WAR MEMORIAL by Martin Russ


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A dull normal Indian named Joe Shasta bums his way in 1950 to Modoc City, Oregon for the sole purpose of sitting down and reminiscing with Barney Metraw, who had impressed him as the perfect Marine officer when they were in the Tarawa campaign. Shasta finds his hero running a sewing machine business, a door to door clip artist who barely remembers the brave old days and doesn't in the least want to talk about them. Metraw dragoons Shasta into selling for him and their war experiences get interspersed in flashbacks. Shasta finds his frontline ineffectuality as a Marine to be less dangerous than salesmanship and re-enlists in time for the Korean War. The story is not as simple nor as simple minded as the plot digest makes it sound. The contrast of Shasta's peaceful approach to war and Metraw's explosive business life is crafted satire. There are shades and grades of black comedy and the critics are overdue in supplying reviewers with a swatch book. War Memorial is one of the lighter, lightweight grays. It's a very short book and a talented author builds to moments of lunatic laughter that men will enjoy.

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 1966
Publisher: Atheneum