Gustav Hasford

Jerry Gustave Hasford (November 28, 1947 – January 29, 1993), also known under his pen name Gustav Hasford was an American novelist, journalist and poet. His semi-autobiographical novel The Short-Timers (1979) was the basis of the film Full Metal Jacket (1987).[1] He was also a United States Marine Corps veteran, who served during the Vietnam War.

Gustav Hasford
Hasford during his time in Vietnam
Hasford during his time in Vietnam
BornJerry Gustave Hasford
November 28, 1947
Haleyville, Alabama, U.S.
DiedJanuary 29, 1993 (aged 45)
Aegina, Greece
Resting placeNorth Aegean, Greece
Pen nameGustav Hasford
OccupationWriter, military veteran
Notable works


Early life

Born in Russellville, Alabama, Hasford joined the United States Marine Corps in 1966 and served as a combat correspondent during the Vietnam War. As a military journalist, he wrote stories for Leatherneck Magazine, Pacific Stars and Stripes, and Sea Tiger.[2] During his tour in Vietnam, Hasford was awarded the Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Valor Device, during the Battle of Huế in 1968.

Early literary career

Hasford associated with various science fiction writers of the 1970s (including Arthur Byron Cover and David J. Skal). He had works published in magazines and anthologies such as Space and Time and Damon Knight's Orbit series; he also published the poem, "Bedtime Story", in a 1972 edition of Winning Hearts and Minds, the first anthology of writing about the war by the veterans themselves;[3] the poem was reprinted in Carrying the Darkness in 1985.[4])

First novel and film

In 1978, Hasford attended the Milford Writer's Workshop and met veteran science fiction author Frederik Pohl, who was then an editor at Bantam Books. At Pohl's suggestion, Hasford submitted The Short-Timers, and Pohl promptly bought it for Bantam.[5]

The Short-Timers was published in 1979 and became a best-seller, described in Newsweek as "The best work of fiction about the Vietnam War".[1] It was adapted into the feature film Full Metal Jacket (1987), directed by Stanley Kubrick, and the screenplay written by Hasford, Kubrick, and screenwriter Michael Herr was nominated for an Academy Award. Hasford's actual contributions were a subject of dispute among the three, and ultimately Hasford chose not to attend the Oscar ceremonies.[1]

Library books theft charges

In 1985, Hasford had borrowed 98 books from the Sacramento, California public library and was wanted for grand theft there.[6] Then, in 1988, shortly before the Oscars ceremony, he was charged with theft after campus police from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, found nearly 10,000 library books in his rented storage locker. At that time, he had 87 overdue books and five years of Civil War Times magazine issues checked out from the Cal Poly-SLO library; the materials were valued at over $20,000.[6]

Hasford's book collection included books borrowed (and never returned) from dozens of libraries across the United States, from libraries in Australia and the United Kingdom, and, allegedly, books taken from the homes of acquaintances. Among them were 19th-century books on Edgar Allan Poe and the American Civil War.[6] Hasford had obtained borrowing privileges at Cal Poly-SLO as a California resident, using a false address and Social Security number.[6]

Hasford initially denied the charges, but he eventually admitted possession of several hundred stolen books and pleaded nolo contendere ("no contest") to possession of stolen property. He was sentenced to six months' imprisonment (of which he served three months) and promised to pay restitution from the royalties of his future works.[6]

Hasford claimed that he wanted the books to research a never-published book on the Civil War. He described his difficulties as "a vicious attack launched against me by Moral Majority fanatics backed up by the full power of the Fascist State."[6]

Second and third novels

In 1990, he published a second novel, The Phantom Blooper: A Novel of Vietnam,[7] a sequel to The Short-Timers.[8] The sequel was supposed to be the second of a "Vietnam Trilogy", but Hasford died soon after completing The Phantom Blooper and before writing the third installment.[9] Hasford's final novel is A Gypsy Good Time (1992), a hardboiled, noir detective story set in Los Angeles.


Hasford, impoverished[10][9] and suffering from untreated diabetes, moved to the Greek island of Aegina and died there of heart failure on 29 January 1993, aged 45.[1]


Vietnam Trilogy[8]
  1. The Short-Timers (1979) ISBN 0-553-23945-7
  2. The Phantom Blooper: A Novel of Vietnam (1990) ISBN 0-553-05718-9
Standalone novel


