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Twelve bearded, filthy GIs wait behind barbed wire, prisoners of their own army. Murderers, thieves, rapists, they wait to be sentenced to death or hard labour for life. They are the damned of the American Army. But at the last moment they are offered the opportunity of salvation: a mission just before D-Day. The chances of their getting away with it are about one in a mil Twelve bearded, filthy GIs wait behind barbed wire, prisoners of their own army. Murderers, thieves, rapists, they wait to be sentenced to death or hard labour for life. They are the damned of the American Army. But at the last moment they are offered the opportunity of salvation: a mission just before D-Day. The chances of their getting away with it are about one in a million, but the damned don't care, and certainly don't count chances...


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Twelve bearded, filthy GIs wait behind barbed wire, prisoners of their own army. Murderers, thieves, rapists, they wait to be sentenced to death or hard labour for life. They are the damned of the American Army. But at the last moment they are offered the opportunity of salvation: a mission just before D-Day. The chances of their getting away with it are about one in a mil Twelve bearded, filthy GIs wait behind barbed wire, prisoners of their own army. Murderers, thieves, rapists, they wait to be sentenced to death or hard labour for life. They are the damned of the American Army. But at the last moment they are offered the opportunity of salvation: a mission just before D-Day. The chances of their getting away with it are about one in a million, but the damned don't care, and certainly don't count chances...

30 review for The Dirty Dozen

  1. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Mridula

    This is one of the rare books where I went from the movie to the book. I liked the movie: but I would not have, had I read the book before. The movie was basically a military adventure with an interesting premise - the novel, a deep study in character development. (view spoiler)[In the movie, while the mission is shown in detail, in the book it is just an appendix - a sudden and shocking denouement which totally wrong-foots the reader. (hide spoiler)] Twelve convicted criminals of the US Army are This is one of the rare books where I went from the movie to the book. I liked the movie: but I would not have, had I read the book before. The movie was basically a military adventure with an interesting premise - the novel, a deep study in character development. (view spoiler)[In the movie, while the mission is shown in detail, in the book it is just an appendix - a sudden and shocking denouement which totally wrong-foots the reader. (hide spoiler)] Twelve convicted criminals of the US Army are trained and unleashed on Nazi Germany in what is practically a suicide mission, as a final chance of redemption. They are lead by Captain Reisman, the only non-criminal in the group, who is initially sceptical but ultimately comes to love his men. The story does not focus so much on military adventure, but the psychology of individuals - however heinous the crimes they may have committed. Against the backdrop of the biggest crime on humanity, war, it becomes all the more significant. A great read.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mike (the Paladin)

    I read this many years ago. It's one of those that still hangs around after many reprintings. That speaks well of a novel. You probably know the basic premise of the novel as there is a well known movie based on it. By the way while it differs a good deal from the book the movie is a pretty good watch. Anyway it's a good story following the unconventional outfit that had been thought up by officers who would never have taken part in the actual actions that put into motion. I think most who like ac I read this many years ago. It's one of those that still hangs around after many reprintings. That speaks well of a novel. You probably know the basic premise of the novel as there is a well known movie based on it. By the way while it differs a good deal from the book the movie is a pretty good watch. Anyway it's a good story following the unconventional outfit that had been thought up by officers who would never have taken part in the actual actions that put into motion. I think most who like action or military "fiction" will like this one. I also think that you may find the difference in the way the book ends from the way that the movie ends...interesting. I think I can recommend this one.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Saunders

