THE SOLDIERS' REVOLT by Hans Hellmut Kirst


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The author of the Gunner Asch books and 1963's praised seller The Night of the Generals, has the strongest possible readership -- men who are veterans able to appreciate his storyteller's grasp of the military machine and his trouncing of the imbecilities it manufactures as an unavoidable by-product. The Soldiers' Revolt is Kirst crafted, but it may come as a letdown. Kirst's usual combination of fact and fiction has been weighted with an unusual number of scenes and speeches from actual generals and Hitler & Co. An author's postscript further tips the novelist's hand by revealing that the novel's hero, Count von Brackwed, was assiduously modelled on a German officer executed for his part in the July 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler with a briefcase full of bomb. Part of Kirst's reader appeal has been bound up in his optimism about the triumph of reasonable men over institutional idiocy, but in this bitter book, all the self-salvaged young officers and men involved in the plot are killed off and it ends with a question about how Germany can survive without the younger ethical elite who were exterminated while Nazis survived. As always, Kirst takes the reader with him but not so easily or to so satisfying a conclusion, probably because it is more truth than fiction.

Pub Date: June 22nd, 1966
Publisher: Harper & Row