enhanced] DD-B

Book Note: W.E.B. Griffin, The Lieutenants

I read this book about 9-Jul-2001. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1982. This note was last modified Saturday, 03-May-2014 21:34:20 PDT.

This is book 1 of the "Brotherhood of War" series.

This note does not contain major spoilers for the book.


The Griffin Brotherhood of War series could probably be described as "guilty pleasures". Sort-of. Except I don't actually feel guilty about them. I think they're honest work of a useful sort.

This first one is the origin stories of all the main continuing characters. One of the things I like about these books is the period feel; they're set from the early 40s through the late 60s or early 70s, some of which overlaps my memory.

Griffin (who is probably William E. Butterworth; he's certainly the same as Alex Baldwin and Kent Dugan) has some consistent writing quirks, as well as a very distinctive style. This gave me my first really convincing example of recognizing writing style; it was obvious long before it was revealed.

The "twitches" that come to mind are always having a rich but disaffected character in a leading role, and a number of phrases that come through repeatedly: "God takes care of fools and drunks, and I am thus dual-qualified", "Don't let the doorknob hit you in the ass on the way out", and "Dogs and soldiers keep off the gras" come to mind as making reliable appearances in every series.

I don't know enough to be able to peg what it is in the actual writing style that's distinctive, but it's as distinctive as Heinlein or Doc Smith (and if you think those aren't distinctive, have somebody read you a bit of one or the other without your knowing which, and see if it isn't obvious).

He does have a very romantic view of people falling in love. It's probably very period. I accept it in place, but it doesn't match mine any more.

This first book is reasonably clean from a copy-editing point of view; but some of the others aren't. I don't know, of course, how bad the manuscript was, or whether the author refused to fix real errors that were called to his attention. This first one has a factor of two error in some time-distance calculations; otherwise just a small number of minor typos.

These books are more about being in the army in peacetime than they are about war. WWII is basically over, and there's no real combat in Germany in this book. There's one battle with a Greek company and American advisors in Greece during the attempted revolution there; otherwise it's peacetime. As the series title suggests, it's about the people who make the Army their career; it's not about war as such.

For some reason these have become comfort books for me, and I re-read them when I don't have the energy tackle something new.

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David Dyer-Bennet