cover image Gin Lane: A Novel of Southampton

Gin Lane: A Novel of Southampton

James Brady, Brady. St. Martin's Press, $6.99 (314pp) ISBN 978-0-312-96706-2

Fans of Parade and Advertising Age columnist Brady (The Marines of Autumn) will relish this well-written memoir of his front-line tour of duty with the U.S. Marines in Korea. Noting that he entered the war only after scheming to avoid the draft, Brady reveals that he went to Korea terrorized by a photograph in a popular magazine depicting the unrelenting cold of far-off Korea. The young Brady's first sojourn there does nothing to dispel his fear, but as time wears on the young marine, working as a battalion intelligence officer, becomes something of an old hand, if not always at warfare itself. (Not quite bawdy, the memoir has its share of hangovers, ladies of the night and lonely young men in foxholes.) But when Lieutenant Brady is called on to move his section at 2 a.m., with full field packs, several days' rations and ""one unit of fire,"" for a mere exercise or ""field problem,"" readers feel the tension along with the men--more so when Brady & co. are then sent to find out if there are any ""chinks on Yoke,"" a nearby hill. Throughout, unit mates like Duke, who need the occasional boxing match to blow off steam, the drunken Hoops, and Fitz, ""the best of us, who just wanted to carry a gun for the rest of his life"" (and who ended up ""breaking heads for Ford"" as a security guard), come vividly to life. This lively account offers yet another glimpse of the forgotten war, and its easy wit and smarts should win the popular pundit even more readers. (July)