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James Jones's spiritual beliefs were central to his great World War II trilogy From Here to Eternity, The Thin Red Line, and Whistle, as well as to the rest of his fiction. In this first book-length exploration of the subject, Steven Carter argues that Jones's ideas about reincarnation, karma, and spiritual evolution were heavily influenced by transcendentalism, theosophy, and Oriental religions. The author places Jones in what he identifies as a tradition of American literary Orientalism that includes Emerson, Thoreau, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and others. Carter bases his argument on extensive research into American literature and criticism, coupled with visits and personal correspondence with Jones.