In Beach Red Sergeant Peter Bowman has established a literary beachhead. His brief (122-page) book, December Book-of-the-Month Club co-choice,* is the first novel by a combat author to describe the seizure of a Pacific island from the Japanese. It is the first time that such an action has been narrated in a medium which looks like unrhymed verse but which Author Bowman stoIn Beach Red Sergeant Peter Bowman has established a literary beachhead. His brief (122-page) book, December Book-of-the-Month Club co-choice,* is the first novel by a combat author to describe the seizure of a Pacific island from the Japanese. It is the first time that such an action has been narrated in a medium which looks like unrhymed verse but which Author Bowman stoutly insists is sprung prose.† Prose or verse, it is the best form in which to tell Author Bowman's story—the thoughts that pass through a soldier's head during one hour of battle.-quote Time magazine--dec. 10, 1945. It is out of print, but used copies can be found. well worth the read today, as in 1945. Was later made in a movie, which is available now on DVD....
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Beach Red Reviews
my father lied about his age to serve in WWII, but a medical issue got him discharged just prior to him being shipped out after his training as a marine. most of his group did not survive their first battle. i am lucky the doctor sent him packing, or i would not be typing right now. the men haunted my father thru the years. he saw boys his son's age go and come back in the 60's and 70's. my brother had a number that was too low for the draft lottery--back then they held it on TV--talk about reality TV shows!?! well, my father wrote poems about the war, though he did not fight--probably his nightmares. he gave me this book one day to read as a teen--till then i led a sheltered life, till then.......i wish this book would get re-issued today---it tells what our men and women are going thru over there--no matter how noble the cause--it still is hell.
"Oh, say, can you see by the dawn's early lightthe glimmering haze squatting on its moist gray haunches"The conflation, in those opening lines, of Francis Scott Key and Carl Sandburg, by direct quote and by allusion, tell much of the author's skill and of what can be expected, at least literarily, from the rest of this novel told in blank verse.It is not an easy read. The life and death moments are examined in detail with direct intensity. But there is humor, too. For example, chapter 53's comparison between the Army of the parade ground and the Army of the battlefield: That other army taught mento walk erect. In this one they learn to crawl.Chapter 22, with the narrator examining the contents of his wallet before going out on patrol, prefigures Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried.
I haven't read this book yet but when I plan to. I found a 1945 copy of the book in my dad's house when we were getting ready to sell it. Can't wait to read it!
An amazing book. It really is one long work poem and yet he gets the jargon of war into the story as well.