Don't be misled by the title -- this is fiction, and belongs in the tetralogy in which The Case of Sergeant Grischa came first, in order of publication. Bertin appeared in the earlier book and is the central character here -- a novelist and a Jew, and a cog in the great wheel of war class distinctions. He represents the ""little man"" but plays his part in attempting to win vindication for a young officer, side-tracked because he dared criticize his fellow officers, and killed as a result. Bertin's fate becomes directly involved with that of the officer's brother, and the high-born girl he loves. As vigorous and realistic a picture of life behind the lines ""before Verdun"" as I have found -- and with something of the impassioned eagerness for justice that characterized Paths of Glory.