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Peace [Kindle Edition]

Richard Bausch
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Italy, near Cassino, in the terrible winter of 1944. An icy rain, continuing unabated for days. Guided by a seventy-year-old Italian man in rope-soled shoes, three American soldiers are sent on a reconnaissance mission up the side of a steep hill that they discover, before very long, to be a mountain. As they climb, the old man's indeterminate loyalties only add to the terror and confusion that engulf them. Peace is a feat of storytelling from one of America's most acclaimed novelists: a powerful look at the corrosiveness of violence, the human cost of war, and the redemptive power of mercy.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Michael Kramer brings life to the three young American soldiers, trudging their way up a mountain near Cassino, Italy in the winter of 1944, in Bausch's acclaimed novel. The reading is at a laidback pace, which works well when combined with Bausch's slightly terse and straightforward writing. With only slight shifts in tone for each character, Kramer relies on the honesty of his voice and his ability to capture the essence of every human emotion. When the characters are exhausted, downbeat and depressed, the listener can feel it; when they argue amongst themselves, the audience will feel like entering the fray. Kramer brings the listener along for the journey and a memorable one it is. A Knopf hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 25). (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* How to fictionalize war? A novelist can take a panoramic perspective and write about generals and battles or focus on a single participant’s fear and courage. Bausch, a consummate and versatile short story writer and novelist, tells one soldier’s story in a war novel distilled to its chilling essence. The earth itself is an adversary as Corporal Robert Marson takes two men on a miserable recon mission in Italy at the bitter end of Word War II. The nervous Americans draft an old man they’re not sure they can trust as their guide. The rain is piercing, the hill they climb turns out to be a mountain, and it begins to snow. Someone is hunting them, shots ring out from the village below in ominously measured bursts, and it feels like the end of the world. Their awful travail is made worse by bigot Joyner’s needling of Asch, a Jew. Marson thinks of his sunny past and the baby daughter he’s never seen and tries to hold on to a sense of right and wrong. Bausch’s tale of one act in the immense blood-dark theater of military conflict is razor-sharp, sorrowfully poetic, and steeped in the wretched absurdity of war, the dream of peace. --Donna Seaman

Product Details

  • File Size: 196 KB
  • Print Length: 194 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307388581
  • Publisher: Vintage (April 15, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0017L8N64
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,758 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars no words are wasted April 28, 2008
PEACE, the title of Bausch's new novel will throw many readers. This is a war story where the tension builds inexorably and there are rarely any moments that feel peaceful. Readers have to earn this peace.

Most of the story takes place on a cold winter night in 1944 in Italy as the German army retreats with the US Army hot on their tails. Three Americans are sent up a hill to see if they can spot the Germans and report back on their movements. The main character, Corporal Marson has Joyner and Asch serving under him. They have a guide, an elderly Italian man who they found driving a cart in the area,

As they climb the hill the weather turns from bad to worse as night falls and they determine that this hill is actually much bigger than they knew. It is a mountain and as they bivouac on the side of it in a blizzard they begin to fear the worst.

This pithy novel is written with utter economy. We feel the fear and the pain of our 3 soldiers as they stalk their invisible enemies. I won't give any more away except that when you reach the conclusion you will find peace, but only for a moment.

Simply magnificent writing here.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not an Anti-War Novel- Short, but a Gem May 23, 2008
By Belatn
Beg to differ with previous reviewer, but this is not an anti-anything work. It's a story of conscience and the dignity of man in inhuman circumstances. Highly recommended.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Man's (In)Humanity to Man June 13, 2008
Richard Bausch's taut novel tells us what happens when civilian soldiers go to war. It's a powerfully atmospheric story about three American soldiers sent up a mountain in Italy near Cassino during the brutal winter of 1944. Their mission: see what the Germans are doing on the other side. Their mental state: conflicted by the shooting of a German woman they witnessed just before they left. Was it murder? An act of war? Should they report it when they return or simply fold it into their psyches? They struggle with the moral dilemma while they slog their way up the cold, miserable mountain.

Bausch's ability to bring the reader fully into his story is well-demonstrated in this book. The tension builds page by page until the wholly satisfying climax, the niggling arguments among the men are just repetitive and just disconcerting enough to make the reader angry, and the perfectly-mounted descriptions of the cold, hard rain, the wet, view-obliterating snow make you wish (just like the soldiers) that you were somewhere else.

Ambiguity is a beautiful thing in Bausch's hands. The squad's guide, Angelo, could be a simple peasant or a German spy--or something else entirely. The protagonist, Corporal Marson, could be a baseball-playing All-American hero or a morally-bereft corporal looking for the easy way out. How these and the other sources of tension in the book are resolved propels the reader through to the end.

