Excursions Of A Bibliophile

What are u reading these days?

The Long March – William Styron

Posted by Vish Mangalapalli on July 24, 2011

Shed to bare bones, all organizations are a bunch of power structure dynamics. Nothing epitomizes or demonstrates this as well as the current day institutions like bureaucracy,   commercial corporations and military. Unlike in corporations, in military there are no pretensions to egalitarianism, openness and freedom – the hierarchy is clearly defined and followed. The consequences of transgressions are explicit and unambiguous. William Styron’s “The Long March” is a small book which explores the interplay of power structures, ego plays, resentment, silent defiance and the resulting outcome of testing the limits of human endurance

Set in a marine camp in Carolina after the aftermath of an accident in which six young marines are killed due to a faulty explosion, Colonel Ted takes on himself to ensure that his battalion stays fit and combat ready. To realize this he orders a thirty six mile long drill for his battalion which comprises of reserves who have been called away from their homes. In this group of reserves is Mannix – a captain who is entrusted with the responsibility of the drill. Mannix resents this deeply. Against extraordinary hardship from a completely unprepared lot this exercise is accomplished but while doing so it also brings out the deep disgust, hatred and the meaninglessness of it all

There is a great sympathy and wonderful eloquence that Styron brings out in his writing.  Along with this Styron also depicts with an extraordinary vividness the state of mind of the reserves who long for peaceful life which is continuously denied to them and hence resulting in a feeling of degradation. A deeply moving read

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