In this hefty tome, Irwin Shaw follows the lives of three young men serving as soldiers during World War II. Christian Diestl, is a member of the German army; Michael Whiteacre, an American producer; and Noah Ackerman, a Jewish-American.
Each character embarks on his soldierly experience with high ideals and love of country. What they find is the muddied waters of real-life experience: the saints and sinners on both sides, and the horrors of war.
I enjoyed this novel, but there was something about Shaw’s writing that seemed lacking. In my opinion, it was 99% dialog and I very much missed a form of prose that included rich descriptions of the surroundings. Shaw’s stories were interesting and he definitely had a point to make. The author himself was once one of those World War II soldiers, and The Young Lions is the gift of that experience.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 1948
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