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American WWII Novels, Mailer, Heller, Jones--what do you think?

Discussion in 'WWII Books & Publications' started by Terry D, Mar 22, 2023.

  1. Terry D

    Terry D Well-Known Member

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    I am shortly going to be teaching a class about the American World War II novel, focusing on the three books which are regarded as classics in that sub-genre: The Naked and the Dead (Norman Mailer), Catch-22 (Joseph Heller), and The Thin Red Line (James Jones). I'd be interested in hearing what forum members think of these books, both as literature and as accurate (or not) portrayals of the war. So fire away.
     
  2. von Poop

    von Poop Waspish

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    If you haven't read Heller, I'm not sure you've even begun to understand the life of the WW2 US aviator,
     
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  3. Biak

    Biak Boy from Illinois Staff Member

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    I read Catch -22 in high school. That was over 50 years ago and only because it was required reading. I haven't read the other two. The only book I remember that has stuck with me that might fit the genre is Once An Eagle by Anton Meyer. It has been on the JCS recommended reading list for a couple of decades.
     
  4. Ricky

    Ricky Well-Known Member

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    Catch-22 has always struck me as intended more as a comic novel set in a war than a war novel (though I have more personal experience of comedy than war so i could be talking out of my arse)

    Thin Red Line is excellent, IMO. A friend of mine who was a US Marine (not WW2, but hey) raves about it

    Not read The naked and the dead
     
  5. LRusso216

    LRusso216 Graybeard Staff Member

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    I read all three, albeit many years ago. As I recall, these are three good choices. "Catch-22" illustrates some of the absurdity and confusion of war. "Thin Red Line" and "Naked and the Dead" are more of the gritty side of war. I'm sure others might weigh in with their choices for you to pick from. Bottom line, the choice is yours. There are many fine choices to look at. Personally, these three are as good as any. Much would depend on your input and guidance. (This from a former teacher) Good luck, and be sure to let us know how the class went.
     
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  6. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    "Catch-22" is on the level of "M*A*S*H".
     
  7. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I have read none of the three you are asking about, so I cannot provide any opinion.

    There are other, well known novels covering the era that I have read and/or tried to read, but as you are asking about these specific three, I'll limit my comments.

    On the plus side, I need to read them, so...to the bookseller I go.
     

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