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Company K

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With an Introduction by Philip D. Beidler This book was originally published in 1933. It is the first novel by William March, pen name for William Edward Campbell. Stemming directly from the author's experiences with the US Marines in France during World War I, the book consists of 113 sketches, or chapters, tracing the fictional Company K's war exploits and providing an e With an Introduction by Philip D. Beidler This book was originally published in 1933. It is the first novel by William March, pen name for William Edward Campbell. Stemming directly from the author's experiences with the US Marines in France during World War I, the book consists of 113 sketches, or chapters, tracing the fictional Company K's war exploits and providing an emotional history of the men of the company that extends beyond the boundaries of the war itself. William Edward Campbell served courageously in France as evidenced by his chestful of medals and certificates, including the Croix de Guerre, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Navy Cross. However, without the medals and citations we would know of his bravery. For it is clear in the pages of Company K that this book was written by a man who had been to war, who had clearly seen his share of the worst of it, who had somehow survived, and who had committed himself afterward to the new bravery of sense-making embodied in the creation of major literary art. It is of that bravery that we still have the record of magnificent achievement, the brave terrible gift of Company K.


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With an Introduction by Philip D. Beidler This book was originally published in 1933. It is the first novel by William March, pen name for William Edward Campbell. Stemming directly from the author's experiences with the US Marines in France during World War I, the book consists of 113 sketches, or chapters, tracing the fictional Company K's war exploits and providing an e With an Introduction by Philip D. Beidler This book was originally published in 1933. It is the first novel by William March, pen name for William Edward Campbell. Stemming directly from the author's experiences with the US Marines in France during World War I, the book consists of 113 sketches, or chapters, tracing the fictional Company K's war exploits and providing an emotional history of the men of the company that extends beyond the boundaries of the war itself. William Edward Campbell served courageously in France as evidenced by his chestful of medals and certificates, including the Croix de Guerre, the Distinguished Service Cross, and the Navy Cross. However, without the medals and citations we would know of his bravery. For it is clear in the pages of Company K that this book was written by a man who had been to war, who had clearly seen his share of the worst of it, who had somehow survived, and who had committed himself afterward to the new bravery of sense-making embodied in the creation of major literary art. It is of that bravery that we still have the record of magnificent achievement, the brave terrible gift of Company K.

