THE LOCUST FIRE by Eugene Brown


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The story of George Lewis, radio operator, whose moves from through the war years into those after the victory encompass self pity, dejection, abjection and a small reserve of decency, makes for a bilious picture of air force life. For Lewis, bucking hard for his wings, washes out in St. Louis on VD, carries on in RO for an Eastern tour of duty and again, in bracing for his hours, is thrown by VD, an extension of rotation time and the point system. Backtracking through his cadet days with his hero image, Hannibal, who is later encountered in the eastern theater; checking his thermal maximums and minimums of cowardice and courage, following through on his sexual life before and after the seven day cure, he wanders through a military life without shame, without glory. He accompanies supplies, mules, troops; sweats out his terminal time only to lash out against the extra flying hours required and finally, from a soft assignment for the brass, unable to parachute to safety with idolized Hannibal, he retrieves some honor, some bravery by bringing in a planeful of Chinese soldiers on his own. A hard spoken, soft feeling portrayal of ambivalence, this is an individual exposure to a demanded system, to a foreign people and a personal adjustment which leaves only a kernel of hope.

Pub Date: July 18th, 1957
Publisher: Doubleday