The  of  by Hans Hellmut Kirst

The of

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

The Greater German Wehrmacht's internal disorders are pictured in what might be a try at the No Time For Sergeants (international order) market and which, in veering from the maledictions unloaded on the head of Gunner Vierbein, take in the mishaps and misfortunes that occur to Sgt. Major (Chief) Schulz, Lt. Wedelmann, Major Luschke, (the C. O.), and others of the No. 3 Troop. It is 1st Class Gunner Asch's sudden conversion to a one-man revolt after trying to protect Vierbein, who has become enamored of Asch's sister, that stirs the brew and precipitates matters between the Chief and his wife, the Chief and the troop -- and creates an ""Impossible, Intolerable situation"". For Asch finds a way to undermine the pyramids of discipline as an expression of the demands of decency; to hit back against the senseless, corrupt steamroller system; to avenge Vierbein's suicide attempt; and to find the faults in the military system that aims to produce machines not humans. His battle is stymied by the C. O.'s adherence to the code, all charges are found non-existent and Asch is promoted to corporal. Early Hitlerian versus World War I service matters and the possibility of ""vertical responsibility"" crashing over one individual's organized- and rulebook permissible -- refusal to accept make this peace time army report wry in its military accounting. Audience-wise, it's anybody's bet.

Pub Date: Jan. 10th, 1955
Publisher: Little, Brown