Whistle Author:James Jones This novel of World War II is James Jones' masterpiece. It occupied him for years. With the controlled, unrelenting power that only a major novelist can attain and with insights that are sometimes heartrending. Jones holds the reader gripped as he shows what war does to all men, including the brave ones who take pride in their skill as soldiers.... more »
In his last and finest book, Jones returns to the subject he wrote about best. Whistle is the third novel in his great trilogy of World War II, begun with From Here To Eternity and continued with The Thin Red Line. What is achieved in the three books is something unique in American literature; but Whistle will still stand in its own right as towering novel, a book that will profoundly affect anyone who comes to it.
Whistle tells the story of four men from the same infantry company, veterans of combat in the South Pacific and among the first large waves of wounded sent home, brought back by hospital ship to California, and then to an Army hospital in the South.
The men are First Sergeant Martin Winch, a superb soldier, utterly self-sufficient and without illusions, whose only commitment is a sardonic determination to take care of the men from his old company; Mess Sergeant Johnny Strange, a deliberate, reliable thirty-year man, whose dream of a civilian future is broken to pieces; Marion Landers, a buck sergeant and the company clerk, bewildered by his loss of belief in anything and by the senseless, savage fights he precipitates; and Corporal Bobby Prell, a stubborn, proud West Virginia hardhead, winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, which he does not believe he deserves.
Whistle is rich in incidents, many of them made wonderfully funny by Jones' wry, intensely American humor. The author graphically conveys the brawling, abandoned spirit of wartime America - the day-and-night parties in the hotels of the city; the women and the short; intense sexual affairs; the fights; the cynical affluence; the love songs and war songs on the jukeboxes - the sights and sounds of that unforgettable time in America.
Whistle deals with the great things of life - honor, courage, sacrifice, friendship, love - and in so doing transcends finally the theme of war and becomes a monument in literature to - in words from the novel - "this flawed, misbegotten, miscreated race of valuable creatures."« less