Books: If it die

FLIGHT TO ARRAS—Antoine de Saint-Exupery*—Reynal & Hitchcock ($2.75).

Flight to Arras is the most important book yet written about this war. Like all Saint-Exupéry's books, it is a description of a flight-a pilot's reflections borne upon the arc of a few hours' intense action. But this particular flight, in which Saint-Exupéry faced death, he transmutes into a magic text, at times almost Biblical, of why men fight, and how they feel in the presence of death.

On an afternoon in late May 1940, when the French collapse "was so entire that death itself seemed to us absurd," Pilot Saint-Exupéry, his observer Dutertre...