LOOK DOWN IN MERCY by Walter Baxter


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A closeup of the war, and of a moral battle casualty, which although blunt -- to brutal -- in its transcript, communicates compassion in its final judgment on Tony Kent, officer and Company commander in the far East. From Sialpur, to Burma, to Malaya, this follows Tony as he acknowledges not only his cowardice in action but the fear of exposure in the eyes of his men which at one time prompts his rescue of a soldier he dislikes. Having quite forgotten his wife at home, Tony has a brief to meaningless affair with a Eurasian nurse. But at a time of particular stress, and exhaustion, he gives in to his latent homosexuality, and after the night spent with his batman, Anson, he is no longer able to meet the day with self-respect. His shame increased when after a Japanese attack, he and Anson are captured, and with the threat of torture- he betrays his troops. It is Anson who makes their escape possible, and once back with his battallion, the relationship with Anson re-asserted, Tony kills -- in self protection, lies his way clear -- even to Anson. And once having reached safety in India, Tony attempts to kill himself, but returns happily to life -- a life with Anson....A knowing record of battle action, and an understanding portrayal of deviation and deterioration.

Publisher: Putnam