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When Ralph Ingersoll is a reporter, he is still a super-reporter. That goes for his vivid recapturing of the ""Omaha beachhead"" -- the fringes of the Bastogne sector -- various scenes in headquarters- on front lines- and in between, settings against which his story is played out.....When Ralph Ingersoll is a novelist, he is still an amateur, depending on shock techniques for effects, and moving his characters around like marionettes, with himself off stage as manipulator (and narrator). This is so in spite of the fact that his story this time is a psychological exploration of the forces that operate in man and woman in search of love. The wartime atmosphere speeds up and intensifies the tempo and the violence of passion, but is in recognizably on a surface level, though the intellectual rehash of pros and cone attempts to dig below. Rowell Reardon is exceptional in his energy and intelligence, Mr. Ingersoll tells us (and some of his exploits bear this out). But he also has an irresistible attraction for the ladies, and we follow his adventures in and out of various beds, while bombs fall and nations die. Chief among his feminine conquests is Olivia, defined as ""damn good in bed"" -- but Olivia suddenly decides on marriage as her goal, and eventually wrecks her chances by cheating on him in the minor matter of pregnancy. She tries to stage a comeback, and achieves only Isabel's sudden awakening to the fact that Rowell is her man (despite her husband Johnny's fidelity). And the whole battle of the sexes reaches a climax near B, where Isabel and Rowell find the full ecstasy they both had sought. A book that would never have passed the Watch and Ward Society in its heyday; and that should be considered poison by most public libraries with any problems of censorship. And it is not good enough on any count to strain to take the hurdle.

Pub Date: March 19th, 1951
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Young