THE EAGLE AND THE IRON CROSS by Glendon Swarthout

THE EAGLE AND THE IRON CROSS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Competently conceived, concisely executed, this scenario-like novel has already been bought by film producer Sam Spiegel (Lawrence of Arabia). The story is a natural for the flicks. The setting is the Arizona desert near Phoenix, where a pair of Nazi POWs escape from their internment camp and flee to live with the Apaches. To their chagrin at first, they find themselves hunkered down with the Moencopas, a small tribe that is hostile to the Apaches. The novel's ironies emerge with some force, since both the Nazis and the Moencopas are enemies of the white people. The Moencopas are hired out seasonally at slave wages to harvest cotton. When the two Nazis bring water to the Indian village by drilling a well for them, they become blood brothers of sorts. The two Nazis stick around for three months, living up the ""Wilden West where der Buffalo do roam,"" but eventually some vigilantes seek them out. All of the white men are invariable ugly (and the U.S. Army personnel are morally stunted). After one of the Nazi youths is murdered by the vigilantes, the other is saved not by the cavalry but the Indians who come riding up. However, the remaining Nazi goes on a vendetta after the vigilantes and the novel's climax is both spectacular and fiery. In a final irony, the last Nazi makes his way back to the prison camp because he can't stand the prejudice he encounters everywhere, and the story ends in bloody tragedy triggered by a psychotic U.S. soldier. The novel's originality is supported by wry dialogue that is a conglomerate of Afrika Korps, Western and Indian idioms, jawohl, as funny as the Nazis' dream to ride a fine horse.

Publisher: New American Library