  1. ^ a b c d Lewis, Grover (June 4–10, 1993). "The Killing of Gus Hasford". LA Weekly. BronxBanter blog. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  2. ^ Lewis, Grover (June 28, 1987). "The Several Battles of Gustav Hasford: A Candid Conversation With the Co-Writer and Fierce, Real-Life Protagonist of Full Metal Jacket". Los Angeles Times Magazine. Archived from the original on November 3, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  3. ^ Barry, Jan Barry & Paquet, Basil T. & Rottmann, Larry (Editors) (1972). "Bedtime Story". Winning Hearts and Minds. 1st Casualty Press. Archived from the original on September 1, 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2012.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  4. ^ Ehrhart, W.D. (Editor) (1985). "Bedtime Story". Carrying the Darkness. Texas Tech University Press. Retrieved August 2, 2012.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Pohl, Frederik (January 26, 2010). "Gus Hasford: The Libraries' Very Best Customer". The Way The Future Blogs. Retrieved January 26, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Book theft articles".
  7. ^ Hasford, Gustav (January 1, 1990). The Phantom Blooper: A Novel of Vietnam (1st ed.). Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0553057188.
  8. ^ a b Salzberg, Charles (1990). "IN SHORT; FICTION: THE PHANTOM BLOOPER. By Gustav Hasford. (Bantam, $17.95.)". The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Ross, Matthew Samuel (2010). "An Examination of the life and work of Gustav Hasford, Paper 236". UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones.
  10. ^ "Jerry Gustave "Gus" Hasford". Findagrave.

Further reading

External links

60th Academy Awards

The 60th Academy Awards ceremony, presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), took place on April 11, 1988, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles beginning at 6:00 p.m. PST / 9:00 p.m. EST. During the ceremony, AMPAS presented Academy Awards (commonly referred to as Oscars) in 22 categories honoring films released in 1987. The ceremony, televised in the United States by ABC, was produced by Samuel Goldwyn Jr. and directed by Marty Pasetta. Actor Chevy Chase hosted the show for the second consecutive year. Two weeks earlier in a ceremony held at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California on March 27, the Academy Awards for Technical Achievement were presented by host Shirley Jones.The Last Emperor won nine awards including Best Picture and Best Director for Bernardo Bertolucci. For their performances in Moonstruck, Cher and Olympia Dukakis won Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. Michael Douglas won Best Actor for his role in Wall Street; Sean Connery won Best Supporting Actor for The Untouchables. The telecast garnered 42.2 million viewers in the United States.

As of 2019, this is the most recent Academy Awards ceremony to take place in April.

A Gypsy Good Time

A Gypsy Good Time is a 1992 noir detective novel by Vietnam War veteran Gustav Hasford and the last novel he completed before his death in 1993, at forty-five years old. It is written in the style of classic hardboiled detective fiction and was poorly received by book critics at the time for making too much use of the cliches of the genre. A Gypsy Good Time never received the same critical recognition as Hasford's novels on Viet Nam, The Short-Timers (1979) and The Phantom Blooper (1990), and is relatively unknown even among the author's followers. The book is reportedly based on Hasford's disillusionment with Hollywood during the production of Full Metal Jacket (1987).

Compulsive hoarding

Compulsive hoarding, also known as hoarding disorder, is a behavioral pattern characterized by excessive acquisition of and an inability or unwillingness to discard large quantities of objects that cover the living areas of the home and cause significant distress or impairment. Compulsive hoarding behavior has been associated with health risks, impaired functioning, workplace impairment, economic burden, and adverse effects on friends and family members. When clinically significant enough to impair functioning, hoarding can prevent typical uses of space, enough so that it can limit activities such as cooking, cleaning, moving through the house, and sleeping. It can also put the individual and others at risk of fires, falling, poor sanitation, and other health concerns. Compulsive hoarders may be aware of their irrational behavior, but the emotional attachment to the hoarded objects far exceeds the motive to discard the items.

Researchers have only recently begun to study hoarding, and it was first defined as a mental disorder in the 5th edition of the DSM in 2013. It was not clear whether compulsive hoarding is a separate, isolated disorder, or rather a symptom of another condition, such as OCD, but the current DSM lists hoarding disorder as both a mental disability and a possible symptom for OCD. Prevalence rates have been estimated at 2% to 5% in adults, though the condition typically manifests in childhood with symptoms worsening in advanced age, at which point collected items have grown excessive and family members who would otherwise help to maintain and control the levels of clutter have either died or moved away. Hoarding appears to be more common in people with psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Other factors often associated with hoarding include alcohol dependence and paranoid, schizotypal and avoidance traits.

Filmography and awards of Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick directed 13 feature films and three short documentaries over the course of his career, from Day of the Fight in 1951 to Eyes Wide Shut in 1999. Many of Kubrick's films were nominated for Academy Awards or Golden Globes, but his only personal win of an Academy Award was for his work as director of special effects on 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Full Metal Jacket

Full Metal Jacket is a 1987 war film directed, co-written, and produced by Stanley Kubrick and starring Matthew Modine, R. Lee Ermey, Vincent D'Onofrio and Adam Baldwin. The screenplay by Kubrick, Michael Herr, and Gustav Hasford was based on Hasford's novel The Short-Timers (1979). The storyline follows a platoon of U.S. Marines through their training, primarily focusing on two privates, Joker and Pyle, who struggle to get through boot camp under their abusive drill instructor, Gunnery Sergeant Hartman, and the experiences of two of the platoon's Marines in the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War. The film's title refers to the full metal jacket bullet used by soldiers. The film was released in the United States on June 26, 1987. It was the last of Kubrick's films to be released during his lifetime.

