Thursday, September 18, 2008

William March

I need to put Company K on my Wish List. From Writer's Almanac about a fellow Alabamian:

Today is the birthday of the novelist and short-story writer William March, born William Edward Campbell in Mobile, Alabama, in 1893. He was one of 11 children. His family couldn't pay for his education, so when he was 14, he left school to work in the office of a lumber mill, and then a law office. He saved up money to go back to high school and then to law school, but in 1916, in the middle of his degree, he had to drop out because he just couldn't afford it. A year later, he joined the U.S. Marines, and his company was part of every major engagement of WWI. He earned some medals for his bravery, and he went back home, but he struggled with depression, paranoia, and schizophrenia. And since he couldn't bring himself to talk about his experiences in the war he decided to write about them instead — first stories, and then a novel, Company K(1933). He wanted to convey the chaos of war, so each of the platoon's soldiers takes a turn speaking. Graham Greene wrote that Company K"has the force of a mob protest; an outcry from anonymous throats. It is the only war book I have read which has found a new form to fit the novelty of the protest." William March wrote five more novels, including The Looking-Glass (1943) and The Bad Seed (1954).

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