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A war story in which, although the many details of infantry fighting and the pattern of ground combat and the relationships of men and officers have their important part, one man is center-spotted. Mike Andrews, depression twisted and unable to take the responsibility of a wife and sick baby, finds himself a right man in the Army, and in the fall and winter of '44, in Italy, gives and lives the gospel ""according to Mike Andrews"" as Company L's commanding officer. At a time when ""anything can happen to you -- and it just did"", Mike's courage, belief, and handling of his men lead them through unceasing German resistance, makes them willing to fight on to the Po. It is Smoky Pete's one deed of bravery that influences Mike to put in for Smoky's advancement, then it is Smoky's connections, which mean a job for Mike and a chance to be with his wife and son after the war, which keep Mike rooting for the man he knows to be an arrant coward. It is the constant battle with rear echelon directions, the snatching of small victories from large defeats, a sour leave in Florence, and the death of one of his men through Smoky's fear. And then, with the one last mountain to take, it is curtains for Mike. A non-stop recapitulation which is strong on realism and reporting, which has its grim, macabre humor and wry bitterness and which, in posing a flawed character against the war, does offer a different sort of combat story. Men only.

Pub Date: Dec. 15th, 1951
Publisher: Rinehart