30 review for Company K

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lawyer

    Company K,William March's "non-fiction" Novel of World War I When Truman Capote claimed to have created a new literary form, the non-fiction novel,In Cold Blood in 1966, he was about thirty three years behind the times. William March. beat him to the punch in 1933 with his novel Company K. Recently, I reviewed Patrica Anthony's lost classic, Flanders, the story of a young American, Travis Lee Stanhope and his experience as a young man who volunteered to fight with the British prior to America's e Company K,William March's "non-fiction" Novel of World War I When Truman Capote claimed to have created a new literary form, the non-fiction novel,In Cold Blood in 1966, he was about thirty three years behind the times. William March. beat him to the punch in 1933 with his novel Company K. Recently, I reviewed Patrica Anthony's lost classic, Flanders, the story of a young American, Travis Lee Stanhope and his experience as a young man who volunteered to fight with the British prior to America's entering the war against Germany in World War I. It's a great book. However it had a great predecessor, Company K, by William March. The difference between these two books lies in the difference of the authors who wrote them. Patricia Anthony was born in 1947, in San Antonio Texas. William March was born William Edward Campbell on September 18, 1893, to a dirt poor itenerant farm family near Mobile, Alabama. His father spent the majority of his working life in the logging industry. March to his name from his mother, Susan March Cambell. It was his mother who read to March and his nine siblings, although his hard drinking father was prone to recite the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe when he was in his cups. As one of ten children, March received no special privileges in the family home. March made his own way in the world. He obtained a job as a law clerk in Mobile, Alabama. He went to The University of Alabama School of law, but left in 1916 because he could no longer afford the tuition. That same year, he traveled to New York, New York, obtaining a job as a law clerk with a firm there. A few days after the United States entered the War, March entered the United States Marine Corp, and trained at Parris Island. He emerged as a Sergeant, assigned to March reached France in March 1918, serving as a sergeant in Co F, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, 4th Brigade of Marines, Second Division of the U.S. Army Expeditionary Force. March fought in every major American engagement during the war, first at Verdun, then Belleau Wood, the assault on Soissons, the Battle of Sant Mihiel, and alongside the French at Mont Blanc. During the course of his fighting, March was awarded the Croix de Guerre, and the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Medal of Honor. As so many other soldiers who saw action in the first great war, March returned to America suffering from acute episodes of depression. March lived with his family in Tuscaloosa, Alabama prior to taking a job at a law firm in Mobile, Alabama. Shortly thereafter, March became the personal secretary of the CEO of the Waterman Steamship Company, eventually becoming vice president of the company. In 1926, March traveled to New York, taking writing courses at Columbia University. His personal experience of encountering a young German Soldier whom he bayonted through the throat continued to haunt him long after the incident occurred. In New York, March finished his first extraordinary novel, Company K. The novel was originally serialized in the Forum Magazine. It was published in 1933. March covers his experiences from training through combat in a series of 113 different vignettes, each chapter devoted to an individual marine. However, the episode that haunted March, the bayoneting of the young German soldier was attributed to a marine named Nate Burt. Company K contains all the horror of war. From the execution of the wounded enemy and prisoners, to the frantic chaos of mustard gas, and the fragging of officers sending their men on suicidal missions, March's novel emerged as the American anti-war novel of World War I. Change the setting to the humid jungles of East Asia, you can easily find the imbroglio of the Vietnam War. March did not win acclaim for his novel. The most favorable criticism came from the British, including Graham Greene and Christopher Morley. Writing for The Spectator Graham Greene wrote: "His book has the force of a mob-protest; an outcry from anonymous throats. The wheel turns and turns and it does not matter, one hardly notices that the captain of the company, killed on page 159, is alive again a hundred pages later. It does not matter that every stock situation of the war, suicide, the murder of an officer, the slaughter of prisoners, a vision of Christ, is apportioned to Company K, because the book is not written in any realistic convention. It is the only War-book I have read which has found a new form to fit the novelty of the protest. The prose is bare, lucid, without literary echoes, not an imitation but a development of eighteenth-century prose." William March: An Annotated Checklist (First ed.). University of Alabama Press. p. 120 , Roy S. Simmonds (1988) Morley added his kudos to that of Greene: "It's queer about this book--it suddenly made me wonder whether any other book about the War has been written in this country. It's a book of extra-ordinary courage--not the courage of hope but the quiet courage of despair. It will make patriots and romanticists angry--yet it is the kind of patriotism that is hardest and toughest. It ranks at once with the few great cries of protest. It is a selected, partial, bitter picture, but a picture we need. It will live. None of the acts of bravery for which the author was decorated during the War was as brave as this anthology of dismay." Simmonds (1988), p. 4, ibid. For the definitive biography to date concerning William March, see The Two Worlds of William March by Roy S. Simmonds, University of Alabama Press (1984) This is not quite the lost American classic. However, published only by the University of Alabama Press, this is another novel of the caliber of All Quiet on the Western Front, deserving the same readership. This is a book with the staying power of any novel written on the horror of war. Find it. Read it. You cannot forget it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mark Mortensen

    William Edward Campbell served with the Marine Corps during WWI in Company K of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, 4th Brigade, within the 2nd Division. Drawing from his personal experiences he wrote this powerful fictitious novel using the pen name William March. From the beginning of the war to the return home the author portrays how one mans life was dramatically changed under the philosophy of “you don’t come out the way you went in”.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Christian

