Article: Guadalcanal

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In his article “Guadalcanal,” Matthew Stevenson acknowledges several authors and battles, which serve to parallel his own points and strengthen his arguments. He references the author of The Thin Red Line, James Jones, who wrote a war account that “got it right” (367). His army experience before and during the war strongly influenced his writing, while his wartime injury significantly impacted his “pessimistic” (368) style. Stevenson alludes to his work because of its “clinical, pinpoint accuracy” (367), recounting the fear, brutality, courage, and cowardice characteristic of the war. Essentially, he is included because, “…the voice I hear in Jones is one that, at times, I can recognize in my father’s accounts of the war” (368). Stevenson’s father is the primary basis for his interest in Guadalcanal, so naturally, a writer that reflects his father’s perspective on the war would be of interest to him. Also mentioned is Richard Holmes, a member of the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and the author of Acts of War, which “describes the sociology of battle” (368). It provides a historically accurate portrayal of experiences during war, such as what happens during artillery fire, the results of alcohol and combat, and the effects of being wounded. He introduces an element of honor by writing that “men fight, not out of hatred of the enemy, but to maintain the respect of their peers” (368), and that “the death of a friend is often what ignites an atrocity” (368), both serving to add a humanistic element to the war and somewhat uphold an admirable image of the war. In an alternately negative light, Stevenson writes about Richard Tregaskis, the American journalist and author whose best-known work, Guadalcanal Diary, is labeled as one of the “bad books” written about the period. Stevenson claims that his “shortcoming was that, as a reporter, he was free to leave the island at any time” but others “had to stick around until they were...
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