THE SIXTH OF JUNE by Lionel Shapiro
Kirkus Star

THE SIXTH OF JUNE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a love story told against a war background -- and exceptionally well done on both scores. The situation is one that must have confronted countless men and women during the years of war, when the emotional values of home took on unreality and remoteness, and the immediacy of new experiences took precedence. The pattern is as old as humanity, but Lionel Shapiro has told the story with poignant comprehension of the agony of divided loyalties, the sharpness of the realization of betrayal, the reasoned acceptance of ultimate acknowledgement of fundamental claims. Brad Parker, heir apparent to the newspaper empire of his father-in-law, has been transferred to a staff job in the European theatre, from what threatened to become an instructor's job in the states where he had trained for parachute troops. Jane, his wife, sensed his relief, his eagerness to escape -- and when later he fell in love with an English girl, she knew something had happened to their relationship. But the immediate story is that of Brad's and Valerie's love, complicated by their deeply rooted loyalties to older claims- Jane, whom Brad sincerely loved; John Wynter, Commando, in Valerie's case, once her army father's aide, always her worshipful, inarticulate suitor. Brad's values were confused; he dared not face his passive acceptance of safe staff jobs -- in London, in North Africa, back again in London- as anything but taking what came his way, until a Congressional junket brought his home town congressman to his base, and he learned that political wires had been pulled- political obligations lay ahead. Actually, however, it took the challenge of John Wynter's war record, his return, invalided home after being reported ""Missing"", to make Brad take the step to a request for active duty in a hazardous post- assignment to the company destined to take on the suicidal task of destroying the German observation post that threatened the beaches where the Normandy invasion would take place. That Wynter was reassigned to command that operation brought Brad-and behind the front Valerie- face to face with the need of decision. The war had done this to them- but both men survived- and the final choice was their own. The emotional values throughout are compassionately handled, without undue sentiment. The characters emerge as real people. The war background is superb reporting. Here is a book, written from the perspective of almost a decade, which has the immediacy of Eric Knight's memorable This Above All.

Pub Date: Aug. 4th, 1955
Publisher: Doubleday