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The Lieutenants: Brotherhood of War by W.E.B. Griffin

The Lieutenants is another classic epic novel by W.E.B. Griffin. It depicts the WWII Nazi scene (in both Europe and North Africa) from the American soldiers’ point of view. The beginning of the story can be very confusing but the novel becomes more and more interesting as the plot thickens. The novel can be found in the mystery section of any bookstore but it isn’t a normal mystery/thriller novel. The main mystery, for me, was connecting all the bits-and-pieces of the storyline together. The novel is split up into small sections, each at different places in the novel with different characters. Chapter marks serve no purpose. The characters all relate to each other and so does each bit-and-piece of the storyline. It is extremely important to remember every bit of detail described about a character or scene (the book goes into great detail about each) because the story is incredibly “jumpy” and it all ties up at some point in the story. The annoying part about this story is that it gives an excess of details about everything. Sometimes a character can be explained for several pages.
Also, keep in mind that there is not only one main character. Because the story is “jumpy,” the author tells the story of every character higher than Private rank. Griffin does a wonderful job with the story, considering it was so hard to follow. I bet Griffin had a hard time keeping track of every detail while writing the novel.

The novel is humorous. If you’ve served in the army, these jokes were probably very common. It is a great read for not only those who have served in the army, but also for those that want to learn the life in the army. It is not much different from normal life. There is a lot of jealousy that happens in the novel, and it shows that even though the soldiers are supposed to be fighting as a team, they will still backstab their own countrymen/teammates. Jealousy is one of the central themes of the novel. When General Waterford (one of the main characters) died, everyone was dying to be his replacement. Jealousy can also bring about the best in people. It is difficult for a soldier to learn that the man that served with them during the war is dead (after all they’ve been through). This is another theme in the story. With jealousy comes love. Even though everyone wants to ascend, it is still important to mourn for those you’ve known for such a long time. The army messes people up, which could explain the subtitle of the book “Brotherhood of War.” A brotherhood is important to keep for an entire lifetime. Everyone in a brotherhood helps each other to overcome the messed up things they’ve experienced. These are the lessons Griffin teaches in the novel. For such a confusing novel, Griffin does a spectacular job of keeping to his themes.

My only argument about the book is the long explanations of the characters. It is mostly unnecessary because he explains every detail, even ones that have nothing to do with the novel. Overall “The Lieutenants” is a wonderful read with an epic plot. It can also be described as “An American Epic,” which is printed on the front cover.





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