One night a week, forty-eight weeks a year, plus two weeks every summer, the men (and women) of the 229th General Hospital gathered together in Army uniform to play at being soldiers.
For some of the unit members (Warrant Officer Kenny Keohane, for example, or Spec Four Eros Winter), Reserve meetings were a big charade. To others (Colonel Gayle Beauregard, for example, the Commanding Officer at the 229th and in private life a dentist and political aspirant; or Major Marjorie Stavropolis, who did certain favors for Beauregard in exchange for certain other favors), it was a matter of the utmost seriousness – an invaluable opportunity for self-advancement in the world.
While to still others (among them Sergeant Skippy Dennis, an interior decorator, and Sergeant Lenny Baer, a wholesaler of men’s coats), Reserve meetings were a welcome, even necessary change of pace from the tensions and pressures of civilian life.
Whether they enjoyed the Army Reserve, however, or unreservedly hated it, the members of the 229th could all agree on one point: the chances of the unit being called to Active Duty were nil. It was this certain knowledge that allowed the 229th General Hospital to operate in cheerful concord during times of international upheaval.
Alas, what the 229th General Hospital thought was one thing. What the Pentagon desired was another. Three Cheers For War In General is the story of how the 229th thought wrong.
Here, then, is an immortal (not to say immoral) chronicle of men (and women) in peace (and war). You will share their joys and sorrow, their hopes and failures. You will work and play, drink and drill with them. And when the stern call for duty comes, you will understand a little better why the 229th General Hospital elected to cop out.
No hawk or dove should be without a copy of Three Cheers For War In General. It is quite possibly the funniest novel of the year.