Books: Things Hitler Never Knew

FORWARD, GUNNER ASCH! (368 pp.)-Hans Hellmut Kirs-Little, Brown ($3.95).

In Germany, it has seldom occurred to novelists that life in uniform is a laughing matter. But in 1954 a Prussian-born veteran of the Wehrmacht named Hans Hellmut Kirst wrote a book called Null-Acht-Fiinfzehn-the model number (0-8-15) of the Wehrmacht service pistol-which in Germany is a term roughly equivalent to G.I. The book snickered behind the officers' ramrod backs, put in a plea for the dignity of the individual in uniform, and demonstrated hilariously how a canny conscript like Gunner Asch could win at the old army game simply by hiding behind regulations....

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