Gallery

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John Horne Burns served as a US intelligence officer in North Africa and Naples during World War II. He returned from the war to write The Gallery, a bestseller that also earned the admiration of such writers as Edmund Wilson, Norman Mailer, and Gore Vidal. No other book succeeds so well in capturing the confused feelings of horror, cynicism, rage, self-loathing, and desperate, inarticulate desire with which many Americans emerged from the war. Set in occupied Naples in 1944, The Gallery takes its name from the ...
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The Gallery

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Overview

John Horne Burns served as a US intelligence officer in North Africa and Naples during World War II. He returned from the war to write The Gallery, a bestseller that also earned the admiration of such writers as Edmund Wilson, Norman Mailer, and Gore Vidal. No other book succeeds so well in capturing the confused feelings of horror, cynicism, rage, self-loathing, and desperate, inarticulate desire with which many Americans emerged from the war. Set in occupied Naples in 1944, The Gallery takes its name from the Galleria Umberto, a bombed-out arcade where soldiers and civilians come together in pursuit of food, drink, sex, money, and oblivion. A daring and enduring novel, and one of the first to look directly at gay life in the military, The Gallery surveys the devastated world left behind by what Paul Fussell calls, in his new introduction to Burns's masterpiece, "the worst war in history."
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A book by an ex—soldier that deals with the Americans in Itlay and that displays unmistakable talent…Mr. Burns shows the novelist’s specific gift in a brilliant way." — Edmund Wilson

"Burns has a brilliant facility for reproducing the sights, sounds, color, feel, and smell of the places he has seen. He uses this to startling effect to recapture what many Americans beyond the frontiers of their antiseptic homeland for the first time found in exotic and warped war centers as Casablanca, Fedhala, Algiers, and of course the twisted and diseased Napoli itself." — William Hogan, San Francisco Chronicle

"An important novel of our time." — William McFee, New York Sun

"No one will ever forget this book: a story torn from impassioned experience of modern wars in a shattered city of the ancient world. The Gallery is unique, unsparing, immediate; inextinguishable." — Shirley Hazzard

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780380016679
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/1984
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback

Meet the Author

John Horne Burns (1916-1953) attended Andover and Harvard and then served in military intelligence during World War II. He wrote two more novels after The GalleryLucifer With a Book and A Cry of Children—but both met with a cold critical reception. He drank himself to death in Florence while still in his thirties.

Paul Fussell
(1924–2012) was the author of many books on war and twentieth-century culture, including The Great War and Modern Memory, which won the National Book Award. His memoir Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic chronicles the time he spent fighting with the 103rd infantry division in World War II.
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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted August 25, 2013

    ...Memorable Beyond Belief...

    After some 65 years, it still can be safely said that there is no more distinguished novel of World War II than "The Gallery." Its characters are memorable beyond belief--especially those Italians who inhabit the bombed-out neighborhoods around the Galleria Umberto Primo in the heart of Naples. It is August, 1944, and "we were on the crest of the wave. We? We were Americans, from the best little old country on God's green earth. And if you don't believe me, mister, I'll knock your teeth in..." Can these be our heroes? Burns's voice breaks through at one point: "To this day I'm convinced of Italy's greatness in the world of the spirit. In war she's a tragic farce. In love and sunlight and music and humanity she has something that humanity sorely needs." Burns proves his point in page after page of eloquent recollection.

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