A war novel with a setting as grim as the 1941 siege of Moscow can hardly fail to be impressive and its hero, as was the author, is a Polish Jew in the Soviet Army. Menahem Issakovitch is devoted to his adoptive country and doubly anxious to stop the Nazis. He is a brave soldier whose main concern is to fight in the front lines. But he is promoted to lieutenant, made to serve as an interpreter, and soon becomes the victim of the deep-seated Russian anti-Semitism, particularly in its official forms. When a captured German refuses to be interrogated by a Jew, Menahem's burst of anger and ""dangerously foreign mentality"" lead to a court martial and a sentence to forced labor in the Ural coal mines... Mr. Mann, who now lives in Israel, has written his story with terse sympathy and a controlled anger. His descriptions of hunger, cold, fear, hate and particularly the bleak country itself may not be original but they are intensely felt. In translation, for a limited readership.