Books: War Fiction

Of all the horrors Hitler made, it is possible that the war on the Eastern front was the worst. It is a proper paradox that the worst has inspired the best in postwar German fiction. Two recent samples:

THE TORTURED EARTH, by Gert Ledig (219 pp.; Henry Regnery; $3.75), is a fearful book about men whose substance has become nothing but flesh and fear. A German battalion is before Leningrad, and this is its obituary. The major in command, learning that his wife and child have been killed back in Germany, orders a senseless attack. Revenge, he hopes, will help his private...

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