The Kirst books that have appeared here, The Revolt of Gunner Asch and Forward, Gunner Asch! (Little, Brown, 1956) have introduced the cynical appraisal of the Prussian military system and this small novel continues the pattern. It is a hardfaced profile of General von Puckhammer, given its impetus by his funeral and the memories that his soldier-servant-driver, Horlacher, has of the time in which he was his commander's intimate. From the crest of pre-invasion security, to the staff conferences, troop inspection, dinners and tactical problems, on to the flight before the Allied forces, the execution of French maquis, the disintegration of morals, in which the General maintains his arrogant superiority, this follows the general's sickness, his capture by the Americans, his unbending pride during imprisonment and his release to the French. Horlacher goes to live with the general's daughter, gets the house in the Black Forest readied against the general's return while the daughter engages in making illegal schnapps, restores a machine tool factory and wangles her way through black market operations. The general's homecoming is a gala day; he uses the garden for tactical exercises, keeps maps of current military developments, goes mad after a reunion. A concentrate of incident and character, the sardonic observation here has its touch of hard earned affection. A specialty.