THE BATTLE IS THE PAY-OFF by Capt. Ralph Ingersoll
Kirkus Star

THE BATTLE IS THE PAY-OFF

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This is my idea of an Imperative -- no matter what the decision of the Council jury. For here is the code book, the dictionary, the glossary, the pathfinder for everyone who reads anything about ground warfare in today's war, whether in Africa, in Europe, or wherever next it strikes. (In addition, it is superb reporting of the battle of El Guettar.) Ingersoll gives us the answers to the questions that come to us as we read the dispatches, questions which have hitherto gone by the board for lack of sources of reference. (Let's hope this will have an index or a glossary with page references;) Ingersoll gives us, too the answers as to how men think and feel and react as they go into battle, in far more succinct and just as compelling terms as Henriques in his beautiful but obscure The Voice of the Trumpet. This is the story of one day battle, from the waiting for orders at Gafsa, to the return behind the lines. In this record is implicit months of training; years of learning how and for what to train; the ""emotional highlights in the metamorphosis of civilian into soldier""; ""the connection between the creating and training of an army -- an experience in which the whole of the American people share -- and what an army is for: battle itself"". But it is more even than all this. It is a challenge to our thinking on the home front. ""I do not think it is going to be a short war,"" says Ingersoll -- and he gives his reasons. ""It is a good army -- believe in it."" And he tells why -- but he also tells why it needs to get angrier, it needs to suffer more, it needs to feel to personal necessity of fight to ""unconditional surrender"" -- and that parallel thinking and feeling must go on at home. He shows us that we still do not know the extent of the quality of will necessary to destroy the Third Relch -- and this we must know, on the field and on the home front. This is a war for keeps. We so far are only physically committed. We must be morally and spiritually committed. There lies the exact measure of how far we have gone -- how far we still have to go in the war. ""The battle is the pay-off"".

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1943
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace