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Those Who Fall is an elegantly written memoir of fear, determination, friendship, courage, and the will to live. At its best, it's pure poetry.
Alas, I have to admit it: I'm not a big fan of Robertson Dean, and it's tragic that he's the narrator of so many fine books, all of which he fails to elevate or to deliver on in the manner which they deserve. Here, while he does a good job of dialogue (even tho' he's no master of accents), the narrative itself is delivered without much cadence, nearing a monotone most of the time.
Which is tragic because John Muirhead writes of the beauty of a child's voice, the desperation of a widow's loneliness, the unwillingness to get attached to the fate of the man beside you because that would make their ultimate and oh so likely death unbearable. He writes of the fear to run that next mission, the one that could be your last. He recounts riveting action of bombing runs on oil facilities, of airbursts of fire and shrapnel. He tells of trying to take care of the utterly shell shocked, of trying to find food and life within the confines of POW camps.
He writes of the misery of torture.
Those Who Fall has it all, and while Dean is less than sublime, he still can't turn this into a just-okay book.
It's brilliant! Not since Guy Sajer's The Forgotten Soldier have I truly felt war, boredom, horror, hope, so much.
By the way. It does seem to end too soon, but that's only because you'll want to know more of Muirhead's story. You will indeed care that much...
5 of 7 people found this review helpful
The story ended with the Russians at some distance from the camp - no idea what happened next. I'm sure their arrival and the prisoners trip after could have been interesting. No luck.
Seemed odd to stop there.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful
A beautifully written story. A very honest and authentic account of dealing with the incomprehensible reality of being in the midst of war and frequently facing death.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful