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Peace (Vintage Contemporaries) Paperback – April 7, 2009


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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (April 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307388581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307388582
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #544,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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.

Customer Reviews

A very well crafted book.
D. M. Kemp
Mr. Bausch's language is spare and completely appropriate for his bleak subject in this richly nuanced novel where the characters come alive on every page.
H. F. Corbin
It's a story of conscience and the dignity of man in inhuman circumstances.
Belatn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Richard Cumming on April 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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 By Belatn on May 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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 By David Donelson on June 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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 By Michael J. Ortiz on 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 By Armchair Interviews on June 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Hugh Rosen on May 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Peace" is a poignant and moving story, written in clear and simple language. It's brevity contributes to its emotional impact. The narrative is one of the dehumanizing effects of war and the redemptive power of choice. It is an anti-war narrative told with inescapable logic. Military authorities will likely bar it from the libraries of the armed forces. "Peace" will have universal appeal and I hope it will be translated into the languages of the world for all to read.
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