This is the second of Edward Patterson's novels that I've read. I began it not quite knowing what to expect. I enjoyed the other of his novels immensely, so I did not think I'd be disappointed. I was not.
The book follows Private Winslow Gibbs all the way through his difficult basic training journey. I also went to basic training in Georgia, and the descriptions were precise. Much of it is exactly how I remember. Private Gibbs takes his own side trip through "Special Training Unit" which is the landing place for homosexuals, overweight soldiers, and misfits in general. It's supposed to make them or break them. He makes many friends there and finds out a lot about himself. One scene near the end of the book is so well written that it gave me chills. I won't spoil the plot, but I think you'll know the scene when you get there.
What strikes me the most about this book is the autheticity. The dialogue sounds like soldiers sound. The personalities are like people I know. The places felt like places I've been. Mr. Patterson paints a picture unlike many other authors I've read. This is a book that is well worth reading that sheds light on a little known aspect of the military experience. I recommend it highly.
Surviving An American Gulag by Edward C. Patterson