Army Blue

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

From the opening pages of ARMY BLUE it is patently obvious that Lieutenant Matthew Nelson Blue IV and the United States Army are destined to have problems. Despite his impressive military lineage, second-generation West Point and third-generation officer, Lieutenant Blue is determined to exercise command independence insofar as his actions as a platoon leader are concerned. In other words, the lieutenant follows only those orders which will ensure the survival of himself and his men as well as contribute to the successful waging of the war as he knows it.

Admittedly, the man on the scene often has a better appreciation of the state of affairs than do staff officers back at headquarters, but the essence of any military force is that orders exist to be obeyed. An individual officer may, and is in fact required to, question suspect orders and submit an alternative proposal based on what is often more current information. But once having done so and been refused, must then perform the requested activity. Lieutenant Blue, however, believes that his commanders are not merely in error but are capable of allowing personal animosities to influence their military judgment. In consequence, he connives to evade an order by a superior and thus lays the foundation for the court-martial which serves as the centerpiece of this novel.

When Lieutenant Blue and his platoon stumble unwittingly into the midst of an American-sponsored drug operation, his...

(The entire section is 423 words.)