‘Even a well-known Dickey scholar like Richard Calhoun could affirm in a standard critical study: “Dickey was in the Air Force from 1942 to 1946, heavily involved in combat, flying nearly one hundred combat missions in the Pacific campaign in the Philippines, at Okinawa, and participating in the bombing of major Japanese cities”’
This of a man whose discharge sheet tells a remarkably different story; That he was a ‘radar observer’ with a total of thirty-eight missions served between January 1945 and the end of the war. Lorrie Goldensohn analyses him succinctly as one ‘who lied about every possible aspect of his wartime career as a pilot and clung to the grandeurs of participating in wartime rituals of masculinity’. Not, then, a man who commands respect in war literature circles. The assumption of many is that war experience cannot be faked, that even ...
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...d prose concerning the Second World and other wars, the concept that the enemy army is composed of real people just like the people that compose the army of which one is a member, just as intelligent and moral, indistinguishable without uniforms. His war poetry and literature, then, is not invalid but unenlightened due to his seemingly compulsive lies about his role in it.
Ciardi, John. Saipan (University of Arkansas Press, 1988)
Dickey, James Crux: The Letters of James Dickey, Edited by Bruccoli, Matthew J. and Baughman, Judith S. (Random House, 1999)
Dickey, James. To the White Sea (Scribner, 2002)
Hart, Henry. The World as a Lie: James Dickey (Picador USA, 2000)
Goldensohn, Lorrie. Dismantling Glory: Twentieth-Century Soldier Poetry (Columbia University Press, 2003)
Shapiro, Harvey. Poets of World War II (The Library of America, 2003)
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