Monday, November 30, 2009

The Naked and the Dead (12).

Norman Mailer. New York: The New American Library: A Signet Book. 1948.

Why read it? The thoughts of the enlisted man before and during the fighting. The antagonism of the enlisted man for the officer. The thoughts of the General who had complete power over the men under his control. The General, who finally suspected that he had had nothing to do with the victory.


“With a sick fascination, he envisioned a factory, watched his bullet being made, packed into a carton.” p. 534.

“You carried it alone as long as you could, and then you weren’t strong enough to take it any longer…kept fighting everything, and everything broke you down, until in the end you were just a little goddam bolt holding on and squealing when the machine went too fast.” p. 548.

Polack swore: ‘The whole thing’s over, huh?’…. And we broke our ass for nothin’.” p. 549.

“…we’re stuck over here God knows how long, never knowing when you’re going to catch something, just waiting and sweating it out, and finding out things about yourself that, by God, it don’t pay to know.” p. 553.

“The General: For a moment he almost admitted that he had had very little or perhaps nothing at all t0 do with this victory, or indeed any victory—it had been accomplished by a random play of vulgar good luck larded into a causal net of factors too large, too vague, for him to comprehend.” p. 555.

“In the end the important thing was always to tote up your profit and loss.” p. 556.

“Certain things were SOP: The Japanese had set up many small hospitals in the last weeks of the campaign, and in retreating, they had killed many of their wounded. Americans who came in would finish off whatever wounded men were left, smashing their heads with rifle butts or shooting them point-blank.” p. 557.

The End.

Comment: A fitting end to war. RayS.

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