This is a book well worth selling, but it wont sell itself (unless the sophisticates start a whispering campaign). For this...

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This is a book well worth selling, but it wont sell itself (unless the sophisticates start a whispering campaign). For this is definitely a subtly brilliant piece of writing by an Italian war correspondent, whose utterances in the past have earned him various imprisonments. He has a viper's tongue, a poison pen, and is fearless (or else his audiences were even stupider than he makes them out. His assignments (a roving correspondent) took him from Sweden to the Ukraine, to Poland, to the Balkans, to the territory in Russia occupied by the Germans. He was with the Finnish troops- with the Germans- and he took a m and bitter delight in taunting them without their realizing it. Almost everything he said has double meaning -- but his theory, that the German people are a sadistic people sick with fear of the defenceless, seems born out by the thin veneer of cruelty and sensation seeking, the emptiness below. Throughout his lightly etched-in personal experiences, you find him telling stories, each more cruel than the last. The book is ironically divided into such headings as The Horses, The Dogs, The Birds, Reindeer, and so on- as if it were a tale far from the reaches of war. But, under it all, he is whipping the sensibilities to a sharp awareness of the degradation of Europe, of the utter collapse of morality, integrity, and so on. Then, by way of interludes, he tells a bit here and there, that might read as an isolated short story gem. The man can write. His book seems amorphous, formless, unmotivated, until you look back on it with a growing sense of the adventure of reading it. Translated from the Italian by Care Foligno. A book to watch- it may catch on. It is not really a war book, though shuddering reminders of war are there- but it is a world collapsing, and its warning is immediate in its significance.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 1946

ISBN: 1590171470

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1946