    A masterful work by March, this novel is a rich and powerful description of much of WWI. March speaks from experience to create entries by various characters, many of these entries being short, but nonetheless complete stories describing multiple aspects of the war. Although the entries are often brief, March effectively submerses the reader into the world each soldier lived in, describing with such detail the experiences of each soldier that one can almost feel the uniform on himself and hear t A masterful work by March, this novel is a rich and powerful description of much of WWI. March speaks from experience to create entries by various characters, many of these entries being short, but nonetheless complete stories describing multiple aspects of the war. Although the entries are often brief, March effectively submerses the reader into the world each soldier lived in, describing with such detail the experiences of each soldier that one can almost feel the uniform on himself and hear the marching of boots on either side. However, what makes this novel so important as a reflection of history is the realistic description of the war down to every chilling detail. March spares nothing as he describes the horrid smelling trenches, the childlike fear one is struck with when he is being shelled, and even the humbling final thoughts one faces as his last breath escapes him on the field of battle. He also skillfully captures the feeling of the Lost Generation as he describes the aftermath the war plays on a soldier's everyday life following the war. The author also describes the futility of the war and how foolish the war was. March's artistic portrayal of the war through his concise entries make this a must read for anyone who seeks a novel describing one of the most important events in the world's history.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    Really excellent book by the author of The Bad Seed. The war experiences in the story are vivid and powerful, and every character is interesting.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aarón

    It's Remembrance Day here in Canada, a day set aside each year to show respect for veterans who served in the great wars. Politicians stand in front of war memorials and yap about young men making the ultimate sacrifice against the forces of evil. It's all very shallow, sappy and sacrosanct. But what was the Great War, anyhow? How, in these empty, symbolic gestures, has the real war been lost? WWI was a stupid, pointless war fought by a dying aristocracy. Millions of men snuffed out with mechanic It's Remembrance Day here in Canada, a day set aside each year to show respect for veterans who served in the great wars. Politicians stand in front of war memorials and yap about young men making the ultimate sacrifice against the forces of evil. It's all very shallow, sappy and sacrosanct. But what was the Great War, anyhow? How, in these empty, symbolic gestures, has the real war been lost? WWI was a stupid, pointless war fought by a dying aristocracy. Millions of men snuffed out with mechanical banality. William March (pen name of a serviceman, see Wikipedia for more) gives these men life and purpose. Company K comprises of every short chapters, each a vignette of war-time and afterwards, the survivors trying to regain a sense of normalcy. Hear the cries of the dying, bleeding out in no man's land. See a soldier commit an ironic murder of his commanding officer. Get the feels for a former piano prodigy, returned to small-town civilian life with less digits. Watch as a lovelorn soldier gets grifted by a French prostie. Even in the darkness, there are moments of laughter and levity. This isn't a war book, this is a book about humanity. It's not a Harper speech, it's real. A soldier is haunted by the ghost of a German he killed. Forces of evil? War is the evil, and so is forgetting.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    One of my favorite books, one that has accompanied me on every cross-country move, a piece of WWI literature that deserves far more recognition than it gets. Written by an decorated veteran of the Great War, Company K offers an semi-fictionalized account of the unit's experiences, from deployment to decades after the war ends. Each member of the group tells his own story in the first person, and each has a very different perspective, from deserters to cold-blooded murderers, philosophers to poli One of my favorite books, one that has accompanied me on every cross-country move, a piece of WWI literature that deserves far more recognition than it gets. Written by an decorated veteran of the Great War, Company K offers an semi-fictionalized account of the unit's experiences, from deployment to decades after the war ends. Each member of the group tells his own story in the first person, and each has a very different perspective, from deserters to cold-blooded murderers, philosophers to politicians. The stories are hardly more than snippets; most don't continue beyond two or three pages, with a few notable exceptions. A sad but beautiful masterpiece.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kokeshi

    One of the best books I have ever read. A revelatory and soul jarring comment on the folly of war as we know it. The writing is exceptional and the style is totally fresh (to me at least). Read this book. 5 stars.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Really good WWI book. A series of 113 very short (two or three pages) stories that interconnect. Surprised I'd never heard of this one before... its definitely up there with the other classic WWI books.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ker

    In high school, the book that got me labeled a communist by my friend's dad. Should be read with Slaughterhouse-Five to ward off ignorance, arrogance, and tendencies of warmongering.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Walter