Full Metal Jacket received critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for Kubrick, Herr, and Hasford. In 2001, the American Film Institute placed it at No. 95 in their "AFI's 100 Years...100 Thrills" poll.

Full metal jacket bullet

A full metal jacket (FMJ) bullet is a small-arms projectile consisting of a soft core (often lead) encased in a shell of harder metal, such as gilding metal, cupronickel, or, less commonly, a steel alloy. A bullet jacket generally allows for higher muzzle velocities than bare lead without depositing significant amounts of metal in the bore. It also prevents damage to bores from steel or armor-piercing core materials. In military nomenclature, it is often labeled ball ammunition.

The bullet was invented in 1882 by Swiss Colonel Eduard Rubin while he was working for the Swiss Federal Ammunition Factory and Research Center, which developed ammunition for the Swiss military. The use of full metal jacketing in military ammunition came about in part because of the need for improved feeding characteristics in small arms that used internal mechanical manipulation of the cartridge in order to chamber rounds as opposed to externally hand-reloading single-shot firearms. The harder metal used in bullet jackets was less prone to deformation than softer exposed lead, which improved feeding. It is sometimes thought that military use of FMJ ammunition was the result of The Hague Convention of 1899, Declaration III, prohibiting the use in international warfare of bullets that easily expand or flatten in the body. However, jacketed bullets had been in use since at least 1882, over a decade prior to the Hague Convention.


Hasford is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Gustav Hasford (1947–1993), American journalist, writer and poet

Jason Hasford, footballer

Leatherneck Magazine

Leatherneck Magazine of the Marines (or simply Leatherneck) is a magazine for United States Marines.

List of United States Marines

The following is a list of people who served in the United States Marine Corps and have gained fame through previous or subsequent endeavors, infamy, or successes. Marines who became notable in the United States Marine Corps and are part of the Marine Corps history and lore are listed and posted in the List of historically notable United States Marines.

Lusthog Squad

The Lusthog Squad is a fictional United States Marine Corps squad introduced first in the semi-autobiographical novel The Short-Timers (1979) by Vietnam veteran Gustav Hasford. The squad was also featured in its sequel, The Phantom Blooper, albeit with most of its members changed. Stanley Kubrick depicted the squad in his 1987 film Full Metal Jacket.

Michael Herr

Michael David Herr (April 13, 1940 – June 23, 2016) was an American writer and war correspondent, known as the author of Dispatches (1977), a memoir of his time as a correspondent for Esquire magazine (1967–1969) during the Vietnam War. The book was called the best "to have been written about the Vietnam War" by The New York Times Book Review. Novelist John le Carré called it "the best book I have ever read on men and war in our time." Herr later was credited with pioneering the literary genre of the nonfiction novel, along with authors such as Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, and Tom Wolfe.

Milford Writer's Workshop

The Milford Writer's Workshop, or more properly Milford Writers' Conference, is an annual science fiction writer's event founded by Damon Knight, among others, in the mid-1950s, in Milford, Pennsylvania. It was so named because Knight, Judith Merril, and James Blish lived in Milford, Pennsylvania when it was founded. It moved to the United Kingdom in 1972 and has run successfully ever since on an annual basis.

Phu Bai Combat Base

Phu Bai Combat Base (also known as Phu Bai Airfield and Camp Hochmuth) is a former U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps base south of Huế, in central Vietnam.

Russellville, Alabama

Russellville is a city in Franklin County in the U.S. state of Alabama. At the 2010 census, the population of the city was 9,830, up from 8,971 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Franklin County.

The Phantom Blooper

The Phantom Blooper: A Novel of Vietnam is a 1990 novel written by Gustav HasfordThe Phantom Blooper: A Novel of Vietnam (1990). and the sequel to The Short-Timers (1979). It continues to follow James T. "Joker" Davis through his Vietnam odyssey. The book was supposed to be the second of a "Vietnam Trilogy", but Hasford died before writing the third installment.

The Short-Timers

The Short-Timers is a 1979 semi-autobiographical novel by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Gustav Hasford, about his experience in the Vietnam War. Hasford served as a combat correspondent with the 1st Marine Division during the Tet Offensive of 1968. As a military journalist, he wrote stories for Leatherneck Magazine, Pacific Stars and Stripes, and Sea Tiger. The novel was later adapted into the film Full Metal Jacket (1987) by Hasford, Michael Herr, and Stanley Kubrick.

In 1990, Hasford published the sequel The Phantom Blooper: A Novel of Vietnam.

The two books were supposed to be part of a "Vietnam Trilogy", but Hasford died before writing the third installment.

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