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.
“The sun had been up for only an hour and the morning still had a fine clear youth…. Gallagher thought vaguely of early summer mornings when he set out for work, and the pavements were still cool and fresh from the summer night.” p. 206.
Roth [referring to Gallagher who has received the news of his wife’s death in childbirth]: “He’s an ignorant fellow, no education, he probably doesn’t have so many feelings.” p. 226.
“What’s the use of all that education when you can’t remember it?” p. 227.
“You look out for everything, he thought, and you still get hit from behind.” p. 235.
“The General at the front, noting that the men were settling in: Once they halted and stayed in one place long enough for it to assume familiar connotations, it was immeasurably harder to get them to fight again.” p. 237.
“…he [the General] was suffering the amazement and terror of a driver who finds his machine directing itself, starting and halting when it desires.” p. 237.
The General: “They liked their bivouacs…. There were methods of fixing that; tomorrow, there could be a general troop movement to one side or another, adjustments of a few hundred yards with new fox holes to be dug, new barbed wire to be laid, new tents to be put up.” p. 250.
The General: “And if they started laying duck walks again, and improving their latrines, there could be still another movement…. The American’s capacity for real estate improvement: build yourself a house, grow fat in it, and die.” p. 250.
The General: “The fear, the respect his soldiers held for him now was a rational one, an admission of his power to punish them, and that was not enough. Other kind of fear was lacking, the unreasoning one in which his powers were immense and it was effectively a variety of sacrilege to thwart him.” p. 251.
The General: “The longer you tarried with resistance, the greater it became; it had to be destroyed.” p. 251.
To be continued.