Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1949 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens


Publisher: Harcourt-Brace

Length: 631 pages

About: Culture mix in American Airforce

Style: 3rd person

Where: US (Florida)

When: 1943 (2nd -4th September)



Publisher’s synopsis:


The novel balances a vast cast of intricately enmeshed characters as they react over the course of three tense days in September 1943 to a racial incident on a U.S. Army airbase in Florida. The reader is acutely aware of the war raging abroad and the effect it has had, or will have, on the multitude of servicemen who populate Cozzens's immense canvas.



It seemed more probable to Colonel Ross that they were going to win the war, not because they had a few more Bennys, but because they had thousands and thousands of run-of-the-mill pilots; and hills of bombs; and dumps of supplies as large as small cities, which could not be neutralized as Benny had so nearly been, by one burst of one automatic rifle in one ditch.





Every major war…has produced at least one masterpiece…. As for WW II, there are numerous candidates…. The Naked and the Dead, Catch-22, The Caine Mutiny, maybe a James Jones – and then there is a book that I think will one day be recognized as better than any of these: James Gould Cozzens’ Guard of Honor.

Noel Perrin, Washington Post World


Not so good:

Several passages of Guard of Honor are exciting as a story and – again this is unusual – the author’s style is easy and flowing with the under-emphasis that makes for drama. It is necessary to say, however, that Guard of Honor is long and that it not infrequently drags.

New York Times 3rd October 1948


About the author

1903-1978 Cozzens was educated at Harvard University, which he left after his Sophomore year and the successful publication of his first novel Confusion (1924). While living in Canada he completed the historical romance, Michael Scarlett (1925), then taught school in Cuba and tutored in Europe. Following his marriage he settled in Lambertville, New Jersey, where he wrote the remainder of his books and short stories. Although Cozzens initially received favorable critical acclaim for his writings, the literary community and reading public largely neglected his works.


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<1948> -  <1950>















Page turner







Age guide: 12



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2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

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