The Short Timers review Ð 100

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Vietnam 1968 A nightmarish landscape blackened by napalm and littered with once human debris Where victories are measured in mountains of corpses and ordinary men are transformed into obsessive executioners This is the brutally honest story of Cpl Joker and his battle hard. Gustav Hasford’s THE SHORT TIMERS is my unicorn It is the book that has eluded me for almost fifteen years Finally I wizened up and went to my library; I guess there are some books that will not become part of my personal collection Enough about me The book My unicorn As a kid I knew that the movie Full Metal Jacket was based on this book Brief interlude most of the best lines uoted from the movie were never said by that character in the book My father a veteran of Viet Nam was part of the 1st Marine Division 5th Regiment 1st Battalion in ’68 ’69 and told my brothers and I that this movie was as close as it got to any art form depicting Viet Nam in any sense of accuracy So I thought I knew the storyWRONGTHE SHORT TIMERS gave Stanley Kubrick some ideas an outline Had Kubrick stayed faithful to the novel I am certain that the book would still be in print today Where Kubrick went wrong was how he took aspects of a Marine’s psychology and twisted it to show only the parts that could be sensationalized Hasford’s novel has other ideas THE SHORT TIMERS wants to show how an ordinary man becomes a monster but still maintains or struggles to maintain some semblance of humanity You see it is easy to say that the guys who humped through the jungle during that much neglected and disrespected war were crazy but it is harder to understand why exactly they were the way they were These men were changed One moment at a time they were transformed into killers Joker and Cowboy and Pyle were never given a chance to be individuals; individuals get you dead Rather Joker and Cowboy and Pyle were twisted and broken and shaped into one tiny metallic splinter of a cog in the Green Machine wheel And as their individualism was erased something else took its place It’s hard to say exactly was this something was Attitude Bravery Loyalty Fantasy Bat shit craziness But by the time these men except Pyle; you all know what happened reached Viet Nam this new persona became hardened Death was nothing to fear Killing was to be embraced Even when a tank commander runs over a little Vietnamese girl and a water buffalo or when some of the guys are killing rats VC rats in their bunks or trenches there is a moment when the grisly nature of war should become apparent but never does because the little girl’s papasan only wants reimbursement for the dead animal knowing that the girl’s life is worthless monetarily and he needs money to buy food and the rats are merely a gesture by God as a means to entertain the Marines while they are waiting for that moment when Charlie and ten thousand of his closest friends run through the wire eager to taste the blood of American soldiers By the time Joker meets up with Rafterman and there is a heck of a back story as to how Rafterman got his name human emotion is only felt by the New Guys the phony tough and the crazy brave Once Rafterman experiences his first taste of bloodlust once his first confirmed kill has been acknowledged Hasford paints one of the most horrible scenes this reader has ever pictured in his mind I will not spoil this for youtrust me; it’s worth the wait to read it for yourself And it is during these times that Hasford’s novel far surpasses Kubrick’s filmAllow me to illustrate my point There is a scene in the movie where Joker and some of the other Marines are fighting in Hue The movie shows some destroyed buildings rubble mounds and military movements Hasford describes it as such We see the great walls of the Citadel With zigzagging ramparts thirty feet high and eight feet thick surrounded by a moat the fortress looks like an ancient castle from a fairy tale about dragons who guard princesses in need of assistance The castle is black stone against a cold gray sky with dark towers populated by shadows that are alive The Citadel is actually a small walled city constructed by French engineers as protection f

review The Short Timers

The Short TimersEned company survivors of months of unimaginable horror the crazy tough and phony brave religiously counting the days until their release from the green prison of combat But they all know one unspoken truth that even though they're on their way out their last few hours in. Felt like I lived this book instead of reading it Experienced it rather than scooted my eyes across some digital letters Each character was a living breathing being sprung from the whirlpool imagination of author Gus Hasford As much a character too is the bullet shredded landscape of Vietnam itself In some scenes the scenery almost comes alive and fights against both VC and American soldiers alike The brutal events are part of a fictionalized account of a war that was stranger than fiction I can only hope that writing about it relieved a tiny measure of the strain it must've exacted on his and his fellow Marines' psyche This along with Johnny Got His Gun should be reuired reading for our elected officials before sending young people to war

Gustav Hasford ☆ 0 review

The Short Timers review Ð 100 Ñ Vietnam 1968 A nightmarish landscape blackened by napalm and littered with once human debris Where victories are measured in mountains of corpses and ordinary men are transformed into obsessive executioners This is the brutally honest story of Cpl Joker and his battle hardened company survivors of months of unimaginableNam could become their last hours on earthThe Short Timers is a semi autobiographical novel by former US Marine Gustav Hasford about his experiences in the Vietnam War Along with Michael Herr and Stanley Kubrick Hasford later adapted the novel for the film Full Metal Jacke. I had to read this novel after I watched Stanley Kubrik's movie Full Metal Jacket with Matthew Modine as Private Joker the narrator The novel is uite different from the movie but eually sharp and still a powerful heartbreaker I strongly recommend it to all as source of historical context and study of human 'barbaric' behaviour except for extremely sensitive people folks who have already been on a war or had a painful experience at the Army because the narrative contains several possible traumatic triggers for these issues