1948 Norman Mailer novel about a US army division attempting to take a small Pacific island from the Japanese. The story captures some of the pointlessness and confusion of war in a way that wasn't common during an era of post-war nationalism, and is a detailed character study of American men from a variety of socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds. The two main story lines involve the main thrust of the division attacking a Japanese holdout through the jungle and a small platoon sent on a reconaissance mission on the Japanese flank. Members of the recon team are brutally killed with no effect on the eventual outcome of the fight, and the strategy of the division collapses. Nonetheless, the attack suceeds and the island is captured. Mailer was 25 at the time of publication, and drew extensively on his own experiences at war. The tone of book is reflected somewhat in the films the Thin Red Line and Saving Private Ryan.

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