No Time for Sergeants

By Mac Hyman

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When the man from the draft board arrives to take country bumpkin Will Stockdale for induction into the army, Will’s father chases him off. But even hastily erected barbed wire cannot prevent Uncle Sam from claiming this draftee, and soon Will is on a bus to Fort Thompson, Georgia. This bestselling novel from 1954 was made into a popular play and film. No Time For Sergeants is as wildly original a series of humorous escapades as has ever been written about military life.

In the barracks, our hapless hero meets little Ben Whitledge, a fellow trainee who thinks he deserves a medal simply because his grandfather fought under Stonewall Jackson. This odd duo is assigned to the elite Air Force although they would rather serve in that most glorious and revered branch of the Army — the Infantry. Sergeant King, Will’s nemesis, is determined to dampen the young soldier’s enthusiasm, but Will consistently prevails and unknowingly confounds the gruff sergeant at every turn. The 1958 film version starred Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, and Nick Adams.

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