    E.M. Nathanson's The Dirty Dozen is remembered, if it all, for inspiring the classic film with Lee Marvin and a rogue's gallery of tough guy stars. Which is a shame, because Nathanson's book is a fine read in its own right. Rather than the fast-paced, pulpy action of the movie, it's a slow-burn character study about a dozen (really, thirteen) men whose characters and personalities are scarred by the experiences of war. Captain Reisman (not a Major as in the movie) is a burnt-out commando veteran E.M. Nathanson's The Dirty Dozen is remembered, if it all, for inspiring the classic film with Lee Marvin and a rogue's gallery of tough guy stars. Which is a shame, because Nathanson's book is a fine read in its own right. Rather than the fast-paced, pulpy action of the movie, it's a slow-burn character study about a dozen (really, thirteen) men whose characters and personalities are scarred by the experiences of war. Captain Reisman (not a Major as in the movie) is a burnt-out commando veteran who wrestles with his Jewish identity and his cynicism about the value of military service; Napoleon White (renamed Jefferson in the movie), an educated Black man who channels his resentments into military prowess; Franko, a tough-talking Italian-American who resents authority almost as much as he loves himself; Samson, a tough Ute eager to prove his people's worth in a white man's world; Odell, a religious fanatic-turned-killer who uses the war as an outlet for psychosis (he's conflated in the film with Archer Maggott, who's a gladhanding racist punk in the book); and others, with varying degrees of depth and characterization. The book takes a long time to get moving but it's worth the slow pace for Nathanson's insightful characterizations and careful plotting. The actual mission is almost an afterthought, in this version; Nathanson's less interested in heroics than showing the absurdities and stresses of military life. The present writer would be interested in someone trying a more faithful adaptation, perhaps in miniseries format; but how could they possibly match the cast of the original?

  4. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Boyd

    The movie was great and starred a ton of big name actors. The book is just as good. Recommended

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    This is the book that the movie was based on. The movie is one of my favorites, with an all star cast including Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas and Donald Sutherland. I couldn't help imagining the actors portraying the characters in the book as the story unfolded. The basic premise is set in WWII and 12 condemned Army prisoners, facing either a death sentence or long sentences are chosen to be trained for a pre-D-Day mission behind enemy lines. The book emphasizes different characters This is the book that the movie was based on. The movie is one of my favorites, with an all star cast including Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas and Donald Sutherland. I couldn't help imagining the actors portraying the characters in the book as the story unfolded. The basic premise is set in WWII and 12 condemned Army prisoners, facing either a death sentence or long sentences are chosen to be trained for a pre-D-Day mission behind enemy lines. The book emphasizes different characters than the movie and delves deeper into the lives of the men and why they ended up as convicts. Of course no movie can ever totally capture any novel, and that's why I don't watch Stephen King movies! The storyline of the movie only parallels the novel. There are a few scenes that appear in both the movie and the book, making it easier to imagine the scene. I enjoyed this book very much. If you like WWII stories, this is good. But it is more of a story of condemned men earning self respect and honor and gaining the trust of their commander. Good Read! This book is out of print, by the way. It isn't available on the Kindle, either. I bought a used copy from Amazon and was pleased with the purchase. The book came in fairly good condition, as advertised and I didn't pay much for it. I am glad I bought the hard back so I can add it to my bookshelf, as soon as I build it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tanja

    Excellent book. I liked the way we get introduced to the characters and how I started caring for them despite their background. However if I had not first seen the movie, and to be honest, it is one of my favorite movies I would have never picked up the book. I was surprised by the richness of character as well as the details of the book that helped me to better dive in the period. Highly recommendable.

  7. 4 out of 5

    David Dalton

    After all these years and countless viewings of the movie, I FINALLY got around to reading this book. Picked up a beat up old 1965 Book Club Edition hardback for about $6. At page 470 out of 495, the Dirty Dozen still had not jumped into France. This book is really about the Dirty Dozen characters themselves. From Franco to Posey to Odell, and to include Captain John Reisman. Oh, the movie captures several big parts of the book. Author E.M. Nathanson really gets into several of the character's ba After all these years and countless viewings of the movie, I FINALLY got around to reading this book. Picked up a beat up old 1965 Book Club Edition hardback for about $6. At page 470 out of 495, the Dirty Dozen still had not jumped into France. This book is really about the Dirty Dozen characters themselves. From Franco to Posey to Odell, and to include Captain John Reisman. Oh, the movie captures several big parts of the book. Author E.M. Nathanson really gets into several of the character's backgrounds. Not all of them, but the ones that he does cover, you really get their backstory and see what makes them tick. For example, we get to learn a lot more of Napoleon White (the Jim Brown character) in the book then we do in the movie. He was a Lieutenant (Lt) in the Army via OCS. Some of their stories about what led them to that prison is pretty heart breaking. Nathanson makes the Dirty Dozen human. My only gripe would be what I referenced up top. That the actual jump into France on the day before D-Day was basically glossed over. Most told from a report and not as it was happening. I guess that was the point of the book: about the characters and NOT the actual mission.. I just may look up the follow up by Nathanson that deals with just Captain Reisman. I am glad that I read it. I have now read the books behind 3 of my favorite movies: Die Hard (Nothing Lasts Forever) The Dirty Dozen First Blood

