This stirred me more than anything Erskine Caldwell has written. Here -- in a brief and poignant story behind the scenes in Russia's guerilla warfare, his gift of blending realism with tensely emotional values is at its best. Here he is the journalist using his gifts as a story teller, but not merging them in a bitter social document. I read the text early in August, its serialization by Red Book postponed book publication to the above date. But never do I hear a radio report of ""men, women and children fighting for Stalingrad"" -- nor read the record in the daily press, but what it is made more real to me because of this book. The essence of the timeless struggle is epitomized in the story of Sergei and Natasha, a simple, homely couple, trained in exact obedience, so that when invasion comes they know and follow their cues, even though it means separation and incessant danger. Sergei escapes; Natasha is caught, and Sergei is forced to go on to the secret meeting place in the marshes, in the company of Fyodor, whose life is pledged to revenge. From the marshes the legless Pavlenko directs the secret war:- trains are wrecked, tanks overturned, radio stations fired, sentinels killed, munitions dumps exploded, bridges destroyed. Men die and others take their place. Natasha is rescued -- and Sergei leaves her on still another and yet more dangerous mission. The war must go on....Vigorous, dramatic, a revitalizing of one segment of this war behind and within a war. For me it carried more conviction than his news reports.