I end my reverie about Hill 488 with a quote from James Jones. He was well-known for portraying the ugliness of war without flinching. His best-known books are From Here to Eternity (1951) and The Thin Red Line (1962). He, like me, wanted people to know how ghastly combat is. He would have approved of Hill 488. Here’s what he had to say about how writers before him had portrayed combat:
“I don’t think that combat has ever been written about truthfully; it has always been described in terms of bravery and cowardice. I won’t even accept these words as terms of human reference any more. And anyway, hell, they don’t even apply to what, in actual fact, modern warfare has become.”
He was right. But writing has changed. These days I read books that describe the horror of the battlefield in naked truth. Hill 488 is one such book.