TRIAL BY TERROR by Paul Gallico


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It is happening too often. American citizens, newspaper men, staff members of our diplomatic force, fliers, business men have-usually through some carelessness, bravado or over-zealousness- fallen into the Communist trap, and been rescued, if at all, at the cost of heartbreak, loss of prestige, use of methods foreign to our nature, and American dollars. And every time the price seems too high- in the face of the lowering of our standard, a victory actually for the other side. And here, from the front page- into fiction, are the methods used to break a man- the destruction of will and intelligence and personality. The victim of the Hungarian communists in this story is a brash young American newspaperman, assigned to a Paris edition of an American paper. Emotionally upset over what he considers callousness in his editor in the case of an enforced confession of an American, the threat of the Hungarians that the next ""spy trial"" will end in a death sentence, Jimmy uses the assignment to Vienna to get into Hungary where he is immediately seized and imprisoned as a spy. The story is told in counterpoint; Paris, the newspaper office, the determined exploration of every channel of release; Budapest, the prison, and the vicious ingenuity of the new kind of mental torture leading to the mindless man on trial. The end is predictable- but Gallico's use of suspense, derived from emotional tension, pins the reader to the page.

Pub Date: April 21st, 1952
Publisher: Knopf