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The CBS news commentator writes of the past war in terms of US brass to bullets as Operation Uppercut, which was to penetrate German territory after the Normandy invasion, was carried through. November 1944 -- and less than a week of an offensive doomed to failure before its start, from the disbelief of the top ranking, to the impossibility of success because of the exhaustion of the men, the lack of replacements and supplies, the knowledge that whatever the outcome the cost in human life will be too high. Here are the main and lesser characters, to whom the orders and events have a personal rather than an impersonal importance, from the riflemen and platoon sergeants and leaders, to the company and division commander to G 2, the war correspondents and others. It is in the love between Lt. Keith and WAC Clare Drake, in the vicious selfishness of widely known correspondent Werel, in the invincible armor of Gen. Mallon and the total Joyceian recall of the whole cast's inner and outer responses to the human relations and the mounting tension of actual engagement that the drama of military and individual catharsis is played out as the unit moves on -- and is destroyed. Not an emotional story but one which proves in cold, harsh, brutal and grim terms its title ""War is a strange land....and only Death is recognition, speaking as he does sometimes from every hill....

Pub Date: Feb. 6th, 1950
Publisher: Scribner