Beach  by Peter Bowman


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This is the best piece of American verse that the war has so far produced. More than that -- it is intrinsically good, -- moving, hard, brilliant and sincere. It is a narrative poem dealing with sixty minutes in the life -- and death -- of a young soldier, from the moment of disembarking on a South Pacific island, through his assignment with three of his fellow-soldiers to reconnoitering duty in the jungle, to his death at the end of an hour of tense service. The descriptions of comradeship, of combat, equal in strength and intensity any of the best prose accounts of the war. Beyond that, they have a terse, epigrammatic brilliance and an underlying stream of philosophy and tender, yet masculine religious note, never sentimental, but the expression of courageous men during terrific stress and tension, which combine to make this work almost unbearably moving. The choice of verse form, a sort of tense, dry, hard blank verse, with a swell of underlying music, is particularly fortunate. The book should appeal to a wide audience, unless it is too painfully pertinent to the experience of thousands of American families. The author -- after a brief career in the engineer corps, is now in the air corps and is on the staff of Air Force, their official publication. He has a future -- and a present.

Publisher: Random House