Review of Tour of Duty

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Cristina Corui Mihailescu
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Review of Tour of Duty

Post by Cristina Corui Mihailescu »

[Following is a volunteer review of "Tour of Duty" by William H. Coles.]
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5 out of 5 stars
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William H.Coles approaches his fiction novel Tour of Duty with historical accuracy. The novel is set in France during the cold war, but there are also references to the past: D-Day, the bombing of Nagasaki and the Jewish Holocaust. The story begins in 1960 and ends in 1966 and the tone of the writing reminds me of the way novels were written back then.

The action takes place mainly at US Air Station from Châteauroux, France, with all the main characters being connected to this place. One of the strengths of the author’s style is characterization. The main characters have detailed backgrounds, they are affected by the experiences they live through and they change a lot due to these experiences.

The first scene introduces the main character, physician Miles Ballard, who is welcomed to France by Ingrid Stern, the wife of his fellow doctor Oliver Stern. The couple will play an important part in Miles’s life abroad and so will the general’s adoptive daughter Alyce Read. A strong friendship will develop between Miles and Ingrid while Miles heals his wounds inflicted by his former girlfriend, Emily. Not only does the issue of marriage throw light upon Miles Ballard’s personality but also the way he reacts to the effects of rape and suicide. Miles faces many challenges due to his high sense of morality. His superior in the hospital Miles serves is totally hostile to him, feeling threatened by Miles’s ideas and acts against corruption. There are complex issues dealt with, like the fact that the women who reported sexual assaults to the armed forces were silenced, which led to depression and even suicide. Miles is an admirable character in the way he deals with this issue and with the local people as well. Another admirable character is Ingrid, who wants to find out about the fate of her Jewish relatives during the Holocaust. The friendship and love that develops between Miles and Ingrid have nothing of the usual romance and this makes it more exciting.

Another delightful aspect of this novel is the vivid description of places in France. Together with the accurate historical facts, the descriptions of the settings make the reader enjoy a real lesson of history.

There is nothing to dislike in this novel. It has all the ingredients of a great work and it is suitable for readers of any religious belief. I would gladly recommend it, especially to young readers who would get an image of real life back in the sixties. Apart from a few typos, the book is very well-edited. I would rate it 5 out of 5 stars since it is an enjoyable historical novel with a subtle touch of romance.

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Omobolanle Shittu
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Post by Omobolanle Shittu »

Well done for this review. It seems like a genre for lovers of war stories and the accompanying drama of those era.
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