Customer Reviews for

The Young Lions

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2002

    THE ORIGINAL BLOCKBUSTER NOVEL

    Don't be put off by the war setting. This brilliant epic novel revolves around a richly drawn cast of characters - just ordinary people at the onset of the story - and shows how their lives become entwined in the ensuing conflict of WW2. One word of warning, though: James Salter has written a great reflective introduction to this new edition of the classic novel (first published in 1949 and probably re-issued again because of the resurge of interest in WW2 films such as Saving Private Ryan and TV's Band of Brothers, which were clearly influenced by The Young Lions) but spoils it by giving away the ending of the story and divulging the fate of the three central characters you're supposed to be rooting for over 662 pages! If you haven't read The Young Lions before, then I suggest you skip the introduction and go back to it after you've finished the novel. As for the author: one of America's greatest and most-gifted novelists and short story writers, Irwin Shaw is best remembered for his Rich Man, Poor Man TV mini-series of the 1970s (now available on video). The quality of writing and depth of character is his classic novels is far superior to most of his predecessors today. A groundbreaking pioneer of the big multi-character blockbuster novel, every author who has followed Irwin Shaw - from Stephen King to John Grisham - owes a debt to this literary trailblazer.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Best of the World War Two Novels

    What does it mean to be at war, to be a man, to be an average Joe, to be a hero, to see war's horror, to see its tragedy, to learn to do what must be done to survive? One of the best, if not the best novel to come out of the World War II experience, Irwin Shaw's, The Young Lions tells the intertwined war stories of three compelling characters, one, Michael Whitacre, a Broadway showman and partying type who comes into the war late, and takes a position as journalist assistant, driving behind and eventually up to the active front lines, alternatively wishing for safety and wondering what it is like to fight, wanting to see some military action, and finally seeing more than enough; a second man, Noah Ackerman, also an American, a Jew who is discriminated against even in attempting to bury his father, a man whose only friend is killed in the Solomon Islands, a man who, although her Waspish father initially disapproves, marries a young woman and fathers a child, only to be subsequently drafted and suffer abuse throughout basic training before learning bravery and military smarts while fighting in Europe; and a third man, Christian Diestl, an Austrian ski instructor before the war, who enters the military with high hopes for Nazi Germany, only to have his illusions shattered in the process of surviving battles in Africa, Italy, France and Germany, growing smart enough to survive and fight but losing all claim to humanity in the process.

    The book is a bit long for the contemporary reader, nevertheless, after the opening chapters it moves with relentless speed towards the inevitable meeting up of the three soldiers in its final pages. Shaw uses the circumstances of his characters to comment on contemporary social conditions. Some might be put off by these observations, but I found them appropriately interesting.

    For many people, especially Americans, there is an unrealistic, idealistic, almost worshipful view of who soldiers are and how they behave in a military environment. Some of the very realistic incidents in this book might dispel such naïveté.

    Who should read this book? If you're looking for a good World War II story, well told, or if you are interested in what it is like to be at war in the military, this is the book for you.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 22, 2010

    A very powerful writting

    I was not ready to take in so strong a history. The war scenario was not really compelling to me but since the author was Shaw, I knew it was worth reading it.

    This novel is perhaps a recollection of something real. One can hardly imagine that the characters are completely fictional.

    This novel mixes the stories of more than one character and the conclusion puts the reader to think and re-think about the sensless of wars.

    No one will ever regret reading this book. I can assure that the reader will read it again after some time

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2013

    Recommended a very good read

    I enjoyed how the auther showed 3 differenet sides of 3 totally different men. How some choose to fight for different reasons. Also how they came from very different belief systems. I believe that any reader of this book could easily understand what these 3 young men went through, because they are not that much different then our "Young Lions" today if we stop and think about it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    Highly recommend--a classic of WWII

    Vivid novel of 3 mens' experiences of WWII. Compelling. I want to find the movie and watch it!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2013

    As Good As It Gets!

    Beautifully written, as one would expect from this author. Provides very interesting insights into the lives of three soldiers from very different backgrounds during WW II.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2014

    Max

    Lily in here.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2014

    Thought provoking

    I have read a lot of WW2 fiction and this was one of the best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2014

    boring....

    How this could be considered a "classic" is beyond me. I found it difficult to develop any rapport or affinity for any of the characters. I only read the whole thing because of the carrot dangled at the beginning to see what happens to the lead characters. By that time I could care less...

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  • Posted May 9, 2014

    A real and classic tale of WWII!

    Strange as it seems, while I was reading this book, the movie came on TV so I had to watch it. It was very different, and although I understand the editing pf the movie, as this is a very long book, it was fun to see both stories, for the book was entirely different in many ways. I thought the writing was very true to life, to Shaw's experiences in the war, and I could feel the parallels to my father's. I appreciated the diversity of the 3 main characters, and I really enjoyed his writing and the story. I had forgotten he wrote the great "Rich Man, Poor Man", so I want to read more of him. A really good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2014

    Zatanna

    She walked in and waite for other team members

    0 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted September 22, 2013

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    Posted June 2, 2013

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    Posted March 7, 2014

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    Posted November 1, 2013

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    Posted May 23, 2014

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    Posted January 14, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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