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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 ilibrary I 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 ot to any art form depicting Viet Nam in any sense of accuracy So I thought I knew the storyWRONGTHE SHORT TIMERS Memoirs of Hecate County 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 theuys
who humped through the jungle during that much neglected and disrespected war were crazy but it ishumped through the jungle during that much neglected and disrespected war were crazy but it is 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 Three Barnyard Tales given a chance to be individuals individualset 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 A Short History of Ireland, 1500-2000 girl and a water buffalo or when some of theuys are killing rats VC rats in their bunks or trenches there is a moment when the If an Elephant Went to School grisly nature of war should become apparent but never does because the littleirl s papasan only wants reimbursement for the dead animal knowing that the Morse Code for Radio Amateurs girl s life is worthless monetarily and he needs money to buy food and the rats are merely aesture 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 ot 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 *during these times that Hasford s novel far surpasses Kubrick s filmAllow 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 reat walls of the Citadel With zigzagging ramparts thirty feet high and eight feet thick surrounded by a moat the fortress looks like 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 ç 6 ReviewD a way with wordsHumping in the rain forest is like climbing a stairway of shit in an enormous reen room constructed by ogres for the confinement of monster plants He understood that or less by accident he was present at an important moment in history He tried to capture it in fiction The reality was full of pointless bravery and senseless brutality so is the novel A
lot of peopleof people were there seem to think that it captured the way it was I wasn t there but I believe them Don t read it if your world is difficult enough already Read it to know and understand a little about a time that is in some ways long one but in others is still very much with us Marcus Garvey good short story that was the basis for full metal jacket it was let down by a mediocre middle and also by spelling mistakes may have been my copy all in all aood vietnam war story While I found the book itself to be a nice compelling read and fairly short to boot the author s super terse super clipped style began to rate on me after a hearty measure of unbroken jargon especially when all the best bits of dialogue were used in Kubrick s incredible adaptation It s easy to see why Kubrick s version was loosely based on the novel the book has none of the scope of classics of the enre like Naked And The Dead and bits of absurdity made the authentic feel of the book seem a bit forced something Kubrick dealt with my breaking out a big trimming knife and amalgamating the best parts of the book into a coherent format On the whole however not too bad And also bonus points for being available online to read An amazing first novel Did Hasford have a career Is he still alive Don t know Have you seen the Kubrick movie Full Metal Jacket H Written by Gustav Hasford on his real life experiences being a US Marine in Vietnam Trained as brutal killers Amok grunts Then the storyoes to Vietnam horrors snipers their deathA short read under 200 pagesYou can read how the war survival scenes from the book are used in The Full Metal Jacket movie YouTube trailer movie rated R 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 Full Metal Jacket ahead and all the way 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 folksof human barbaric behaviour except for extremely sensitive people folks 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 WOWThis book made me feel like I was in it I was so concentrated from beginning to endThe way Gustav Hasford describes every movement activity of Corporal Joker and everything in the book is just too ood And I hear it has a seuelI m off the. Nam 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. N ancient castle from a fairy tale about dragons who
guard princesses in need of assistance The castle is black stone against a cold ray sky with dark towers populatedprincesses in need of assistance The castle is black stone against a cold Crochet gray sky with dark towers populated shadows that are alive The Citadel is actually a small walled city constructed by French engineers as protection for the home of Gia Long Emperor of Annamese Empire When Hue was the Imperial Capital the Citadel protected the Emperor and the royal family and the ancient treasure of the Forbidden City from pirates raiding from the South China Sea We are big white American boys in steel helmets and heavy flak jackets armed with magic weapons laying siege to a castle in modern timesMetal birds flash in and shit steel eggs all over the place F 4 Phantom jet fighters are dropping napalm high explosives and Willy Peter white phosphorus With bombs we are expressing ourselves we are writing our history in shattered blocks of stoneWise like Solomon we have converted Hue into rubble in order to save itDAMN THAT IS SOME WRITING As I said this book is my unicorn But that s not all Hasfordoes further into the mind of a Marine in Viet Nam In surrealistic dream seuences Hasford examines what it means to be a lifer poge or Playhouse grunt through strange interactions between Joker and what can only be described as a vampire who is also a colonel in the United States Marine Corp Great metaphor strange yet incredible storytelling There is also a scene when Jokerets knocked off his feet from an explosion and his body splits in to three parts mind body and spirit The mind and body want Joker to heal but the Spirit only wants to leave Viet Nam seek some other realm I wish I could ive you detail but that would only ruin an extraordinary reading experience By the time the book ets to the third part Joker is only a skin suit He no longer resembles himself He has become a Short Timer a person that only has x amount of days and a wake up He has become paranoid worried about self preservation In essence he has become an animal And that is the message Hasford successfully conveys War is ugly War is harsh War is cruel War has no survivors And as Plato so succinctly stated #Only The Dead Have Seen The End Of War To #the dead have seen the end of war to I have to agree For the living must carry that burden with them for the rest of their livesHIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION Although at this writing hardcover copies of this out of print book sell for over 200 and paperbacks over 47 on this excellent violent short novel is also available for free download but acuiring it is a little tricky It is on the official web site of the late author in three parts in Hypertext Markup Language html formathere and in Rich Text Format rtf here 2020 update the links cited in the previous sentence no longer work but the link cited in the following sentence does If the site is unavailable an old copy of the site is available at the Internet Archive Wayback Machine hereAfter downloading thertf file I used the Send to Kindle by E Mail function Put the
word format without uotation marks in the subject line The resulting display is ood with only a few misformatted wordsformat without uotation marks in the subject line The resulting display is ood with only a few misformatted words maybe misspellings from the original Also sometimes the paragraphs are a little jagged but this seems appropriate somehow for the subject matter On the basis of the Wikipedia article outdated website and slightly less outdated blog it seems like author Gustav Hasford was one difficult cuss to start and then serving in Vietnam probably did not improve his disposition any It had that effect on many people He uarreled freuently drank continuously and stole library books compulsivelyHe ha. Ened company survivors of months of unimaginable horror the crazy tough and phony brave religiously counting the days until their release from the Dannys Dragon (Tao of Love, 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.