  8. 5 out of 5

    Travis Bird

    Not done justice by the derived movie/s. An insight into the military mind and the minds of men who go bad.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    Much, much different than the Telly Savalas movie franchise. Deeper and more psychological- A couple really profound sections. This is something to read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott Schmidt

    What. A. Novel. Like most, I picked this book up because I'm a big fan of the movie and had no idea it was made from a novel. The book, however, is much different from the movie. Interestingly, they compliment each other well. While the movie focuses more on the mission of the Dirty Dozen, the book goes into much greater depth about the Dozen themselves. It's billed as a war novel, but Nathanson's prose is far from the typical "blood and guts," matter-of-fact writing of soldiering and combat. In What. A. Novel. Like most, I picked this book up because I'm a big fan of the movie and had no idea it was made from a novel. The book, however, is much different from the movie. Interestingly, they compliment each other well. While the movie focuses more on the mission of the Dirty Dozen, the book goes into much greater depth about the Dozen themselves. It's billed as a war novel, but Nathanson's prose is far from the typical "blood and guts," matter-of-fact writing of soldiering and combat. In fact, it's quite beautiful and stirring. The biggest highlight for me was the character of John Reisman and imagining the great Lee Marvin in an expanded role as I read. I can't recommend this book enough for anyone who's a fan of the movie.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melody

