PRIVATE by Lester Atwell


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This, which the publishers call neither a novel nor a diary but with qualities of both, is a day-to-day recording of the life of infantry soldiers, of the privates -- those without responsibilities. It follows one company from the Battle of the Bulge (a phrase they learned later) to V-E day, through the Saar Valley, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Siegfried Line and across the . Atwell's is a record in minutiae, centering around the aid stations which followed the front combat lines; the cowardice, the thieving, cringing fear, the sought-for ""million dollar wounds"" which would, for the individual, end the war, the men who shot themselves, the deserters, the phoney officers, the sham awards, the callous murder of prisoners, the heroism demanded of those who survived, the subsequent lethargy of the occupation. The final chapter is a reunion in the States of the remaining ""C"" Company in which they attempt to recall the circumstances of the war, and which, they realize, have no meaning apart from it. ""Each man fought his own battle."" A grim recounting, which, in its incessant structure of horrors, with each succeeding ghastly apex, response in diminishing returns.

Pub Date: April 25th, 1958
Publisher: Simon & Schuster