THE LONELY CONQUEROR by Willi Heinrich

THE LONELY CONQUEROR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Herr Heinrich's latest novel is above all a very ambitious one. The author of Cross of Iron takes a security-oriented German girl, medical student Claire Heggelbacher, has her meet and fall in love with John Baako, an American Negro soldier stationed in Germany. Against all odds -- the United States army, Claire's deeply rooted racial feelings, some local political string pulling, etc. -- they travel together to Rhodesia from whence John hailed originally. In Africa, he goes AWOL and she chooses a Schweitzer role. We are left knowing that as soon as John serves his time, the couple can set up a clinic and all will be well. Thematically, Heinrich's work is as extensive as his geography. There's minority paranoia, bourgeoisie Germany, Africa emerging replete with Ruarkian forensics, and Dixie discussed. Alas, the author leaves Germany and its people all too early in the novel. The wonders he works in the Western zone with character delineation are virtually unequalled. But his central character, John Baako, was stereotypical ten years ago. The proud, testy Negro is old stuff to the American audience. An uneven and disappointing work.

Pub Date: July 20th, 1962
Publisher: Dial