Books: Grey Flannel War

DON'T Go NEAR THE WATER (373 pp.) —William Brinkley—Random House ($3.95).

"I sing of arms and the man," wrote Virgil rather pointedly in The Aeneid. It remained for World War II to spawn the bards of basic training camps, staging areas, supply depots and paper-shuffling rear echelons. These latter-day laureates all agree that war gets funnier and funnier in direct proportion to its distance from the firing line, and sometimes prove it, e.g., See Here, Private Hargrove, Mister Roberts, No Time for Sergeants. Though it works harder for its laughs...

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