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The Junior Officer's Reading Club

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James Ellroy | The Junior Officer's Reading Club by Patrick Hennessey

The Junior Officer's Reading Club

Current Status:
In Season
Patrick Hennessey
Nonfiction, Memoir

We gave it a B+

Norman Mailer once observed, somewhat ponderously, that boredom slays more of existence than war. But as the art of warfare has transformed from trenches and Maginot Lines to guerrilla terrorism and nation-building, a new strain of existentialism has emerged: the boredom of war. Patrick Hennessey, a captain in the British Army, captures that ennui perfectly in The Junior Officer’s Reading Club, detailing weeks of silence and mindless routine punctuated briefly by the adrenaline-rush terror of a roadside bomb or an RPG ambush. He and some fellow soldiers eventually start a book club as a distraction, reading everything from war histories to Don Quixote. Despite occasionally using too much military argot, making some passages impenetrable to civvies, Hennessey on the whole wields his words as impressively as he does his weapons. B+

See all of this week’s reviews