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds: A Novel of Scandal, Love and Death in the Congo
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Story May 10, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully crafted novel, somewhere north of a short-story, but still a satisfying, rich read. The prose is spare, the feelings and insights intense, the characters briefly drawn but memorable. I couldn't put the book down, and reread chapters several times, amazed at the author's ability to say so much in so few words. Highly recommended. This is a story that stays with you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth your reading time June 18, 2008
From an American master comes the riveting short novel about three soldiers' experience while on a reconnaissance mission in 1944 Italy. Richard Bausch's Peace is an impeccable novel that can be read, and will probably be read, in one evening. A mere 171 pages, the author uses sparing language and an immense amount of detail to paint a harrowing wartime experience.

The time is winter. It's been raining steadily for days. An American patrol encounters a farmer with a load of hay. Buried beneath the hay are a Nazi soldier and a female. The Nazi takes out two of the Americans, and in retaliation the Americans kill the two fleeing Germans.

This incident establishes the need for a scouting patrol that has been ordered to see what is on the other side of the hill. As three soldiers, guided by a seventy-year-old Italian man, begin their ascent, the rain quickly turns to sleet and makes their climb exceedingly more treacherous. Before too long, the men realize that they are not merely climbing a hill, but rather a mountain. The higher they go, the colder it becomes and before they reach the top, a heavy snow starts to fall.

The entire story takes place on the mountainside as the four climb. There they are confronted, for the first time, with the realization that they may truly die. More than their own demise, the soldiers are unwitting witness to an execution of Jews, thereby sealing the truth about the rumors of the German atrocities that became the Holocaust. Then the soldiers become the targets of a sniper as they race down the mountain.

Bausch does a remarkable job in delineating the three characters and provides riveting account of their reactions to death.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars War and peace May 18, 2010
1944, southern Italy. It's the closing stages of the war and the Americans are chasing the Italian Fascists and the Nazis north and out of Italy. After the American squad encounters a Nazi ambush, 3 GIs are sent with a local Italian to scout ahead of the main group up into the mountains.

But as they make their way up they begin to question the loyalties of the Italian - is he a harmless old man or a Fascist sympathiser leading them into another trap? As they ascend higher, the continuous rain becomes continuous snow, and they soon get close to the backs of the retreating army. And that's when the possibility of enemy snipers covering the retreat becomes very real to them...

I've never heard of Richard Bausch before but I was pleasantly surprised with this exciting historical novel. All of the characters seem genuine and their dialogue very convincing - Bausch is a talented writer who did his research well. The story - which takes place over the course of a single hellish night - is so vividly described that you can almost feel the punishing weather and exhaustion on the characters' souls.

There were some fantastic scenes like when the American Sergeant sets a trap for the enemy sniper and then stays behind to save his wounded men, waiting. You know that scene in Saving Private Ryan when the squad ambush a machine gun nest? This book has that energy and pace throughout.

If you're in the mood for a short read that'll keep you hooked from the first page to the last, you can't go wrong with Richard Bausch's Peace.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Timeless story
This book, set in WWII, covers timeless themes such as friendship, prejudice, nationalism, love, loss and futility. It's short but very well written and flows well. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Rachel Wallace
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Book-Discussion Group
I've read this book twice & chose it for our group's December book. First, it's highly readable & relatively short, which fits in well with busy December doings. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Bette Hayward
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent short novel
Excellent short novel, tight, taught and well written. Leaves you with the sense of being on the mountain with them.
Published 5 months ago by Ged
1.0 out of 5 stars It all blends together
Really, this is almost literally every piece of war fiction I've ever been forced to read. The characters fall in to the usual character types these kinds of books use, the plot is... Read more
Published 17 months ago by The Banker's Nephew
4.0 out of 5 stars Book with a message (or two)
Great war story. Excellent characters. Themes on many levels. A book you can debate with yourself or others who have read it.
Published 17 months ago by stephen buss
5.0 out of 5 stars A snippet from war
I know in every war there are millions of stories. A day in the life of a soldier is often filled with boredom followed by bursts of intensity that is almost too much to handle. Read more
Published on March 18, 2012 by D. M. Kemp
4.0 out of 5 stars Peace
When this book (Peace) was recommended to me, I read the description and was a bit reluctant to read it at first. The plot sounded all too familiar. Read more
Published on October 18, 2011 by R. Shaffer
5.0 out of 5 stars Short but powerful story
A novella rather than a novel, this tale of a group of soldiers making their way across a wintry and hostile landscape almost has the feel of a ghost story rather than one of war. Read more
Published on April 21, 2010 by Marcus H.
5.0 out of 5 stars Gut-wrenching war narrative
This little book does more to capture the boredom and horrors of war than anything I have ever read. Read more
Published on January 22, 2010 by Joan B. Hunter
4.0 out of 5 stars The novel is not dead
Much discussion about the future of the literary novel (as opposed to airport bookstall blockbuster) in this age of blogs, essays, television art, arty cinema and the rest. Read more
Published on December 13, 2009 by R. J. C. Roeber
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More About the Author

An acknowledged master of the short story, Richard Bausch has written 11 novels and eight collections of short fiction. He has won two National Magazine Awards, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lila-Wallace Reader's Digest Fund Writer's Award, the Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and The 2004 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story as well as the 2010 Dayton Peac Prize for his novel Peace. Before, During, After - a novel, is forthcoming.

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