    Fascinating. Can't put it down. Deep character development. Not a gentle book. I felt physically tired myself just reading what was happening. More than a good war story. Fascinating. Can't put it down. Deep character development. Not a gentle book. I felt physically tired myself just reading what was happening. More than a good war story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It moved a lot slower than I expected it to (despite reading other reviews of the book before I started giving me an idea of what to expect). The ending was a bit of a surprise to me, to be honest; it almost felt like the movie was made to tell the ending of the book (in some respects). I have seen the movie a couple of times or so, but it has been years, so my memory of the events in the movie are a bit vague, but I did recognize (remember) some I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It moved a lot slower than I expected it to (despite reading other reviews of the book before I started giving me an idea of what to expect). The ending was a bit of a surprise to me, to be honest; it almost felt like the movie was made to tell the ending of the book (in some respects). I have seen the movie a couple of times or so, but it has been years, so my memory of the events in the movie are a bit vague, but I did recognize (remember) some moments from the book that did make it to the big screen. The language in the book is quite strong and colorful; it surprised me a bit, on the one hand. I do not know how much the author intended this or not, but the book definitely focuses more on character development, on how somebody might try to mold twelve prisoners condemned to either death or life in prison for their crimes into a kind of soldier willing to do a mission "unfit" for regular forces or even special forces. (view spoiler)[As I was reading, I thought it was stupid and a joke that they would try to train twelve criminals to do jobs that I felt commandos or highly trained troops could 'do better' until the point was made that most operatives would probably have a hard time killing innocent people or civilians who were with the German troops whereas because these men had already killed innocent people in cold blood, they would (should) have no problems killing civilians and such. That actually made some sense to me (at least, in regard to American and British commandos, anyway, as the Germans clearly seemed to have little problems with killing civilians/non-combatants) and made the premise of the book a bit more believable. (hide spoiler)] Some characters are more developed than others, and at least one "villain"/antagonist in the book was pretty comedic (to me, anyway, 'cuz he was such an officious prick). I did come to find myself caring about some of the characters more than others, which kind-of surprised me. I would have to say, as I am thinking about it, he did a "great job" with the character development and characterization, as some of the characters were more 'likable' and others were quite 'despicable.' (view spoiler)[My favorite characters would have been Samson Posey, an Ute Indian, and Napoleon White, a Negro, among the criminals and then Captain Reisman and Sergeant Bowren. Maggot, Franco, and Morgan were my least favorite characters from 'the Team.' (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[I did not expect Captain Reisman to get much character development, to be honest. Actually, I was not expecting much of any character development to occur, so it did surprise me how much took place. In retrospect, it only makes sense, because the book starts about four months before D-Day and Reisman has to take twelve individual men and mold them into a team, earning and building trust along the way. I do not remember if a 'full backstory' was given for every one of the Dozen, but several members of the group did receive varying levels of 'backstory' throughout the course of the novel to flesh out their characters better, to give them more substance. As it was, the reader also learns quite a bit about Reisman over the course of the novel, too, which helps flesh out his character and possibly gives some insight into why he was such an effective soldier and leader of men. In the end, he obviously wins the men over and gains their trust just as they earn his trust, and they are able to go on their single mission before D-Day. Nobody is truly cut-and-try in the book; well, none of the group of the main characters. Everybody has some kind of complication in their life that led to their becoming who they became and their making the choices that they made. I do not think the author makes any excuses or anything in terms of the backgrounds given to each man; others clearly would have had similar backgrounds yet made better choices to avoid life imprisonment or the hangman's noose. (hide spoiler)] It is a strange book. It starts off slow and really does not build up any steam until the end, before their mission. I found the book both boring and interesting at the same time; I also found myself enjoying the interactions of the various characters and how various antagonisms kept coming to the forefront and forcing the group to make decisions on how they were going to handle what was before them. (view spoiler)[Sure, the threat of being kicked off the team and immediate execution of their prior sentence was the initial threat hanging over their head and keeping them on the team, but eventually they would gel as a team and choose to remain on the team with no regard to the threat of immediate execution of sentence (well, most of them, anyway). (hide spoiler)] So, it was interesting how the team eventually did gel together and become a unit, did begin to take pride in themselves and what they were doing, what they had accomplished. The author did make it seem quite believable that such a thing could possibly be done, but then he also created 'the right characters' for the task so that they would fill the roles assigned to them as characters and reach their final state of growth. So, as believable as it was, it was still a contrived situation, in some respects, which also made the story interesting. So, yes, as 'boring' as the book was in some respects, it still not only held my interest to keep reading it, but my interest did grow to see how it ended, to see how much of the ending matched the movie. (view spoiler)[I cannot adequately express my disappointment in how it ended; it ends as a 'service report' or some kind of filed report, an 'after action report' of sorts (I guess). It gives a hint of what happened, and it leaves it open if Reisman survived or not (I could not quite decide if any of the wounded members of the team survived, as well, based on the report. I chose to believe that other members of the team survived as well). Obviously, Reisman did survive, as he is in the sequel, but the sequel was not written until nearly twenty years later or more, so it was a mystery until then. Granted, from what I remember of the movie, if a similar ending had been included in the book, it probably would have added another several hundred pages to the book and might even have been a tad bit anticlimactic. (hide spoiler)] As I am thinking about the ending while typing this review, I think the ending the author chose is actually more in line with the flow of the book and any other ending would probably have clashed with the overall spirit of the book, the overall narrative (and maybe even purpose) of the book. It is about a group of disparate men at odds with each other and how they eventually become a team, a group who learns to trust each other and work together and rely upon each other as their lives will one day depend on each other once they get their mission. I was originally going to rate it 2.5 stars rounded down to 2 stars (because of how much I 'hated' the ending), but I think it will instead rate it 3.3 - 3.5 stars rounded down to 3 stars. I am glad that I took a chance and read the book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Erik Prime

    If you are a fan of the film version of The Dirty Dozen, then the novel will be well worth your time. The first few pages are slow reading as the author sets up the story, but stick with it because after twenty pages or so the narrative picks up speed and by the latter half it becomes a real page-turner. As the novel is nearly five hundred pages in length, the characters are much more fleshed out than in the film. The protagonist Reisman is no cardboard-cutout war hero but rather a grizzled vete If you are a fan of the film version of The Dirty Dozen, then the novel will be well worth your time. The first few pages are slow reading as the author sets up the story, but stick with it because after twenty pages or so the narrative picks up speed and by the latter half it becomes a real page-turner. As the novel is nearly five hundred pages in length, the characters are much more fleshed out than in the film. The protagonist Reisman is no cardboard-cutout war hero but rather a grizzled veteran who is wise beyond his years and full of conflicting emotions. My other favorite character was the giant Ute Indian named Samson Posey, who had a much smaller role in the movie. The only disappointing aspect of the novel is that the Dirty Dozen do not actually begin their all-important mission until the last one hundred pages, making it feel like kind of an afterthought. On a side note, I found it amusing that for the film, they changed the name of the African-American character (played by Jim Brown) from Napoleon White to Robert Jefferson. If you are a fan of the film or WWII tales in general, this is a great read, as is the sequel A Dirty Distant War.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ralph Echtinaw

