01 March 2011

12. Raditzer

Raditzer - Peter Mathiessen

This was an interesting novel about a few navy recruits in the Pacific during World War II. They are stationed in Hawaii and none are on sea-duty. They all have goofy jobs doing things like landry detail or working in the mess hall. Nothing glamorous. Nothing important. Definately nothing in a combat role. There is a war going on, but this book is not so much about that war as it is about the relationships between the men.

Raditzer is one of those guys who has been alone all his life and has no sense of worth. He compensates for this by being a jerk. He latches onto one or two others and then uses situations to cause strife between them and others. He has no idea what friendship is and definately will never fit in with a military unit where camaraderie and trust are needed.

Needless to say, Raditzer gets a blanket party. He is lucky that is all he got. He was going to be tossed into the ocean by some combat hardened veterans, but his "friend" managed to keep that from happening.

I spent 21 years in the military. I met two or three guys that I remember that reminded me a little of Raditzer. They just didn't seem to fit. They were always on the fringe never quite trusted to be one of the guys who would have your back. They seemed to try and get along and then would do or say something that would destroy all the headway they had made. None of those guys was anywhere near as bad as the Raditzer character in this novel.


  1. I liked it too. It was the reason I picked this book off the rack at the thrift store.

    I could not find a .jpg for this cover anywhere on line, so I scanned my own copy for this blog and uploaded it to another site too.