THE STOCKADE by Kenneth Lamott


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This is a story of a backwash of war in the Pacific, of cruelty, ""man's inhumanity to man"", and the moral squeamishness and courage in the face of it. When Lieutenant Rossi arrives to take over the running of an Okinawan refugee camp during the Pacific push, he clamps down alike on any wayward activities of his own men and the native inhabitants of ""the enclosure"". An incident occurs in which his own men suffer from a trick played by old Kaneshiro and his grandson. Rossi, contemptuous of ""the gooks"" and firmly set on discipline, places Kaneshiro, an Okinawan leader who had barely escaped with his life from a banzal charge of the Japanese, in the special enclosure assigned to the insane. While a young lieutenant, Witherspoon, separating the Japanese prisoners from the refugees, treats them with some degree of decency, Rossi's victim Kaneshiro, is killed by his crazed companions. Rossi makes a hideous example of his corpse, to warn the refugees, then irritated by their mourning wails --goes out to disperse them and is in his turn killed by the inflamed mob. A grim story told so quietly that it seems understressed. While the characters are effectively individualized, we recognize basic types in the brutish sergant, the cruel commander, the defiant young officer, the morally weary doctor. The trial of men's souls emerges as a dominant note. Well done -- in such a low key as to elicit a negative emotional response.

Pub Date: May 28th, 1952
Publisher: Little, Brown