Home > Uncategorized > Nathanael West: They haven’t the proper military slant

Nathanael West: They haven’t the proper military slant

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

American writers on peace and against war

Nathanael West: Selections on war

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Nathanael West
From Good Hunting (1938)

nathanael-west

FITZSIMMONS

Do you play cribbage?

GERALD

Rather!

FITZSIMMONS

Then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be popular. Only don’t talk shop.

GERALD

Shop?

FITZSIMMONS

The war.

GERALD
(Puzzled frown)

Really, I don’t understand.

FITZSIMMONS
(Smiling wryly)

Good. You’ll be very well liked. My trouble is that I don’t like cribbage.

GERALD
(Quite innocently)

Then why did you choose the army as a career?

FITZSIMMONS

I didn’t. I’m in the soap business. I supplied all the army posts. Years ago I joined up – out of sheer patriotism.

GERALD
(The snob shows slightly)

Oh, I see…you’re a reserve officer.

FITZSIMMONS

And a Colonial from a very unfashionable colony – Canada.

GERALD
(Throwing a dog a bone)

I’ve heard some reserve officers make excellent soldiers.

FITZSIMMONS

Very few. They haven’t the proper military slant.

GERALD

Yes – of course – tradition and training are extremely important.

FIZTSIMMONS

Much more than intelligence!

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