From the Publisher
“Certain to bring [Watkins] comparisons not only with Stephen Crane, but with Hemingway and Remarque for its parallels with his clssic All Quiet on the Western Front . . .His virtuosic first novel won't be easily forgotten.” John Blades, The Chicago Tribune
“An amazing tour-de-force . . . a pwerful book by a yourng writer of impressive imagination and talent.” Robert Masello, Newsday
“This novel would be remarkable no matter who wrote it, but as the work of a twenty-three year old American, it is an amazement.” Lee-Anne Schreiber, National Public Radio
“Daring and remarkably assured . . . provocative.” Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This ``remarkably accomplished'' first novel comes at WW II from an unusual angle. Its protagonist is the wry, embittered 17-year-old Sebastian Westland, who lives in a small German town and, during the last year of the war, enlists in the SS. PW called this ``a dark triumph, with the grip of nightmare.'' (Aug.)
This first novel is the story of a 17-year-old who joins the Waffen SS in the summer of 1944. It follows him through the rigors of boot camp and into the horrors of combat. His unit is one of those spearheading the desperate Ardennes offensive (the Battle of the Bulge). There is the material for a memorable novel here, but, despite some powerful and vivid battle scenes, 23-year-old Watkins doesn't quite carry it off. Too often characters and incidents seem as if they have been recycled from formula war movies, and the narrator sounds as if he has come from a novel about disgruntled and angry postwar (Vietnam) adolescents. Only for collections where war novels are popular. Charles Michaud, Turner Free Lib., Randolph, Mass.