FACE OF A HERO by Louis Falstein
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A B-24 Liberator crew of ten men find themselves stationed at Mandia, Italy -- south of Eboli where Christ is said to have stopped. Their task is to complete 50 bombing missions--then back to the States for a bond-selling tour and then on to the Pacific. What happened between their first, paralyzingly- fear-filled mission and their last--which only three of the ten made, is the story of this lucid, intense and wholly engrossing autobiographical novel by the outfit's Jewish tail gunner. This beautifully written book presents a full-spectrum view of air war--the terrors of loneliness, doubt, ever-present forebodings of doom. These men are no psychopathic ravers--they are just ""ordinary guys"", though a number of them crack up before the finish--some from fear and nerves--others because they aren't sure just what it is that they--the best equipped army in the world--are fighting for--or even against. And there are the civilians--poor, Italian peasants who watch sadly and helplessly this latest army of conquerors invade their land and corrupt their women. There are, too, the refugees--the flotsam and jetsam of modern wars--Yugoslavs, Jews--be-wildered, haunted and very real. ""War,"" concludes the author, "" is not the normal pursuit of man. It is the most degrading, unnatural and abnormal pursuit ever foisted upon man."" One of the best of the war novels, this still faces a reluctant reading public.

Pub Date: Aug. 17th, 1950
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace