New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1973. Hardcover. 445 pages ; 21 cm. $7.95 dust jacket with a few rips around the dust jacket bottom front edge. Pages are unmarked and binding is firm.
Body Count by William Turner Huggett
A novel of the United States Marine Corps, BODY COUNT will rank beside The Naked and the Dead and From Here to Eternity as one of the great twentieth-century novels of the American military establishment. While set in Vietnam in the late 1960's, it is concerned less with the rights and wrongs of the war in South¬east Asia than with the Corps itself, what it represents, what is happening to it and what happens to its men in combat.
The Marines in this book are not the stereotypes of song and movie fames. They are, instead, a group of men of differing beliefs and differing goals. Some of them are torn between maintaining the facade of a glorious tradition and seeking to hold to the substance of that tradition. Others, out of varying motives, are forcing the Corps to acknowledge the realities of the present rather than to live with the deeds of the past. Caught in these crosscurrents is Lieutenant Chris Hawkins, freshly arrived in 'Nam and hoping to prove himself in the arena of war.
The Lieutenant and the men of his platoon are the central characters of BODY COUNT. We see them most often in combat, but as both they and the reader soon discover, the enemy they face is not only the North Vietnamese Army but also the forces within them and around them that divide them from each other.
Certainly one of the best and most graphic combat novels ever written, BODY COUNT is also something more. It is the story of the blooding experience of one man and of a period of trial and transition in America's proudest fighting service.
WILLIAM TURNER HUGGETT fought with the Third Marine Division in Vietnam during 1968 and 1969. Formerly an enlisted man, Lieutenant Huggett served in Vietnam as an infantry combat officer and later as a pacification adviser. He is now a trial lawyer in Miami, Florida.
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