    This novel is one of the unpatriotic novels about the First World War. Along with "All Quiet on the Western Front", "Three Soldiers" and "A Farewell to Arms", this novel broke through the barrier of war novels that served to glorify the side of a war on which its author had once fought. While I really enjoyed "All Quiet" and "Farewell", "Company K" was a bit too abstract for me. "Company K" is the story of an American Marine infantry company on during the First World War. It traces the experience This novel is one of the unpatriotic novels about the First World War. Along with "All Quiet on the Western Front", "Three Soldiers" and "A Farewell to Arms", this novel broke through the barrier of war novels that served to glorify the side of a war on which its author had once fought. While I really enjoyed "All Quiet" and "Farewell", "Company K" was a bit too abstract for me. "Company K" is the story of an American Marine infantry company on during the First World War. It traces the experiences of the members of the unit from training in the States, to the crossing of the Atlantic, through the war in the trenches in France, to the return to the States and the lives of the veterans of the company after the war. The story is told in the first person by each member of the company, which makes the narrative quite a bit disjointed. Furthermore, the personalities of the narrators do not seem to vary from each other, which is understandable given that each narrative only lasts a few pages, and there is not enough room to do anything like character development or plot development. The story covers some pretty disturbing ground. There are scenes involving the murder of officers by their own men, and men who are considering or about to commit desertion in the face of the enemy. One of the veterans of Company K commits a capital crime after the war and is executed in his narrative. Another tries to start an anti-war organization at home, but when the potential members of the group hear this veteran's stories of the war, they become filled with patriotic feeling and go out to enlist in the National Guard! This is probably the only piece of humor in this novel, and I don't believe that the author intended it to be humorous, but I found it to be funny. The bottom line here is that this is a hard book to read. The realities described by the author undoubtedly were real problems experienced by recruits, soldiers and veterans of the First World War. If you are interested in reading a great novel about the realities of the Great War in the trenches, I would highly recommend "All Quiet on the Western Front" or "A Farewell to Arms". "Company K" is really not in the same league as these two, but it is worth a read for hard-core enthusiasts of the Great War.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Willem van den Oever

    “Company K” is one of the more intense novels written about World War One; a bleak and direct narrative entirely void of sentiment or hope. In it, members of the army unit describe their experiences before, during and after the Great War. A hundred young men - hardly any of them having any experience on the battlefield - start their training filled with enthusiasm and bravery. But from the prologue, years after the war in which a conversation regarding the evil of murder is discussed, we know mo “Company K” is one of the more intense novels written about World War One; a bleak and direct narrative entirely void of sentiment or hope. In it, members of the army unit describe their experiences before, during and after the Great War. A hundred young men - hardly any of them having any experience on the battlefield - start their training filled with enthusiasm and bravery. But from the prologue, years after the war in which a conversation regarding the evil of murder is discussed, we know most of these men who will survive the war, will do so embittered, broken and lost. Through the 113 different voices, “Company K” becomes a panoramic collage of experiences during the war. Because of the extremely short chapters, it sometimes felt like I was skimming through a much larger novel, only reading a paragraph here and there. But even though that makes the story less coherent, it didn’t make the reading experience as a whole any less intense. Despite being a highly decorated WW1-veteran himself, author William March regarded war as pure evil, so most of the stories are mean, coldblooded chapters of madness without any hope or comfort. There turns out to be nothing patriotic about fighting in the name of freedom, nor do one’s actions on the ruined landscapes of France prove one’s courage or loyalty. “Company K” serves as an anti-war protest; and at the time, March was breaking barriers by using the pain of his PTSD in order to create this work of literature. One of the characters at the beginning of the book, who has penned down his experiences as a soldier, hopes his words will not only be understood by American combatants, but by those all across the world where men are plunged into war. Likewise, “Company K” is a universally accessible book on the effects of war, and 80 years after its first publication, the words of William March still carry incredible power, strength and pain in them.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vic Nicholas

