Into the Valley, John Hersey

“A skirmish of the Marines”

The cover says it well:

“Into the valley is the story of the deeds of one company of Marines during a small battle on Guadalcanal, as told by John Hersey, then a reported for Life Magazine. The story is simply and briefly told, but is rich with details about the sights and sounds of the jungle, the conversations of the men waiting for battle, and the less than glamorous details of the fight for the Pacific told in the lucid style that has made this Pulitzer Prize-winning author famous.”

Some notes:

P ix – The correspondents “truths” in what he wrote were purely subjective, filtered through his eyes and ears, conditioned by his temperament, by the particular culture in which he had been bred, by the pressures of the politics of his employer, and above all his groping sense of the meaning of his own life in the harsh circumstances in which he found himself.

P xxiii – The quality of bravery is complex; courage earns a red badge for its mystery….When I asked a group of intelligent officers what they thought they were fighting for, in that valley, they went vague before they spoke–got a look on their faces of “Men bothered by a memory”.

P xxvi – A cute bit of a story related to the “salty” language the soldiers used and a comic encounter.

It is a short book, but should be read for the truth that it contains about men at war…..Wish I had had a copy when I came home from Vietnam.

 

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