The Theater: New Play on Broadway, Jan. 11, 1960

The Andersonville Trial (by Saul Levitt) took place before a U.S. military court in August 1865. The defendant, Henry Wirz (Herbert Berghof), had been superintendent of the notorious Andersonville, Ga. prison, where some 40,000 Union soldiers lived in unutterable filth and want, and where 14,000 of them died.

The first half of the play, based on the actual trial, consists of witnesses' accounts of the unspeakable conditions and unthinkable treatment. But in the pile-up of testimony, it emerges that Wirz was rather the brutal agent than the inhuman author of what went on. He was merely carrying out orders from above.

A conscience-pricked...

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