    It's usually a waste of time for me to read a book after I've seen the movie. Even though the book is probably better than the movie, it's ruined for me because I already know too much about what will happen. That wasn't the case with "The Dirty Dozen" by E.M. Nathanson. The movie, a so-called classic, is 20 percent training and 80 percent mission. The book is 80 percent training and 20 percent mission. In other words, 80 percent of the book was compressed into 20 percent of the movie. You can ima It's usually a waste of time for me to read a book after I've seen the movie. Even though the book is probably better than the movie, it's ruined for me because I already know too much about what will happen. That wasn't the case with "The Dirty Dozen" by E.M. Nathanson. The movie, a so-called classic, is 20 percent training and 80 percent mission. The book is 80 percent training and 20 percent mission. In other words, 80 percent of the book was compressed into 20 percent of the movie. You can imagine the extent to which stuff was left out. Since the two are so different, the movie didn't ruin the book for me. Actually, it was the other way around. I picked up the book because I liked the movie. But after reading the book the movie seemed shallow and silly. Although Nathanson likely made money by selling the movie rights to "The Dirty Dozen," the result obscures the fact that he wrote a fine book. Mention "The Dirty Dozen" to the average man of a certain age and he'll opine, "Great movie!" He isn't even aware that it started with a greater book that the movie did a disservice to.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Michael Dorosh

    One of the rare cases where the movie was better than the book. The movie, as everyone should know by now, builds up to a climactic action-adventure sequence in which the main characters assault a German chateau in Nazi-occupied France. The book, which preceded the movie and on which the film was based, deals with the climactic assault as a ten-page appendix to the book. I have no hardship with character studies - Cross of Iron, for example, by Willi Heinrich, is an excellent one. I found this b One of the rare cases where the movie was better than the book. The movie, as everyone should know by now, builds up to a climactic action-adventure sequence in which the main characters assault a German chateau in Nazi-occupied France. The book, which preceded the movie and on which the film was based, deals with the climactic assault as a ten-page appendix to the book. I have no hardship with character studies - Cross of Iron, for example, by Willi Heinrich, is an excellent one. I found this book mostly tedious. Perhaps it is a mistake to read the book having seen the very famous film, which has the natural effect or raising expectations, but dealing with the fate of the characters, even without the film for context, seems unsatisfying somehow. The last ten pages are done in the form of an official military report and lack any kind of emotion or depth. A disappointment given the fine characterization brought out in the film.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jim Swike

    This is rare for me, but the movie is better than the book. The book is slow moving at times, does not move at the pace of the movie. Maybe you will feel differently. Enjoy!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan Roden

    This volume has been sitting in my bookshelves waiting to be read by me, for about twenty years. I could say, I don't know what took me so long, but that is not really the truth. There was always another book that I wanted to read first, is more like it. It was fabulous! A real psychological study of men. Written in the mid-1950's, set in the waning months of WW II Europe. An imagined force of twelve men is grouped together for training to attack Germans. Not just the dozen death-sentenced men, This volume has been sitting in my bookshelves waiting to be read by me, for about twenty years. I could say, I don't know what took me so long, but that is not really the truth. There was always another book that I wanted to read first, is more like it. It was fabulous! A real psychological study of men. Written in the mid-1950's, set in the waning months of WW II Europe. An imagined force of twelve men is grouped together for training to attack Germans. Not just the dozen death-sentenced men, but their leader are heavily analyzed. Their past that brought them together is chronicled. How their personalities and abilities grow and emerge are the meat of this story. I remember loving the movie in my youth. Not a spoiler, but the ending is a touch different. Most of the book is taken up with the preparation and planning for the assault. The attack, itself, is merely a few pages. But the story works great. I strongly recommend this to anyone who appreciates WW II stories, has seen or heard of the movie, is interested in war-time justice, or psychological studies of men from the mid-twentieth century. In a small way, the story of the dozen inmates is dated, but in more ways, it is universal to men of all time, around the world. Not just how the individuals see the world, but how they believe the world sees them.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lloyd

