Home > Uncategorized > Nathanael West: The noble motives, the noble methods of war

Nathanael West: The noble motives, the noble methods of war

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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)

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THOMPSON
(Into transmitter – ad libs)

‘Lo, Crecy…Paris, please…Grenoble…Paris…American Press.

RUSSO
(Slipping Thompson a bill)

Here’s your five.

THOMPSON

You said ten.

RUSSO

You’ll take five – or I’ll charge you with accepting a bribe.

THOMPSON

But you’re giving it to me!

RUSSO

I’m a war correspondent, I’m immune.

***

SIR ARTHUR
(Sternly)

I know your troops are tired…But I will brook no delay. I demand superhuman efforts. Attacks!

HARGREAVES

Yes, sir…but…but…

SIR ARTHUR

Damn it, man! stop mumbling! We attack tomorrow, that’s final! Lloyd George and his committee were with us all week. They’re having plenty of trouble with the Colonies and the draft. An election is approaching – victories mean votes! This has to be kept a popular war.

HARGREAVES

I don’t underestimate the importance of victories – but –

SIR ARTHUR
(Cutting him short)

A decisive one right now will encourage America. Their bankers are beginning to worry about the money they’re lending us.

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JERVAIS
(Ferociously)

The enemy must be exterminated – man, woman and child!
(With mounting hysteria, surprising in such a mild looking gent)
Torn out, root and branch. Slaughtered! Annihilated! Their cities must run with blood. Their brains must be dashed out! Their hearts plucked quivering from their bodies!

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