Defending Civilization

Philip F. O'Connor, Author George Weidenfeld & Nicholson $0 (305p) ISBN 978-1-55584-124-9
This second novel (Stealing Home) set on an Army base in the 1950s, offers a refreshing alternative to the yuppie dilemmas of much current fiction. Fledgling Lt. Thomas Hanlon narrates the story of moral conflict: should he comply with the deceit practiced by hard-drinking, self-righteous Major Shea, or should he blow the whistle on his superior officer? Shea's pragmatic approach to the politics of the cold war is unnerving, and Hanlon, witness to more than one incident of unorthodox maneuvering, is trapped between his loyalty to Shea and his desire to behave ethically. Disturbed and confused, Hanlon finally makes his choice and swiftly sees consequences. Written in punchy language and full of vivid imagery, the novel's only failing is the abruptness with which the story ends. If the author had permitted a broader picture to emerge, this book might have ranked with Captain Newman, M.D. and Mister Roberts. It's an intensely male narrative; the good vs. evil tension is not ameliorated by any significant feminine influence. The '50s setting is here mirrored by the moral outlook and narrow vision of these characters. (July)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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