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The Lonely War

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Alan Chin

The key issue keeping the U.S. armed forces from going beyond Don't Ask Don't Tell to give gay servicemen equal rights is a blind fear of love relationships forming, not between enlisted soldiers but between officers and soldiers, which would undermine … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Alan Chin
Publisher: Zumaya Publications, LLC
1 review about The Lonely War

Absolutely Brfilliant

  • Aug 16, 2010
Rating:
+5
Chin, Alan. "The Lonely War", Zumaya Publications, 2009.

Absolutely Brilliant

Amos Lassen

"The Lonely War" is the story of an enlisted sailor, Andrew Waters, who falls in love with his executive officer, Nathan Mitchell. The crew of the USS Pilgrim is taken prisoners at Changi, which is infamous for its brutality and Andrew is forced into hardship but by love he is able to discover that he has courage. "The Lonely War" looks at war and the horrors of battle, the fear and cruelty as well as the loyalty that one develops for another when men are involved in war. However it is even more than that in that it is a love story between an officer and an enlistee and it deals with sacrifice for someone one loves.
Andrew was raised in a multi-cultural environment, followed Buddhism, and then he went into the American Navy in the midst of the Pacific conflict. He knew intolerance but he was raised to be strong and is able to survive almost anything. However Andrew had problems understanding what his goal in life should be and tends to react positively to all who he comes into contact with. We see the war in the Pacific through his eyes. This is a real look at war and the patriotism of the characters and their bravery show how it is possible to overcome obstacles.
For Seaman Andrew Waters war was a terrible experience because he is laughed at by and set apart from his shipmates. He is totally alone. He gains comfort from his feeling of love for his executive officer, Lieutenant Nathan Miller. He also knows that this love is one sided and will never be returned and there is the feeling that their friendship is very, very strong.
The ship is captured and those aboard become prisoners of war at the notorious Japanese prison camp, Changi where Andrew is forced to look inside of himself and then sacrifice himself for the man he loves. That sacrifice becomes a blessing.

This is not a romance but rather a look at relationships that come into being because they are necessary for survival. Chin gives us rich details with fully developed characters and an ending that is totally unexpected. Chin prose is beautiful; it almost sings off of the page and he gives us a wonderfully written story that is driven by the characters. It deals with so much more than war as it deals with the issues of love, life, loyalty and how we deal with these issues.
This is a story of passion and sacrifice in the service of friendship and love that pulls you in and does let you go. Alan Chin gives a whole new look to war fiction as he brings romance into it and it is obvious that he did his research well. I, for one, do not like stories or movies about war but Chin has given me a whole new understanding about it. He has taken historical detail and human drama and brought them together in this remarkable book.

This is the kind of book that I have always wanted to review because it is so perfect and has such powerful prose. It is the kind of book that lends itself to multiple readings because of its beautiful style and vocabulary and its consummate editing.
It is a love story in a military setting but it is also about the love of man for man, non-sexual and based upon mutual respect. This is loyalty of the highest degree. We read as Andrew (who has lived a life full of bigotry and racism because he is Asian as well as hateful feelings because he is gay) manages to win over his crewmates because he is such a good person. We see Andrew as a man with flaws who struggles with his own problems so that he can be better to others. I am not going to say a word about how the book ends because to do so would spoil a wonderful reading experience. What I will say is that I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

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