cover image Counterattack


W. E. B. Griffin. Putnam Publishing Group, $16.95 (7pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13493-7

Griffin's previous books have established him as a novelist of military manners. In his work, combat is only part of the environment in which armed forces function; war becomes a peg on which to hang series of vignettes showing the author's mastery of various military mentalities. Counterattack , Volume III of The Corps series, covers the period from Pearl Harbor to Guadalcanal in an unorthodox fashion. Instead of offering the usual tales of Marine heroism and sacrifice, Griffin explores the difficult adjustment of enlisted men suddenly given officers' commissions; the raising of a Marine parachute battalion; the impact of total war on peacetime routines. His penchant for Marine arcana occasionally becomes intrusive, and the periodic reintroductions of characters from earlier books slow the plot and are likely to confuse readers who begin with Counterattack. Yet he succeeds in the more important task of making a point often obscured in conventional military fiction: the essence of war is boredom, punctuated by random episodes of terror. BOMC dividend selection. (Jan.)