THE DEAD ARE MINE by James E. Ross


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This is standard action fare, very tough, written in anonymous prose and featuring Anzio beach. It concerns a squad leader whose squad is shot from under him, S/Sgt. Terry Lewis, an Argosy cover professional soldier. The best of the novel is its tonic viciousness and insistent reality; Ross is a dedicated combat infantryman. It cannot stand comparison with Jones or Mailer, but on its own terms holds up fairly well in spite of such solecisms as ""intenseness"" for ""tension"" and inanities as ""it finally dawned upon him"". Terry's command is pinned down on Anzio beachhead for many months. After seeing several of his men die and after sitting in a kiln during a heavy barrage, he announces to his drunken commanding general, ""I quit"". He is packed off to a rear-echelon stockade, then transferred to Graves Registration to pick up dead soldiers. This he finds worse than front line duty, enviably hard-bitten as he is. Eventually he is killed while single-handedly operating a machinegun in a scene worthy of ictor McLaglen. For the most part, Terry holds the book together by sheer will; much of the action is merely his sensory system at work.

Pub Date: Oct. 30th, 1963
Publisher: McKay