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The Young Lions Paperback – December 1, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Phoenix Fiction
  • Paperback: 696 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (December 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226751295
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226751290
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #400,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The Young Lions is a vivid and classic novel that portrays the experiences of ordinary soldiers fighting World War II. Told from the points of view of a perceptive young Nazi, a jaded American film producer, and a shy Jewish boy just married to the love of his life, Shaw conveys, as no other novelist has since, the scope, confusion, and complexity of war.

About the Author

Irwin Shaw (1913-1984) grew up in New York City and graduated from Brooklyn College in 1934. He is the playwright of Bury the Dead, and the author of twelve novels, among them Rich Man, Poor Man, The Troubled Air, Nightwork, Acceptable Losses, Evening in Byzantium and Short Stories: Five Decades, the last published by the University of Chicago Press.

More About the Author

Irwin Shaw (1913-1984) was an acclaimed, award-winning author who grew up in New York City and graduated from Brooklyn College in 1934. His first play, Bury the Dead (1936), has become an anti-war classic. He went on to write several more plays, more than a dozen screenplays, two works of nonfiction, dozens of short stories (for which he won two O. Henry awards), and twelve novels, including The Young Lions (1948) and Rich Man, Poor Man (1970).

Customer Reviews

A good story, very well written.
Grammydoc
If you're looking for a good World War II story, well told, or if you are interested in what it is like to be at war in the military, this is the book for you.
Frank Richards
I read this book twice, when it was first published and now, more than sixty years later.
Joseph J. Finnerty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

118 of 119 people found the following review helpful By bibliomane01 on July 14, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It seems that Irwin Shaw is mainly remembered for light popular novels such as "Rich Man, Poor Man" and "Beggarman, Thief," and "Nightwork," but he was also a great writer of short stories (a former star for the New Yorker) and in "The Young Lions" he emphatically staked his claim to be numbered among the great American war novelists. In my opinion, Shaw's book belongs in the company of "The Red Badge of Courage," "A Farewell to Arms," "The Naked and the Dead," and "Catch-22." Hopefuly this new edition from Chicago will help to bring a forgotten classic of World War II before a new audience. Many war novels hover uneasily at the brink of sentimentality and melodrama, and many more simply fall in. But in this story about three young soldiers who are "The Young Lions" of the title, with their hopes, fears, loves and hatreds, Shaw's touch is deft and his clear, smooth prose leads the reader through an absorbing and tragic story that remains as fresh and moving today as it was when it first written over half a century ago.
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84 of 86 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
I'm a 30 year old person that was born and raised in the Netherlands and for the last 4 years has been living and working in Germany. I've allways been interested in novels, films and documentaries about the second world war. Living in the Netherlands and Germany I have been able to notice the differences in the way both countries try to cope with the war. Generalizing one could say that in the Netherlands emphasis is more on having been victims, wheras in Germany, people try to face the fact that a lot of their fathers and/or grandfathers were war criminals. A simple and clear picture: they were "good" and the others were "bad" Reading "The Young Lions", you more and more see the similarities between soldiers in the opposing armies: they have the same background, the same fears, the same hopes, they are just puppets of different rulers. They are not just good or bad, they just want to survive and go home. Shaw's book shows how horrible war is to every soldier. In war there is no black and white, just many shades of grey.....
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85 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Birdman on October 1, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There were dozens of novels based on World War II, but only three that captured American readers by storm. Mailer's THE NAKED AND THE DEAD, Jones's FROM HERE TO ETERNITY and Shaw's THE YOUNG LIONS. Of the three, the most compulsively readable and the least self-conscious is Irwin Shaw's absolutely beautiful novel of love and loss during World War II. If there is a better sculptor of character in 20th century American fiction, I'd like to know who it is. Shaw has a knack for creating palpable characters (including some you'd ordinarily hate -- such as an errant Nazi) who live and breathe. All of his characters -- from Christian and Michael to Hope -- are people we care about, and many of the great historic scenes of the war come alive for even the most casual reader. The subplots (and there are quite a few of them) are integrated seamlessly and the pace is relentless and exciting. One wonders why Shaw never tried to repeat this stunning performance, but perhaps novels as fine as this only occur once in a lifetime. If you want to sink into a richly detailed, compulsively readable saga of World War II, this is the genuine article. A pity there aren't six stars.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 24, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is truly one of the great novels dealing with World War Two. Throughout, the novel switches perspectives from that of a German lieutnant to an American private. The story begins shortly before the outbreak of war, and continues until the war's ending.
Irwin Shaw seems to capture the flavor of both the American and German armies, and what the attitudes and perspectives of their soldiers might have been like. One thing that Shaw cannot be criticized for is soft-peddling the crimes of the German Army. One of the things the reader will see is the slow descent of the German protagonist from an essentially good man to a thorough skunk. Personally, I thought Shaw might have overdone it a little bit (just my opinion). To clarify: I thought it might have been more effective to show the German soldier as a basically good man caught up in an organization committing wrongful deeds. Instead, Shaw chose to have the character himself become evil. Well, that's the author's choice to make, and Shaw certainly tells a compelling story.
This is an engaging story that has a strong authentic feel to it. I found it to be a rich reading experience and this is one of the truly great stories of World War II.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Pen and Ink on October 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have never been presented with a better view of World War II. Usually, I get the point of view of a U.S. soldier in France, pushing against the Panzers. Never have I had the opportunity to see the war through Nazi eyes, or even Jewish eyes. Seeing that our enemy was just a kid, concerned with nothing more than his own well-being. Seeing the German Army as a unit just as dysfunctional as the U.S. army is usually portrayed was absolutely beneficial, as was the presentation of Christian's hesitation in turning a Jew in, but does anyway, just out of duty. The perspectives is the first of two standout characteristics of The Young Lions. The second is the way Shaw manipulates the characters to manifest them into believable, tangible people, to which everyone can relate. Even the Nazi, usually hated by Americans, is portrayed realistically and humanly, instead of in the more typical animalistic, murderous way.
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