This was another amazingly long book that I just devoured day after day, but in a different way than “War & Peace.” I loved those characters and was dying to know what would happen to them, what choices they would make, and how the world would affect them. This wasn’t the same. I didn’t like any of the characters. I didn’t feel sorry for them and really just wondered what would happen to them next, not caring about the outcome. I feel like I’m on a roll of “broken” books lately.
When I got the book, my husband reminded me of the movie, so it’s on my list to watch someday. The cover of the book says “The complete uncensored edition.” I wonder what was censored. Was it the sex scenes? The homosexuality of the enlisted men? The negative light on military life? Or the officer’s talk about what Hitler and Russia were doing right in the way of dominating the world by force and how the United States should take up some of their tactics? I wonder how much of that is in the movie.
I’m glad I read the book because it did shed some strange light on what some people were thinking at the start of World War II. I don’t know much about military life, but what I have heard makes sense with what I read here and not in a positive way. The relationships were ugly and broken, not “normal” in any way. And I think I get the title. The book is just snapshot. It has no beginning and no end. It’s all messed up and ugly at the beginning, goes through a cycle, and the characters just keep on going like nothing ever happened. No one has a revelation. No one becomes a better person. No one changes in any way.
I need a good novel next. One that opens up a world and shows me something greater!
“The 12-Year Reich – A Social History of Nazi Germany 1933-1945” by Richard Grunberger (1971)
I struggled through half of this book and finally gave up, not because it wasn’t interesting but because it was depressing me too much. I like how the book is laid out so that if you are interested in education during the Third Reich, you can easily find that chapter and find all the information you’d like. I started to read from front to back with the chapter on the Weimar Republic and political scene but then narrowed it down the chapters on families, education, women, health, speech, and religion. All of it was pretty terrifying in that there is so much going on in the world today that looks very similar. I’d like to read a book about how people got through it with their sanity intact.
The book by Laura Hillenbrand. I haven’t seen the movie.
I’m putting this book down half way through. I feel bad to have to do it because my sweet Mother in Law, Ann, got it for me for my birthday. She loved the movie and thought I might like the book. She was right. I’m always happy to have a new book and I jumped into it with both feet. The problem is that it has been giving me anxiety nightmares! I’m so affected by what I read. The movie would be better for me to see because you can sit and watch the whole horrific story and get to the redemption in two hours. The book is different. There is no where to stop reading for the day that doesn’t make you feel terrified, lost, and alone. It’s just terribly sad. I know it ends well, but I can’t see that in each chapter I read. I dream of being lost, trying to get away, things being taken from me all night long. So, with reluctance, I’m putting this book down for the time being.
It is a great story though. It has a lot of history about World War II and the Japanese. I’m not sure how much of it is propaganda though. There is a lot of “We bombed the shit out of that Japanese island!” and then the very next chapter is “They bombed the shit out of us! Without regard for human life! How dare they!?” War. It is what it is.
Here a couple of my favorite quotes but the whole article is filled with some great stuff.
“If I want to beat Fascism, I cannot beat it at its own game. War is at once the essence and the apotheosis, the beginning and the triumph, of Fascism, and when I go to war I join “Hitler’s” popular front against the man in men. I cannot fight animals their way without turning animal myself.”
“Equity rests on reason, not on force.”
“It means that in choosing the lesser evil the world grows worse a little slower than if the greater evil is chosen.”
Saying there are only two evils to choose from is closing our mind to other options that may be out there. There ARE more than two choices!
“I cannot concede that the world is condemned and that the only question is whether we shall enjoy a few years’ or a century’s stay of execution. I cannot concede that our civilization is through, that we have to risk collapse now or certainly get it later. And it is not because I am mystical. It is because I know who makes these wars that pull down civilizations. It is not stones, or fences, or clouds. It is men. And unless we acknowledge our responsibility, along with our rights, as men, I cannot see how we can claim our rights. If we are only animals, as incapable of solving our central problem as other animals, why, then, Hitler has justice with him when he treats men like animals. For the only justice among animals is the justice of the strong.”