Review

O'hara's Choice

by Leon Uris



It's the late 1800s. Horace Kerr speaks: "Our most thrilling
declarations for freedom and our most noble documents
notwithstanding, America belongs to white Protestants. The Civil
War did not change things; it merely altered them with scar tissue.
The true battle cry of freedom has not come to pass."

Set in tumultuous times for the Marine Corps --- and for America
--- O'HARA'S CHOICE joins two headstrong young people in a love
that many covet but few ever experience. Amanda and Zachary, as far
apart on the social scale as A is from Z, try to rid themselves of
the unstoppable attraction that gnaws at them, but resistance
proves futile. A chunk of time in the latter half of the 19th
century sees these two risking status, career and even their lives
to quench their desires. Amanda, possessed of a striking beauty,
could have her pick of beaus. She is stubbornly drawn to the
dashing young Marine, at first a gesture of defiance --- a gesture
that backfires. Born to wealth, she alone holds her father's heart
and her quick intelligence earns her his ear too. Horace Kerr has
influence, but hungers for more power. When it becomes obvious that
Amanda has fallen for Zachary O'Hara, her father's attitude turns
sour. He pitches himself into a rage, on the verge of disinheriting
his favorite child. Horace Kerr didn't raise his daughter to throw
away her life in the role of a marine's wife.

Irish immigrant Paddy O'Hara raised his son among the Corpsmen,
driving him to enlist as a Marine. Tormented by too much drinking
and dangerous bouts of anger, Paddy sets the course for his son's
life. Zachary becomes a man filled with anguish, torn by his love
for Amanda and his allegiance to the Corps.

At this point in history, the Marine Corps teeters delicately on
the brink of extinction. Saving it will take great effort and
loyalty on the part of the remaining few officers. Zachary looks
like the brilliant light that could guide them back to the top. He
immerses himself in a highly secret, critical report that is
designed, if put together right, to make the Corps indispensable
and, in the bargain, to help protect America's shores. Its success
seems to pivot on O'Hara's leadership, which would require a
minimum of two heartbreaking years away at sea. So how does he
choose? After much soul-searching and agonizing, he makes his
choice. And Amanda makes hers.

It has been nearly a half-century since Leon Uris's first novel,
BATTLE CRY. As with his other stories, O'HARA'S CHOICE is a
historical epic laced with political overtones. One is never left
doubting which way the author leans on any one of a myriad of
subjects. Uris can stuff more into 400 pages than most authors can
fit into twice that many. And here, once again, he tackles one of
his favorite subjects, the Marine Corps, with his fondness for the
brotherhood stemming from his years in the Corps. Don't miss this,
his last, great novel --- with an ending that will leave you
stunned. (Leon Uris, 1924 - 2003)

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 22, 2011

O'hara's Choice
by Leon Uris

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2003
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins
  • ISBN-10: 0060568739
  • ISBN-13: 9780060568733