CHRYSANTHEMUM IN THE SNOW by James Hickey

CHRYSANTHEMUM IN THE SNOW

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An exceptionally brave young officer, deeply troubled by guilt after a tragic accident, leads his men through some of the worst fighting of the Korean War. First-time author Hickey is a veteran infantryman and was a prisoner of the Koreans. For Donald Robertson, the Army is a place of shelter and order, greatly to be preferred to his life on the farm, where he was abandoned by his widowed father during the Depression. Without a formal education but extremely bright, Robertson finds that his talents lead to rapid promotion to sergeant and, following heroic action in battle, to a field commission as art officer. He is nearly worshipped by the men in his platoon, but the adoration is understandable. Robertson's military skills are backed by fairness--as well as by an understanding that his men will follow only if they know that he asks nothing he hasn't done himself or isn't willing to do. Even the Korean natives attached to his unit come to respect him when he includes them as full equals under his command. Robertson's conspicuous valor brings him to the attention of the highest command in the war, men who want to recognize his heroism publicly. But Robertson is hounded by the memory of his horrifying behavior on a night of unauthorized leave, and he has become fatalistic in a very Oriental and un-American way. Somber, nearly grim, but highly rewarding for anyone with the least interest in the truths of warfare. Very well done.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1990
Publisher: Crown