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Nobody Comes Back: A Novel of the Battle of the Bulge Hardcover – December 9, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books; First Edition edition (December 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765310848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765310842
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,723,227 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Author Donn Pearce has created a modern classic, a bookend for The Red Badge of Courage."---Walter J. Boyne, New York Times bestselling author of Operation Iraqi Freedom on Nobody Comes Back

"Excellent . . . Powerful . . . I've never read a book that captured the confusion and misery of war in such personal terms. Nobody Comes Back is an instant classic. "---Larry Bond

"The best novel ever written about the Battle of the Bulge. With Nobody Comes Back, Pearce does for the Bulge what he did for chain gangs in Cool Hand Luke and what Stephen Crane did for the Civil War in The Red Badge of Courage."---David Hagberg on Nobody Comes Back

"Remarkable . . . I was up until four in the morning reading it."---General Fred Franks, coauthor with Tom Clancy of #1 New York Times bestselling Into the Storm: A Study in Command on Nobody Comes Back

"This is as good as combat writing gets. Think the hero of Red Badge of Courage in the Battle of the Bulge. It's unputdownable."---Thomas Fleming on Nobody Comes Back

"Nobody Comes Back is a timeless tale of a young infantryman fighting for his life--and his humanity. Will join the classics..."---Stephen Coonts


"Author Donn Pearce has created a modern classic, a bookend for The Red Badge of Courage."



(Walter J. Boyne New York Times bestselling author of Operation Iraqi Freedom)

"Excellent . . . Powerful . . . I've never read a book that captured the confusion and misery of war in such personal terms. Nobody Comes Back is an instant classic. " (Larry Bond)

"This is as good as combat writing gets. Think the hero of Red Badge of Courage in the Battle of the Bulge. It's unputdownable." (Thomas Fleming)

"Nobody Comes Back is a timeless tale of a young infantryman fighting for his life--and his humanity. Will join the classics..." (Stephen Coonts)

"The best novel ever written about the Battle of the Bulge. With Nobody Comes Back, Pearce does for the Bulge what he did for chain gangs in Cool Hand Luke and what Stephen Crane did for the Civil War in The Red Badge of Courage."

(David Hagberg)

"Remarkable . . . I was up until four in the morning reading it." (General Fred Franks Coauthor with Tom Clancy of #1 New York Times bestselling Into the Storm)

About the Author

DONN PEARCE is the author and screenwriter of the classic Cool Hand Luke and Dying in the Sun.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

He had done his homework.
G, Raymond Archer
In this story a young man is baptized in a battle so intense, that combat fatigue is shown within 5 days.
John Bowes
The writing is tight and well paced.
Jim Shepherd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Fernando Melendez on January 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Despite the subtitle of this book (A Novel of the Battle of the Bulge) this narration transcends any specific battle or any specific war and focuses on the internal skirmishes of its young protagonist. Donn Pearce (who also wrote Cool Hand Luke) is a miniaturist, a seeker of the internal truth, the discoverer of some of the psychological gears, knobs, or buttons that propel an individual to behave in extraordinary, or peculiar, or mad, or incandescent ways. NOBODY COMES BACK is the story of Toby Parker, a boy of sixteen who has never known normalcy. As a kid his high IQ soon made him aware of the marginality of the family he had been born into. They functioned at the edges of society, teetering between sanity and madness, between poverty and indigence; they were people who lacked the buffers that might have protected them against, or even allowed them to postpone for a few days, the inevitable consequences of their own follies. A master at avoidance, Toby came to the Army with his own agenda and keenly developed skills at navigating through turbulence and danger.

Pearce knits together the two stories about Toby Parker (pre-war and wartime) by the device of letting the exhausted soldier regress in dreams and memories to his previous life. This creates a contrast and a counterpoint to the grotesque brutality of the war itself. He takes the inadequate training he has been given to fight a war in stride, for his background has prepared him to understand (and therefore stand up to) not only the crazy ways of the US Army but the similarly deranged behavior of the Germans.

This book will bring great pleasure to the slow reader able to savor the intricate details set forth by the author about how a human being can hold up despite unbearable internal and external abuse. Probably a classic.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jim Shepherd on June 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The tempo clips along from the first to the last page. This book is hard to put down, and a treat to pick up again.

The writing is tight and well paced. The crisp economy of the writing reminds me of Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea". Donn Pearce is very good at his craft.

Those with a military interest will not be disappointed with the accuracy of the detail. The details are not overdone but sufficient to maintain the authenticity of the tale and keep the reader firmly in the moment.

An excellent read and very well written. I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the genre, and those who simply appreciate a story well told.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By S. E. Kennedy on May 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is the story of Toby Parker - born to a family that could have easily been the stars of a 1930s Jerry Springer Show. They leave much to be desired, not the least of which seems to be any actual interest in their son. Oddly, it was probably this reality that groomed Toby for the horrors he was to face during the Battle of the Buldge. As with many stories of the war, Toby was dropped off rather ill-trained and quite unprepared into an area soon to be over-run by the German army. One of the few survivors he becomes a "straggler" occassionally alone, periodically with others, who resort to basic human survival instincts in an attempt to return to the safety of the American forces. What I believe I found most horrifying were the images of dehuminization. Toby himself struggles to maintain his humanity, "reminded" - perhaps - of it through his dreams of home.

My only struggle with this book is the author's obvious knowledge of WWII weapons, ammunition and machinery. I found it long at times as he described the military hardware in great detail and seemed to become side-tracked from the strength of his writing which is the human drama amongst the bullets and bombs.

It is a good read and I did enjoy it. For another option try Articles of War. For a look at the fighting man's perspective from WWI, I recommend Birdsong and for the same perspective nearly 900 years earlier try Housecarl. All of these will provide you with a fictional yet factual drama of the front line warriors through the ages and their struggles for sanity and survival.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Grant Waara VINE VOICE on April 26, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Like his classic debut, "Cool Hand Luke," Donn Pearce bases this harrowing narrative on his own experience. In this novel, we follow Toby Parker, a 16 year-old who lied about his age to get into the Army and his experiences during the last great German attack in the west in December 1944. Newsweek hailed the book's realism and said that it's action sequences resembled those of "Saving Private Ryan."

I don't like comparing two different stories (especially when they're from two different mediums), but I will say this; after a lengthy absence it's nice to see the return of an old master storyteller. Pearce's book rumbles along like a Sherman tank on a mission. He blows readers away with taut characterization, and a smooth flowing prose. The battle scenes are some of the best I have read and at a length of barely over 250 pages, I think Pearce manages to say more in this spare little book than Norman Mailer did in the 600 plus pages of the vastly overrated "Naked and the Dead."

I think time will place this book near the top of great American novels about World War II.

The only complaint I can think of and this has nothing to do with the novel itself, but it's with the publisher, Forge. The book's cover shows a "soldier" dashing through a wasted landscape. What's particularly aggravating here is that the "soldier" was in fact, PFC Isen of the 5th Marine Regiment while he was on Okinawa. Given the endless archives of photographs taken of American troops in the Bulge, how could somebody make so stupid a mistake? Heck, I'll take that person's job and do it right. So hopefully in future printings, perhaps Forge will change the photo and put the picture of a dogface in the Ardennes on the cover.

Still, a great book. 5 stars.
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