Into the Valley: A Skirmish of

John Hersey, Author Schocken Books Inc $15.95 (111p) ISBN 978-0-8052-4078-8
As a neophyte war correspondent, Hersey ( Hiroshima ) in 1942 accompanied a Marine unit on Guadalcanal, wrote an article for Life about the experience, then penned a longer account that became a bestseller the following year. Into the Valley remains powerful, achieving a rare sense of immediacy in depicting life and death in wartime. The military action itself is easily understood: the American unit walked into a trap, overcame initial panic and withdrew under fire. But the facts are of the least interest in this rivetting narrative. Instead, readers will find themselves drawn to Hersey's expert rendering of the soldiers' reactions--facial expressions, gestures, dialogue--while weathering a state of duress, and his impressive chronicling of their transition from youthful cocksureness to terror. For his own part, the author was anything but confident; ``miserably green,'' he released tension by ``ridiculously tearing very big leaves into very small pieces.'' Hersey has made only minor revisions in this new edition, and he confesses to embarrassment over his original softening of Marine expletives and comments about ``Japs.'' (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1989
Release date: 08/01/1989
Hardcover - 978-0-394-43066-9
Paperback - 978-0-8052-0958-7
Hardcover - 978-0-517-05718-6
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