they crawled. Suddenly, for no real reason, he found himself remembering that young, foolish, innocent, gullible Corporal Fife, that total stranger, who once had stood forth in the dawn on Hill 209 and had stretched out his arms willing to be killed for mankind, and the love of mankind. Well, fuck mankind, that bunch of ‘honorable’ animals. Piss and shit on them. That was what they deserved.
They were on their feet before the grenade shower had even exploded. They ran uphill, hollering and yelling. Fife scampered along with them, panting and sweating. Nothing touched him. On his right the usually imperturbable Jenks let out a long, shrill, screeching, quavering rebel yell. Three men went down hollering in the rush. Nothing touched Fife.
When he saw the emplacement, he carefully released his safety and fired a long burst with his Thompsongun, straight into the hole twenty yards away. Before he could release the trigger the gun jammed, solidly. But his burst was enough to stop the machinegun, at least momentarily, and Dale ran toward it pulling a grenade from his shirt. From ten yards away he threw the grenade like a baseball, wrenching hell out of his shoulder. The grenade disappeared through the hole, then blew up scattering sticks and grass and three rag dolls and upending the machinegun. Dale turned back to his squad, licking his lips and grinning with beady pride. “Come on, you guys,” he said. “Let’s keep it moving.”
“One of the hazards of professional soldiering was that every twenty years, regular as clockwork, that portion of the human race to which you belonged, whatever its politics or ideal about humanity, was going to get itself involved in a war, and you might have to fight in it.”
“… everybody lived by a selected fiction. Nobody was really what he pretended to be. It was as if everybody made up a fiction story about himself, and then he just pretended to everybody that that was what he was.”Such fiction allows them to line up placidly in an orderly fashion for feeding, shelter, and transport to whatever abattoir has been chosen by their superiors.
“When he analyzed it, as he tried to do now, he could find only one reason why he was here, and that was because he would be ashamed for people to think he was a coward, embarrassed to be put to jail.”
“It had all been done, and was being done, for property. One nation wanted, felt it needed, probably did need, more property; and the only way to get it was to take it away from those other nations who had already laid claim to it. There just wasn’t any more unclaimed property on this planet, that was all. And that was all it was. He found it immensely amusing… Property, property, all for fucking property.”
“It was a horrifying vision: all of them doing the same identical thing, all of them powerless to stop it, all of them devoutly and proudly believing themselves to be free individuals. It expanded to include the scores of nations, the millions of men, doing the same on thousands of hilltops across the world. And it didn’t stop there. It went on. It was the concept—concept? the fact; the reality—of the modern State in action”
”Delante de ellos esperaban las lanchas de desembarco dispuestas a llevarles a bordo, y empezaron a entrar en ellas lentamente para que les transportasen hasta las redes del barco. Un día, uno de ellos escribiría un libro acerca de todo esto, pero ninguno de ellos lo creería, porque ninguno de ellos lo recordaría así.”