Kirkus Star


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An alive first novel which has its focus on the problem of the returned war veteran -- but this time it is Sam Bellnap, back from the Civil War and Southern prisons, who is confronted not only with the complacency of civilian life but also by his own emotional catastrophes. Embittered by the war's horrors, burning with anger at the cruelties of prison camps and the injustices meted out by the enemy, he is looking only for the security of Martha's love and the peace of remembered things. But Martha has married his brother, Robert, and Robert, in turn, rapidly successful on war profits, has turned the little town of Highland Landing (Newburgh), New York, into a bustling, growing community. Sam cannot kill his passion for Martha, determines to leave for the West with his younger brother even though Robert holds the purse-strings. David's death accentuates Sam's unbalance to the point of planning to kill Robert but sanity returns in time and Sam is the means of saving Robert's life. A first person telling gives vitality to the memories of the prison at Andersonville, the battle scenes, and the whole offers an interesting parallel to the current problem of veterans' return. Taut narration and dramatic values here. Winner of a Farrar, Straus Fellowship Award, this has already been bought by the moving pictures.

Pub Date: April 25th, 1950
Publisher: Farrar, Straus