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Embarras Valley Film Festival


James JonesJames Jones was born in Robinson, Illinois, just southeast of Coles County. While serving in the United States Army, Jones witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that catapulted the United States into World War II, fought and was wounded at Guadalcanal and was sent to a Memphis, Tennessee hospital where he was eventually discharged. Those events and experiences provided Jones with some of the raw material that helped launch him to national and international prominence as the pre-eminent novelist of the war years and those that followed. From Here to Eternity was written at the Handy Writers' Colony in Marshall, Illinois, and Jones continued to write novels about World War II and its aftermath thereafter. Writer Willie Morris, Jones's friend and former editor of Harper's magazine, wrote in his memoir, James Jones: A Friendship, that Jones "is the one person to have given us this stunning corpus of work which will be read and remembered and reread five hundred years from now" about World War II, "one of the memorable events of mankind, more catastrophic perhaps than anything in the history of the human race." Three of Jones's books were made into films — which is a medium that attracts and/or exposes some individuals who would otherwise not be interested in certain literary works. The importance of veterans' stories has been a topic of interest for historians as well as the general public for many years. The art and literature available regarding this topic by and about veterans is of incredible significance as it shares a specific time in history that is both fascinating and terrifying. This past experience can be examined through film and discussion for a clear perspective on where we as a society are today and where we are heading in the future.

Quotes from James Jones

"I also learned that in spite of all the training you get and precautions you take to keep yourself alive, its largely a matter of luck that decided whether or not you get killed. It doesn't make any difference who you are, how tough you are, how nice a guy you might be, or how much you may know; if you happen to be at a certain spot at a certain time, you get it." —James Jones, letter to his brother, Jeff Jones, from Guadalcanal, January 28, 1943

"This is the song of the men who have no place, played by a man who has never had a place, and can therefore play it."

—From Here to Eternity (1951)


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