Stewart D. Blair takes a different perspective on the subject of war in his excellent novel WINTER AT MONTE CASSINO. Though the story is superbly paced and the characters and action grow solidly out of the literary terrain from which Blair plants them, there is simply something about reading on the eBook format - Kindle or otherwise - that distracts from the impact of this book. Perhaps it is the reader's need to hold some semblance of the 'then' of the story time - a book that offers feeling and something on which to grip when emotions tense that the ethernet just can't match. But that is opinion and this is a book review.
The story is unique in that it unfolds the tale of an educated, historically savvy female photographer, one Patricia Hampton, who is brought to the European front during World War II by her Godfather - General Mark Clark - to substantiate his claims of procedural drama as he marches his troops to liberate Rome: the Allied invasion of the southern aspect of Italy in 1943 is the stuff of many novels. Hampton slowly discovers that Clark's focus is on the more important Allied invasion of France, his egomania drives him to be at the spearhead of defeating Hitler in France. In the path of this plan lies the Abbey called Monte Cassino and Clark is determined to destroy the 'German infested barricade' by bombs. Hampton's own knowledge of history and her sensitivity presents her conundrum of attempting Clark to spare the Abbey as it is inhabited not by Germans but by endangered citizens and people of the cloth. The tension between supporting her 'heroic godfather' of her childhood or opposing the egomaniacal military giant Clark has become provides the crux of the story and the resulting emphasis is less on the deeds of war than on the courage of humanism saving the civilians in the Abbey represents.
How this works through is the fine writing of Blair: he presents the impossible solution and then allows the reader to participate in the culpability of all of the deeds of war by our identification with Patricia Hampton. This is a fine novel about the manifestations of the mark of war on the human spirit. It makes us think, it allows us to identify, and it offers enough solutions to make this book remain with us long after finishing it. Grady Harp, April 12
Winter at Monte Cassino (英语) 平装
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