The Thin Red Line is writer James Jones’s fourth novel. It draws heavily on Jones’s experiences during World War II’s Guadalcanal campaign. The author served in the 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division of the United States Army.
The Thin Red Line, originally published in September 1962,shares its central personalities with Jones’s other two World War II books, though with their names necessarily altered, and analyzes their different responses to battle.
Jones had intended the previous war novel’s male characters From Here to appear in this job. But Jones remarked that “the dramatic structure–I could even say the religious content–of this very first book required that Prewitt be killed at the end of it”. Jones handled the problem by changing the titles of those 3 characters of the publication.
The character of Prewitt became Witt, Warden became Welsh and Stark became Storm.
James Jones’s fictional accounts of the conflict between American and Japanese troops in the island of Guadalcanal. The narrative shifts effortlessly one of multiple viewpoints in C-for-Charlie Company, from commanding officer Capt. James Stein, his psychotic first sergeant Eddie Welsh, and also the young privates they send into battle.
The descriptions of battle conditions–and the psychological conditions it compels–are unflinchingly realistic, for example, dialog (in which a particular word Norman Mailer left as “fug” 15 years before from The Naked and the Dead appears properly spelled on several occasions).
This is more than a classic of combat fiction; it is one of the most significant explorations of identity in literature, demonstrating Jones as a novelist of this caliber of Stephen Crane and Herman Melville.