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. William March's Company K is a series of vignettes (113 in all) of the various members of this fictional (but no doubt autobiographical) WW1 US Marine company in France in 1918. When I first read this as a teenager, I found it entertaining, sad, and in parts disturbing. Every scene is described in stunning detail from one who could only have been an eye witness to the events described. The scene where they shot the freshly surrendered German prisoners in a ravine is told from a few view points, a William March's Company K is a series of vignettes (113 in all) of the various members of this fictional (but no doubt autobiographical) WW1 US Marine company in France in 1918. When I first read this as a teenager, I found it entertaining, sad, and in parts disturbing. Every scene is described in stunning detail from one who could only have been an eye witness to the events described. The scene where they shot the freshly surrendered German prisoners in a ravine is told from a few view points, and it is harrowing. The detachment and disillusionment of the post war vignettes of the lives of those that survived the horrors of the front is no less sad. The horrifically disfigured young soldier who insists on his pre-war fiancé honouring her promise to marry him - and the vividly painted scene of spending his wedding night at opposite ends of the room from his young bride, who is repulsed by his grotesque appearance and is sobbing hysterically at her predicament of being married to a "monster" left a crushing emotional impact on me when I first read it as a teenager. This book covers every range of emotions, from the funny boot camp episodes to the description of watching comrades walk straight into an artillery bombardment that wipes them out. It is not a book you will easily forget.

  13. 5 out of 5

    WaterstonesBirmingham

    A “Band of Brothers” for the First World War, and a relatively rare glimpse into the experience of American Marines in the trenches, “Company K” is a vital and intense novel. Told through the eyes of 113 different soldiers in short chapters and comprised largely of experiences that the author witnessed himself during his time serving in France, “Company K” is an experience that is not easily forgotten. Once described as “an anthology of dismay” by Christopher Morley, I would venture that the shor A “Band of Brothers” for the First World War, and a relatively rare glimpse into the experience of American Marines in the trenches, “Company K” is a vital and intense novel. Told through the eyes of 113 different soldiers in short chapters and comprised largely of experiences that the author witnessed himself during his time serving in France, “Company K” is an experience that is not easily forgotten. Once described as “an anthology of dismay” by Christopher Morley, I would venture that the short cries that issue forth across each chapter are not only of dismay, but a full to bursting spectrum of all emotions. That's the thing with this singular and remarkable work, it is not so much a novel of war, but war itself rendered through the mouths of these men. It can be despairing, hopeful, violent, funny, tragic and dastardly at any moment. For me, March has achieved the purest form of war novel imaginable. One that is honest. It is not glorious, though glory is to be found, it is not condemning these men, though there are rogues amongst them. It merely allows them to speak so that they may not be forgotten. I can think of few better reasons to write than that. Tsam

  14. 4 out of 5

    Fred Dameron

    If the fate of todays veterans concerns you the last 100 pages of Co. K are a must read. March has the credentials to talk about what really happens to people involved in a war. His descriptions of pre - enlistment, training, combat, and, most important to me the aftermath are spot on. Those of us who have served can see those we served with in these pages. We can also see those who did well after their service and those who have not done well. The post war part is truly moving and I see some of If the fate of todays veterans concerns you the last 100 pages of Co. K are a must read. March has the credentials to talk about what really happens to people involved in a war. His descriptions of pre - enlistment, training, combat, and, most important to me the aftermath are spot on. Those of us who have served can see those we served with in these pages. We can also see those who did well after their service and those who have not done well. The post war part is truly moving and I see some of myself in those last 100 pages. AS this nation continues to fight in Afghanistan the questions we ask today are the same ones March asked 100 years ago. All our politicians need to read CO. K before they vote for another troop increase in Afghanistan.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ridgewalker

    All most of us know of war is through the movies we have watched. The story is told of John Wayne visiting a hospital in Hawaii during WWII and being soundly booed by the Marines who were their healing. They knew the truth of what war was like and that it was nothing like what he had portrayed on screen. This book is a story of a company in WWI. It is raw and honest in its descriptions. You read about senseless violence. The language is true to the era, as it was written by a member of this comp All most of us know of war is through the movies we have watched. The story is told of John Wayne visiting a hospital in Hawaii during WWII and being soundly booed by the Marines who were their healing. They knew the truth of what war was like and that it was nothing like what he had portrayed on screen. This book is a story of a company in WWI. It is raw and honest in its descriptions. You read about senseless violence. The language is true to the era, as it was written by a member of this company. This book stands as a stark contrast to the broader narratives you will read of battles and strategies being executed. It is told man by man, by each member of the company. Even if you have no interest in military history, this is an excellent book to read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Chloe

