The Naked and the Dead is regarded as a successful war novel and it is “everywhere acclaimed as the best novel of World War II” (Trilling 151). Undoubtedly, the soldier-army relationship has developed in years, and the soldier in a war novel was “the victim of a force he could neither understand nor control.” Trilling says that “the army has become identified with the irrational and destructive authority of society itself”(152). Such a force is described as a “death-dealing power” (152). According to Maxwell Geismar, the novel focuses on the relationships and struggles between the individual and society. It also “attempts to evaluate the whole complex structure of the American Army in war and peace, as a manifestation of contemporary society, as well as a weapon of conquest and destruction” (171).
The Naked and the Dead—a milestone in American post-war literature—is “a work of enduring power, a power simply incommensurate with the novel’s reputation” (Merrill 1).