James Jones, From Here to Eternity (1951)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Yes, it’s a novel, but this is the finest book, fiction or non-fiction, ever written about the United States Army. Regulations have changed, as have accepted behaviors, technologies, uniforms, rations…yet, today’s soldiers remain these soldiers. The author’s experiences at Schofield Barracks on Oahu on the eve of Pearl Harbor let him capture the organization and the times in a timeless manner: He caught the spirit of the grunt as no one else has done. And every young NCO worth his rucksack aspires to be “the Warden,” Jones’ fictional first sergeant, even if he has never heard of this book (or seen the films that followed).

 

Ralph Peters is the author of thirty-three books, including works on strategy and security affairs, as well as best-selling, prize-winning novels. He has published more than a thousand columns, articles, and essays here and abroad. As a U.S. Army enlisted man and career officer, he served in Infantry and military intelligence units before becoming a foreign area officer for the dying Soviet Union and the new Russia. As a soldier, journalist, and researcher, he has experience in more than seventy countries, covering various wars and trouble spots. His historical fiction won the American Library Association's Boyd Award for Literary Excellence an unprecedented three times and also received the Herodotus Award and the Hammett Prize. Additionally, he was the 2015 recipient of the Goodpaster Award, presented each year to a distinguished American soldier-scholar. In 2017, he was selected for the U.S. Army’s Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame.