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Book Review - "The Hunting Trip: A Novel of Love and War" by William E. Butterworth (W.E.B. Griffin)

The following book review is a special for BlackFive readers provided by Elise Cooper.  You can read all of our book reviews and author interviews by clicking on the Books category link on the right sidebar.

9780399176234_p0_v1_s192x300The Hunting Trip by William E. Butterworth III, aka W.E.B. Griffin, is a humorous novel, in the same style as his previously written MASH books. People who need an escape from today’s dark times might want to read this novel.  He pokes fun at the future CIA, the OSS, military graduates, and Southern small towns. 

Butterworth III told, “I started out writing a serious story of a hunting trip that had sexual implications.  But it was not working so I decided on a funny book like when I wrote the MASH books.  I thought it was funny and hope readers get a couple of laughs from it. They can take their minds off of Obama, Kerry, and Hillary for a few hours.”

The novel begins in 1975 with an attempt by a bunch of wives of prominent citizens, living in Muddiebay Mississippi, to convince their spouse to go on a hunting trip in Scotland, while they go on a shopping spree in London. It then flashes back to Philip W. Williams III who is expelled from boarding school for committing a prank, and on the train home naturally wonders about his future. It never enters his mind that he will become a world-class marksman and a special agent of the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps in postwar Germany, play a key role in the defection of a Soviet officer, and then court danger as a courier for the CIA. He marries a beautiful Austrian ballet dancer, becomes a renowned bestselling novelist, and meets his lover on a hunting trip to Scotland.

Readers might question how this book parallels Butterworth’s life. People may recognize that he was actually writing about the small town in Alabama where he now resides part time.  Yet, those who think that Phil Williams’ Austrian wife is based on Butterworth’s first wife would be wrong.  He noted, “Yes, my ex-wife was an Austrian ballet dancer, but she was a good woman and I would never write anything nasty about her.  My son Bill would never let me get away with it.  Although she did have a red Mercedes convertible who did believe the car had two speeds, on and off.” The other similarity is that he went on a hunting trip to Scotland, as shown by the picture on the back cover. He further commented, “I wanted to zing my friends who were former OSS and those graduates of West Point who are a little stuffy.”

Another interesting point about the book is that for cuss words he substitutes “expletive deleted.” When asked why, he stated, “I didn’t think the dirty words were appropriate.  It is much more crude when you read them than when you hear them.  I wanted to let people’s imagination go to work.  I don’t think they will have a hard time understanding what I meant.”

Readers will enjoy the lighthearted spirit of The Hunting Trip.  This story will allow them to take their minds off of their problems and this country’s problems.  Fans of Butterworth III will enjoy a raucous series of adventures across Europe and the United States that will have them immersed in laughter.