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E. J. Kahn's latest collection of New Yorker press-pieces embrace a 1961 Far East coverage of the headline-making return of the Zanryusha, Japanese who'd been huddling incommunicado in clusters of twos and threes, haphazardly scattered about the South Pacific islands, unaware that the War had ended 15 long years ago or unwilling to greet the ""new masters"" or the new age. The adventures of these stragglers (some remained soldierly, some fought the bush natives, some became completely demoralized and resorted to cannibalism); the legends they have aroused (inhabitants of Lubang in the Philippines insist men in WW II uniforms periodically invade and rob villages); and the fates they met back home (Ito and Minagawa of Guam, for instance, inspired an epic out of Tokyo film-makers, got married and never saw each other again), are all treated with sharp, sassy accuracy. There is an off-hand sophistication, expert colloquial detail and the telling understatement- in short, everything one would expect from either Kahn or his glossy distributor. Most should enjoy it; a dissident few, however, may find it curiously flat, unrefreshingly blase.

Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1962
Publisher: Random House