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June 2024
1min read

It was with a great deal of pleasure, somewhat akin to meeting an old friend, that I read Donald R. Morris’s article “Thomason, U.S.M.C.,” in the November issue. As a young airman pulling isolated duty on a “rock” called Bluie West-One in Greenland in the early 1950s, I first encountered John W. Thomason’s writings in his classic War Between the States novel. In my opinion, Thomason had the best ear for a soldier’s idiom and syntax of any author I’ve ever read. Or perhaps it was his translating from voice to print my native East Texas language, or maybe his easy-paced, leisurely style of another era—more akin to Twain than Hemingway.

Whatever it was, no one in the latter half of the twentieth century has come near him as a writer. Under different circumstances it might have been Thomason, rather than Jones or Mailer, who produced the definitive novel of World War II. Too bad that we never had a chance to know.

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