Originally published in 1948, this novel from renowned WW11 correspondent Martha Gellhorn is as absorbing now as it was when it first came out.
This tightly drawn, both tender and tough story follows a U.S Army infantry battalion in Europe through the last months of WW11, especially one of its soldiers, Jacob Levy. A young man of Jewish heritage who will confront the horrors of the Holocaust and tells how he had to come to terms with what he experienced. The often graphic scenes focus on a few other individuals and through their eyes we see action and its consequences as they describe what is happening. Through daydreaming often the men fantasied about better days, their sweetheart and life after the war. Their dreams although clean were explicit and rather repetitive. I presume there wasn’t much to do during down time for the boys but fantasize and in this story they did lots of it.
One part of this story is the typical war romance with a handsome and naïve protagonist and non-English speaking woman and the other part is a serious Holocaust novel with the horrors of Dachau and the realities of war. The novel includes an afterword where Martha Gellhorn tells us her own experiences as a war correspondent that went to Dachau soon after the Americans discovered its existence. The author wrote this novel with a keen eye for details and an awareness of how war affects everyone caught in its path.
Thank you to Open Road Integrated Media and NetGalleys for the opportunity to read and review this book.