Read Hold Back The Night by Pat Frank Free Online
Book Title: Hold Back The Night|
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
The author of the book: Pat Frank
Edition: Bantam Books
Date of issue: February 1969
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 6.55 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.7
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The first novel I ever read by Pat Frank was Alas, Babylon . His most famous novel and still in print. Hold Back The Night is one of his earlier works and not as well known. The novel is about a United States Marine Corp Rifle Company during the retreat from Changjin Reservoir in November/December 1950 after the Chinese launched a massive offensive against the U.N. forces.
Pat Frank served as a war correspondent during World War II and had come to understand the people in uniform and their experiences. He made an effort with Hold Back The Night to convey to readers what the world of war is like.
By the standards of today the story has numerous stereotypes and covers ground that seems pretty ho-hum to an audience reared on the ultra-violent and very gritty war movies of the past twenty-five years such as Platoon, Full-Metal Jacket, Saving Private Ryan and Blackhawk Down. It's also a short novel with just over a 150 pages - more of a novella really.
But those films and recent novels (such as The 13th Valley) owe much to the early war novels that were published in the late forties and throughout the fifties. Instead of supercharged, made of steel heroes these novels made an effort to portray the men in uniform as all too human with both weaknesses and strengths. You might not necessarily like all of them, but at least you can respect what they have to do to survive and still do their duty.
Yes some of that characters are stereotypes in 2013. There are times when the action comes to a halt for speeches and the enemy is rather faceless. But the characters seem believable. Several of the characters are veterans of World War II (which ended just five years before Korea began) and they still have something of the idealism and motivation that got them through the previous war - even if they are somewhat battered and cynical.
The reader comes away with an understanding about the generation that had to deal with the Depression, World War II and then the Cold War. They were doing their best. They didn't want to see the world destroyed, but they weren't going to just lay down either. Not necessarily "The Greatest Generation", but an interesting one and in some ways admirable.
For example there is one sequence where one of the Marines is worried that the Chinese intervention is the beginning of World War III and is thinking about how to get his wife out of Chicago - a certain target in case of a nuclear exchange. The man is in the middle of a warzone , the frontline, and he's scared for his wife. Very Human and very truthful.
In addition to some pretty strong characterization Frank does an excellent job of making the reader feel the intense physical discomfort that the Marines experienced during this phase of the war. Temperatures would drop below zero, vehicles wouldn't run, wounded froze to death, weapons wouldn't fire - the weather was as formidable an enemy as the Chinese Army. This aspect comes across very powerfully. Considering that Frank began his career as a reporter I would expect nothing less.
Now don't misunderstand this book. It isn't just a study of men in combat. This novel has some political points to make and it has some mild propaganda throughout. After all the Korean War was still going when it was published.
In the end the book is intended to be a warning about an enemy that might become even greater than the Soviet Union. In the early 1950's the Gigantic Chinese Communist Hoard was a very real threat to Americans. And that fear is in the novel. Actually the fear of the Gigantic Chinese Economic Hoard has replaced the old one. So perhaps the more things change the more they stay the same. So keep that in mind while reading it.
Nevertheless I like the older novels. They are a fascinating look into a America that no longer exists and they can bring the hopes and fears of the time alive to the modern reader. One just has to be able to get past one's own pre-conceived ideas.
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Read information about the author"Pat Frank" was the lifelong nickname adopted by the American writer, newspaperman, and government consultant, who was born Harry Hart Frank and who is remembered today almost exclusively for his post-apocalyptic novel Alas, Babylon. Before the publication of his first novel Mr. Adam launched his second career as novelist and independent writer, Frank spent many years as a journalist and information handler for several newspapers, agencies, and government bureaus. His fiction and nonfiction books, stories, and articles made good use of his years of experience observing government and military bureaucracy and its malfunctions, and the threat of nuclear proliferation and annihilation. After the success of Alas, Babylon, Frank concentrated on writing for magazines and journals, putting his beliefs and concerns to political use, and advising various government bodies. In 1960 he served as a member of the Democratic National Committee. In 1961, the year in which he received an American Heritage Foundation Award, he was consultant to the National Aeronautics and Space Council. From 1963 through 1964 the Department of Defense made use of Frank's expertise and advice, and this consultancy turned out to be his last response to his country's call. His other books include Mr. Adam and Forbidden Area.
Biography courtesy of HarperCollins.com
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