CROSS OF IRON is the thrilling story of a German platoon cut off far behind Russian lines in the second half of World War II. A resourceful and cynical commander somehow manages to coax his men through the bitter hand-to-hand fighting in forests, trenches and city streets until eventually they regain the German lines. But safety is only temporary. After the tension of waiting for the last overwhelming Russian advance the platoon is forced into futile counter-attacks and murderous house-to-house fighting until its final decimation becomes inevitable. A modern classic of war fiction both as a book and a film, this is a strikingly realistic story of action on the Eastern Front, where the grimness of combat seems to have neither pity nor end.
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(197mm x 129mm x 33mm)
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
The ruthless and mysterious Corporal Steiner's platoon is lost behind Russian lines, unable to rejoin the German army after the fall of Stalingrad. Steiner, a strangely-demoted high achiever, cajoles his exhausted, lice-ridden, ramshackle group of men as they struggle bitterly through the Caucasian forests. When they finally reach their own lines, the in-fighting is as corrosive as the Russian wave of assaults. In contrast to Heller's Catch 22, Heinrich's war classic, first published as The Willing Flesh (Das Geduldige Fleisch) in 1956, is an unfolding tragedy rather than an absurd comedy. Here individuals on the losing side descend from honour into savage amorality and crushing rivalry. The sharply-defined, disparate characters are united only by a sense of personal and national doom. A relentlessly dark achievement, this edition brings a new audience to a gripping war narrative previously more familiar in its 1976 Peckinpah movie-version. (Kirkus UK)
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