    Short, brutal, and heart-breaking. Company K is made up of over a hundred short narratives and vignettes, most of them two to three pages long, told in no particular order, about what happened to the soldiers of that company over the course of a year in the first World War, and in some cases about how the war follows them even back in the States. It's not an easy read, and many of the stories are ones that make you put down the book for a moment to marvel at the cruelty of mankind, and the hopel Short, brutal, and heart-breaking. Company K is made up of over a hundred short narratives and vignettes, most of them two to three pages long, told in no particular order, about what happened to the soldiers of that company over the course of a year in the first World War, and in some cases about how the war follows them even back in the States. It's not an easy read, and many of the stories are ones that make you put down the book for a moment to marvel at the cruelty of mankind, and the hopelessness of an individual soldier during wartime. Ideal for someone with an interest in WW1 memoirs and fiction, and a strong stomach.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Janis

    This is an awesome read! I was afraid the book might be too gruesome for me, but it wasn’t. I have a much better understanding of the war experience now that I’ve read this novel. It consists of a bunch of very short chapters. Each one describes one particular incident, told from the point of view of a particular soldier. Each chapter is narrated by a different soldier. Sometimes, they are telling about the same incident, but from a different point of view. The novel tells the complete story in This is an awesome read! I was afraid the book might be too gruesome for me, but it wasn’t. I have a much better understanding of the war experience now that I’ve read this novel. It consists of a bunch of very short chapters. Each one describes one particular incident, told from the point of view of a particular soldier. Each chapter is narrated by a different soldier. Sometimes, they are telling about the same incident, but from a different point of view. The novel tells the complete story in that the incidents described happen before, during & after the war. I highly recommend this book!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alec Gray

    A little known semi-fictional account of an American soldier (from Mobile) in WWI. A. Ed unique story structure with 50or more individual vignettes that wheel around in time and intersect in fascinating ways. But most of all a brutal indictment of war. Amazing how many anti-war works came out of Americans who went to France to fight the "war to end all wars". Probably why the book is so little known

  19. 4 out of 5

    Grayson Kelly

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Less a review, more a place to drop notes. No good content follows. -- This work features a series of episodic narratives, each with separate, quickly-changing, intradiagetic narration. The Marines within each episode tell stories of, for the first 18 or so chapters, relatively positive anecdotes - from giddy fighting amongst themselves in the snow to successes at sea. The stories take a dramatic turn for darker narrative about 20 chapters in - telling intermittent stories of loss, death, and grie Less a review, more a place to drop notes. No good content follows. -- This work features a series of episodic narratives, each with separate, quickly-changing, intradiagetic narration. The Marines within each episode tell stories of, for the first 18 or so chapters, relatively positive anecdotes - from giddy fighting amongst themselves in the snow to successes at sea. The stories take a dramatic turn for darker narrative about 20 chapters in - telling intermittent stories of loss, death, and grievance. There are over 46 different characters amongst these 100 pages, each telling a short story from their own perspective. By utilizing about 50 different characters, each with their own point of view, March is able to tell powerful stories in an incredibly concise manner. Without having to waste time transitioning between characters, not only can one story be told from multiple perspectives, but attitudes and events can change abruptly - complimenting and participating in the sudden, unexpected nature of war. March leaves room for lighthearted stories, however. Stories of death and grief are framed between stories of liberty and lust, painting an entire portrait of their experiences. Setting up these darker, more dense stories by beginning with lighthearted stories from bases and liberty serves to paint a sense of linear narrative, although one is not necessarily present.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jeslyn

