MORE LIVES THAN ONE by Charles Bracelen Flood


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Flood is one of the more popularly reliable novelists (ibid Love is A Bridge-1953) and this one's off with a better than average life expectancy, as a Literary Guild selection. Its virtue is also its limitation--a kind of everyman everydayuess; Flood's style has no more than a functional ease and his characters have an unmemorable likability. Be that as it may, the book is certainly very readable and its theme, what happened to those who fought in nobody's war in Korea, has a strong topical parallel. Harry Purdick who thought he was through having served in Germany in 1945, is called back, out of Harvard, presumably for his know-how as a counter-mortar radar technician. In one of those inevitable army foul-ups, he finds himself sent to Korea as a rifleman; his company is wiped out; he loses his dog tags and is reported dead. This follows, alternately, Harry's experiences from grim forced marches to internment in a Chinese Communist camp and what is happening back home; after they bury him, his brother starts to drink, is helped out of it by Anne, the girl Harry had always wanted to marry, and eventually Anne agrees to marry brother Bill. Flood who has served in Korea and Vietnam as a reporter gives a graphic horror to what is happening over there while here that war ""reserved for the young uneducated poor"" didn't seem to matter. But it does now--and that's the strongest appeal of the book, nobody may be volunteering but all sympathies are enlisted.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1967
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin