THE WAR LOVER (404 pp.)John MerseyKnopf ($5).
Is war the product of a "death drive"? Is civilization at the mercy of a nameless army of self-annihilators, men who kill with an almost sexual relish because they are secretly in love with death? In The War Lover (an October Book-of-the-Month Club choice), Novelist John Hersey (The Wall, A Single Pebble) has apparently sworn by the beard of Freud to bed Mars on the analyst's couch.
The resulting thesis novel is Author
Hersey's least satisfying piece of fiction. Rigged to the intellectual fashions of the day and...