    "Deeply affecting" doesn't begin to describe my feelings upon finishing this book, but it's the best I can do - all other words fail me. Though it is officially fiction, I do not doubt that most if not all of the accounts within are based on true events. "You can always tell an old battlefield where many men have lost their lives. The next Spring the green comes up greener and more luxuriant than on the surrounding countryside; the poppies are redder, the corn-flowers more blue. They grow over t "Deeply affecting" doesn't begin to describe my feelings upon finishing this book, but it's the best I can do - all other words fail me. Though it is officially fiction, I do not doubt that most if not all of the accounts within are based on true events. "You can always tell an old battlefield where many men have lost their lives. The next Spring the green comes up greener and more luxuriant than on the surrounding countryside; the poppies are redder, the corn-flowers more blue. They grow over the field and down the sides of the shell holes and lean, almost touching, across the abandoned trenches in a mass of color that ripples all day in the direction that the wind blows. They take the pits and scars out of the torn land and make it a sweet, sloping surface again. Take a wood, now, or a ravine: In a year's time you could never guess the things which had taken place there. I repeated my thoughts to my wife, but she said it was not difficult to understand about battlefields: The blood of the men killed on the field, and the bodies buried there, fertilize the ground and stimulate the growth of vegetation. That was all quite natural she said. But I could not agree with this, too-simple, explanation: To me it has always seemed that God is so sickened with men, and their unending cruelty to each other, that he covers the places where they have been as quickly as possible."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    An extraordinary classic that I found hidden away on our bookshelves. Written by a survivor of World War One, who served in the trenches. Follows the "hearts and minds" of 113 men who made up his infantry company. These were men from all over the US, who were mixing together, most of them never having left the comfort (or lack thereof) of their hometown or state, to fight a brutal war. Fascinating reading.

  22. 5 out of 5

    B.H. 521

    I had to read this book for my college honors history class, and let's just be clear, I did not enjoy this book. I'm not gonna lie in saying that I did like a few entries here and there, but the majority of it, like a good 80% of it, was just weird, and pointless. I don't recommend it if you aren't into the whole diary written type of book. I would give it a try if you are a history geek, since it was based off of WWI soldiers. RATING: TWO STARS; it was okish.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Maarit

    This book is about the World War 1, pictured through the short stories told by 113 men belonging to the Company K. The stories give a grass-level look of the war in many places, at the same time building a bigger picture about the company itself, about the war and things that will follow the men back home after the war is finished. Very powerful book, which lingers in your mind long after reading and makes you wonder if war really is as necessary as it's said to be. 4 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Opa

    World War I, most interesting war, very melancholic and cruel book, told many stories of many different men in WWI, left me feeling a bit empty, but totally worth reading. I've been always curious about what war does to people, and WWI especially being the first-of-its-kind, the shell-shocked people who came back alive from the war were not sane at all, who would be?

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Schuler

    Well, an interesting read for sure. I did enjoy the vignette format, especially the brevity of each. Most stories revolve around privates, so it certainly does have the feeling of "why are we here". I don't know if the inclusion of higher-ups would give the book a less anti-war feeling, but I don't think it was a coincidence.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Arthur

    One of the most authentic perspectives of war and the lives of those who live it. Fictional adventures and horrors told through members of Company K soberly reminds us that each of these stories came from a place few would ever be willing to go and that all have more than a few dark grains of truth.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Singleton Makin

    amazing, simple character sketches, i think this book should be made mandatory for high school students to read. i will buy this book and read and study it, and make or remake a film about this book as it has alot of power. i think william march is a very under promoted writer. the bad seed was a powerful film from his book, but this one i think is even more powerful and timeless.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Taneli Repo

    A novel about WW1. It’s a collection of interconnected short stories about the men of an American company in the French front. Most stories are only 2 to 3 pages long. Very realistic, very brutal, somewhat cynical and very anti-war. I liked this book a lot.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Randal Schmidt

    A World War I book that should be as well known as the classic and overrated "All Quiet..." At times, moving and disturbing, funny and heartbreaking, "Company K" is a must-read for anyone interested in the war.

  30. 4 out of 5

    John Cates

    Strong anti war theme - which also deals with the issues of the veterans lives after the end of the war Coming up on the 100th anniversary of WW 1, a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same!

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