Long the Imperial Way, by Hanama Tasaki, and Beyond Defeat, by Hans Werner Richter
To say that these two books are weak novels, though true, is no illumination. To compare them, as their publishers in each case do, to All Quiet on the Western Front, does them more accurate violence by pointing to the area in which they should make their impact. For what such books could do for us at their best (once given that assent of pleasure which is our response to art) is break down the opaque category of “enemy” and let us see the people who, with varying degrees of pertinence, comprise the category. The soldier committed to war avoids this knowledge in order that he may function; but the civilian who abhors war needs the face above the uniform to bolster his position.
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