Something about a Soldier

Charles Ray Willeford, Author Random House (NY) $17.95 (255p) ISBN 978-0-394-55022-0
Willeford joined the Army when he was 16, in the depth of the Depression, and was assigned to the Air Corps. He spent most of his three-year hitch in Manila, ""a place where interesting things can happen to a man.'' This memoir by the author of Miami Blues and The Burnt Orange Heresy is so brutally frank about drinking and whoring in the prePearl Harbor Army that it becomes hilarious when the author remarks, ``If a man wasn't careful the Army could coarsen him, and I had to protect my sensitivity if I was ever going to write anything first-rate.'' Discharged in 1938, Willeford found himself in trouble with the police on Los Angeles's Skid Row, and decided to reenlist. His autobiography is hardboiled and certainly authentic, but short on substance. (May 1)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1986
Release date: 03/01/1986
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