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This recounts the adventures of a dissenter in the German Army during the war. Stefan Wolzogen has been a bookseller and he disapproved quickly but completely of the war, which he considered a phenomenon he must stay and observe. Not a great deal of actual war happens to Stefan. He is assigned to a telephone unit behind the lines, a cheerful company; but even here he is exposed to knowledge of peripheral deaths, as part of the machinery of war, and there is talk, offstage, of battles - and of the extermination of the Jews. During the fall of France, Stefan comes close enough to battle to exhibit bravery under fire and to be made a PFC, but the squad is chiefly occupied during the Occupation in looting, raping, goldbricking and partying. Stefan contrives to find writing jobs that get him rooms away from the others; and once his girl, Daniela, visits him, but he refuses to marry her until the war ends. Nevertheless his private, silent disapproval and disappearances get him into small but continual trouble, and in the end he is court-martialled on a false (but essentially real) charge of desertion, and is sent to jail. Like Stefan, this book is a low-key-often humorous but quite serious protest, and its pictures of the German Army and the despoiling of France are a domesticated, daily life view of the results of a savage reality, a reality Stefan only skirts until he is finally caught up in it. There is no longer room for impartial observers in a senseless world! Moving, true pictures of many individuals caught up in a war they did not make nor often understand, this is well written and thoughtful, but one wonders who will seek it out. This is no ""All Quiet....

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1962
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Cudahy