    This is a fictional World War II story about a commando raid by the Office of Strategic Services (“OSS”). The OSS used American army personnel who had committed heinous crimes that resulted in them being either condemned to death or long prison sentences to carry-out this mission. The men would be eligible for a reprieve if they performed well and survived the mission. The mission was very dangerous and to carried out behind enemy lines in France just prior to the Normandy invasion. While the mi This is a fictional World War II story about a commando raid by the Office of Strategic Services (“OSS”). The OSS used American army personnel who had committed heinous crimes that resulted in them being either condemned to death or long prison sentences to carry-out this mission. The men would be eligible for a reprieve if they performed well and survived the mission. The mission was very dangerous and to carried out behind enemy lines in France just prior to the Normandy invasion. While the mission seems to be the reason for this story, the real story is how 12 criminal misfits were turned into a combat ready commando squad in just a few months. The bulk of the book covers their training and the transformation back to humanity of men from the dregs of the army. That story is well told and pulls the reader into caring about many of these individuals and discovering the humanity that can exist just under the surface of even such criminals. Its their story that is the real crux of this novel not the mission, which actually takes up only a small part of the story. And, while the movie that was made based upon this book, once again the book is a much better story and provided much better entertainment.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Scot Isom

    Nathanson’s book is a page turner for fans of war novels. He painstakingly researched all aspects of military weapons, tactics, and organizations in writing the book and generally was extremely accurate. His research is evident, but falls short on actual military training and maneuvers. His characters use many military tropes. He has the southern racist, the Indian warrior, the leader, who is versed on every tactic and method by all special ops troops, and the girlish - closeted - not closeted c Nathanson’s book is a page turner for fans of war novels. He painstakingly researched all aspects of military weapons, tactics, and organizations in writing the book and generally was extremely accurate. His research is evident, but falls short on actual military training and maneuvers. His characters use many military tropes. He has the southern racist, the Indian warrior, the leader, who is versed on every tactic and method by all special ops troops, and the girlish - closeted - not closeted coward. His character development is adequate. The training and mission are entertaining and believable if not examined too closely. For an entertaining World War II era war novel, add this this to your reading list. His research makes it above average. If you want more attention to detail and realism in your war novels, you may want to pass on this book. The movie was entertaining, but falls more in the realm of John Wayne’s “Green Beret” than the truly great war movies.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Piet

    The story did not always keep you on the edge of your seat. The exercises got too much attention to my taste. That being said I still found it a worthwhile read. The nasty characters Victor Franko and Archer Maggot were quite interesting. The good ones Napoleon White and Samson Posey offered interesting reading as well. It took some time before it became clear to me why Myron Odell was described in such great detail. The romantic interludes-especially with Tess- were a bit young girls' reading stu The story did not always keep you on the edge of your seat. The exercises got too much attention to my taste. That being said I still found it a worthwhile read. The nasty characters Victor Franko and Archer Maggot were quite interesting. The good ones Napoleon White and Samson Posey offered interesting reading as well. It took some time before it became clear to me why Myron Odell was described in such great detail. The romantic interludes-especially with Tess- were a bit young girls' reading stuff. The hanging, the parachute training and Odell's temporary escape were captivating. Colonel Breed was a bit of an unlikely character and Lady Margot did not realize her full potential as a character, I think.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michael Sypes

    Many significant differences from the classic movie, but thoroughly enjoyable. Added backstories to several characters, particularly Reisman. Other characters have different names (Jefferson vs White) or don't match up well (Odell, Morgan). I will say that the book heightened something I always thought dopey about the movie - casting Clint Walker as Posey. (In the book, his Indian heritage is far more prominent, making a white cowboy-type that much more ridiculous in the role.) Still keeps you on Many significant differences from the classic movie, but thoroughly enjoyable. Added backstories to several characters, particularly Reisman. Other characters have different names (Jefferson vs White) or don't match up well (Odell, Morgan). I will say that the book heightened something I always thought dopey about the movie - casting Clint Walker as Posey. (In the book, his Indian heritage is far more prominent, making a white cowboy-type that much more ridiculous in the role.) Still keeps you on your seat with excitement, even though there's a lot more psychological stuff, s opposed to just the surface adventure of an action movie. If you liked the movie, you'll like the book. If you didn't like the movie, what's wrong with you?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Vincent Paul

