The feel of war is in almost every line of this story of Lt. Col. Smither's regiment, and for many it will carry a note of...

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THE WINE OF ASTONISHMENT

The feel of war is in almost every line of this story of Lt. Col. Smither's regiment, and for many it will carry a note of authenticity, without the grimly sordid realism of The Naked and the Dead. The setting is France in the late fall and early winter of the war at its lowest ebb, with the battle of boredom and marking time and the horrors of the Battle of the Bulge. One gets an intensely vital sense of the conflict of personalities at too close quarters -- officers and non-coms and G I's,- with flashbacks to their homes, with now overwhelming homesickness for things real and imagined back there -- now the dread of the problems or adjustment the war's end will bring. The interest centers largely on Smithers, a very human C.O., and his jeep driver, Jake Levy, and the two women who made their stay in Luxembourg significant in the war as they savored it. The story builds up to a dramatic and tragic climax, with Jake's sudden and devastating awakening to the reason for war, as epitomized by Dachau, and his own individual gesture of revolt. Probably many will tag the story as a feminine slant, dehydrated, purified. Perhaps, but for the average reader, the story- in much the same way as A Walk in the Sun, rings true psychologically.

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 1948

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1948