RETREAT, HELL! by William Martin Camp
Kirkus Star


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A superb book -- and the first large scale personal story of front written by a fighting man rather than a correspondent. The story happens to start with the withdrawal of our Marines from Shanghali, of their reaching Manila just as it comes under Japanese attack, of Bataan and Corregidor. But there is a fundamental base to the story which might fit anywhere, Burma, the Solomons, Africa, Italy. ""This is the army;"" This is the soldier in the ranks, shoulder to shoulder with his buddies, following orders. Utterly ignorant of the tide of battle, of the war at large, of anything beyond his immediate view, engulfed in rumors, facing the unknown, wondering, questioning, buoyant with hope, sunk in despair, but -- following orders. Fighting, resting, hungry, hurt, tenderly cared for -- following orders: -- wise orders, orders that must be hard, relentless, even cruel to the soldier, but humane to the man. Retreat, Hell! is written with consummate skill. Dramatic, with swift climactic action brilliantly depicted, largely by dialogue. Tender-skinned will find some of the sordid bits hard to take -- but they are an integral part of the whole, crude, brutal as they are.

Pub Date: Nov. 9th, 1943
Publisher: Appleton-Century