    Stylistically wonderfully layered and complex book. If you're expecting the movie, be surprised. It's a tribute to the scriptwriters of the movie that they were able to so effectively condense so much material into a film. It's also sufficiently different that reading the book is not spoiled even if you've seen the film before. Reisman is a much more complex character in the book. The narrative also has plenty of room to show the inner workings of each of the dirty dozen and how they've ended up Stylistically wonderfully layered and complex book. If you're expecting the movie, be surprised. It's a tribute to the scriptwriters of the movie that they were able to so effectively condense so much material into a film. It's also sufficiently different that reading the book is not spoiled even if you've seen the film before. Reisman is a much more complex character in the book. The narrative also has plenty of room to show the inner workings of each of the dirty dozen and how they've ended up as condemned men. A tour de force in the psychology of men in stressful situations and how they cope with them.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jerimy Stoll

    This was an unexpected surprise. The book is based on the idea that the Army, during World War II would sometimes pull troops who had committed particularly heinous crimes and were condemned to death or long sentences and reimplement them into the rank for especially difficult and dangerous missions. I was expecting a war novel full of action and glory and was intrigued by how wrong I was. The pages are more about second chances, psychology cases, and human behaviour and growth. I would recommen This was an unexpected surprise. The book is based on the idea that the Army, during World War II would sometimes pull troops who had committed particularly heinous crimes and were condemned to death or long sentences and reimplement them into the rank for especially difficult and dangerous missions. I was expecting a war novel full of action and glory and was intrigued by how wrong I was. The pages are more about second chances, psychology cases, and human behaviour and growth. I would recommend this book to people who like war novels, psychology, and World War II history.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Frederic Pierce

    This isn't just another WWII war tale. I saw the movie as a kid and was intrigued by the concept - a team of death row inmates with nothing to lose sent on a suicide mission against the Nazis. The book that spawned the movie not only developed a fascinating cast of anti-heroes but unexpectedly tackled some big, controversial social issues like racism and rape/sexual consent that remain in the headlines today. This isn't just another WWII war tale. I saw the movie as a kid and was intrigued by the concept - a team of death row inmates with nothing to lose sent on a suicide mission against the Nazis. The book that spawned the movie not only developed a fascinating cast of anti-heroes but unexpectedly tackled some big, controversial social issues like racism and rape/sexual consent that remain in the headlines today.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Luke Crawford

    I was told there would be war crimes. I read this on a recommendation of a good friend who normally turns me on to really good books. Turns out? he was recommending the movie, which really does sound like my sort of thing, not the book. I mean, it wasn't bad, but as my friend would say, the pacing was from a more civilized time. I was told there would be war crimes. I read this on a recommendation of a good friend who normally turns me on to really good books. Turns out? he was recommending the movie, which really does sound like my sort of thing, not the book. I mean, it wasn't bad, but as my friend would say, the pacing was from a more civilized time.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    I've been wanting to read this for years, since I first saw the film back in high school, so of course I was delighted to discover it's available on kindle at last. An excellent book, same basic beats as the film but the characters and much of the details are changed, not to mention a somewhat different ending (I'm torn on whether I found it satisfying or not). I've been wanting to read this for years, since I first saw the film back in high school, so of course I was delighted to discover it's available on kindle at last. An excellent book, same basic beats as the film but the characters and much of the details are changed, not to mention a somewhat different ending (I'm torn on whether I found it satisfying or not).

  27. 5 out of 5

    Brad Hayes

    A great war book with surprisingly little war.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Terry Ebaugh

    The character development was very good. I thought the ending was wrapped up too quickly and a little too tidy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Potocnik

    I liked it. Easy to pick back up and continue on. I really enjoyed the character development. I will recommend this one.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lidik

    This one was a really great book, if it had a couple more jokes it would be well over into five star territory.

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