Like most people, I saw Terrence Malick's excellent film version before reading the book. Malick uses the basic structure and setting, but adds his own lyrical/transcendental touch to it, as if a copy of Emerson were left on top of Jones's novel and they bled together. Based on Jones's own experiences in WW2, "The Thin Red Line" is a tough, gritty, powerful, and sometimes vulgar account of men fighting in Guadalcanal. Aside from the combat, he also deals with the tensions and relationships in the company. I feel this a much more successful of a WW2 novel than Mailer's overpraised "The Naked and the Dead." Jones's other major novel was "From Here to Eternity."
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