THE BIG RAPE by James Burke


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An extroverted story of the windup of the war in Germany, of the conquering of a country- but not its spirit, which dresses up, and sexes up, some bare to brutal sequences in terms of Lilo Markgraf, whose physical courage and attractiveness gave her a more than equal chance. A fervent party member and nationalist, and in love with Bruno, a soldier, Lilo was soon to learn to exploit her disadvantages-even in defeat. When her mother and her younger sister are raped by two Russians in a small town to which they escaped, Lilo returns to Berlin. She plans, but fails, to regenerate Bruno- hardened by his duties at Buchenwald and now a rabid killer; she fights off, and kills, two Russians; she shelters two young girls in her house which is requisitioned by the Russians, and when she is requisitioned by Captain Ivanov, she cedes with grace (and later with abandon) and makes use of his rank and protection; she kills again, this time the Russian who had abused her mother; and with the American occupation, she prepares advisedly and knowingly to take on and take over the new enemy... The taproot of nationalism, defiant and indestructible, in a story which lands its premonition for the future as well as an object lession of an embattled, embittered country.

Pub Date: July 22nd, 1952
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Young