THE SIDE OF THE ANGELS by Robert McLaughlin
Kirkus Star


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A first novel (the collection A Short Wait Between Trains was short stories) by an articulate, liberal humanitarian, which is not dependent on contrived plot or shock technique for its effectiveness. It does attain its impressive impact through the development of character, the interplay of personalities, the conflict of ideas. In the story of Tom Egan and his older brother Clark there is the contrast of the idealist, lover of mankind, and the spurious, often shoddy, egotist, as they both fight- each in his own way- in the war, in their concepts of the world-to-be after the war. Clark is the officer, using his brain, being the smart cookie in OSS; Tom, the private, under fire in Chemical Warfare, tries to see what intelligence there is in the immensity of war, hoping for the permanence of his love for Jewish Rodia. Tom goes overseas by transport, (Clark by plane) battles through Salerno while Clark lives effortless in Bari; the differences between them grow and Clark reverts more and more to reactionary thinking. Clark's escape from death in a German bombing completes the moulding of his self-deception, and Tom's return home, wounded, with Rodia ready to marry him, divides them forever. The opposition of absolutes is played out in New York, then against the background of a proposed invasion of Yugoslavia, before the political moves of officers and policy, in front of men of all kinds, their problems and their philosophies. Wide in its scope, but penetrating in its detail, this is marked by its warm compassion and its sensitive feeling for shades of thinking and expression. In a surplus of war books, this, through its inescapable humanity, has a strong appeal.

Pub Date: May 26th, 1947
ISBN: 1104849259
Publisher: Knopf