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Hart's War Paperback – 15 Feb 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New edition edition (15 Feb 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751529087
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751529081
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,148,189 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Stalag 17 meets the best of John Grisham in this tremendously exciting and moving new thriller about a murder trial inside a German prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. John Katzenbach has taken elements of his own father's history in such a camp, added a racial twist (the defendant is a black pilot, a member of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen) and created a memorable adventure story that soars with hope and cries out to be filmed.

The first thing that former law student Tommy Hart does after his B-25 is shot down and he--the only survivor--is captured, is to fill out a form for the International Red Cross, telling his family he's alive and requesting, under "Special Items Needed," a copy of Edmund's Principles of Common Law. Amazingly, the book is waiting when he arrives at Stalag Luft Thirteen in the Bavarian woods. Hart soon puts it to good use, defending (with the help of two other prisoners, a former London barrister and a Canadian police detective) the prickly, proud Lieutenant Lincoln Scott when he is charged with killing a racist and corrupt fellow prisoner. The Nazis, especially a resident SS observer, have their own reasons for wanting the trial to be seen as a fair one, and it takes place against the backdrop of a planned mass escape. --Dick Adler --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

John Katzenbach's best book so far. HART'S WAR may be a tale of a murder committed in bizarre circumstances, but on a deeper level it is a novel about honour and heroism. (Philip Caputo)

HART'S WAR is that rare but delicious find - a book you hate to see come to an end. (Anita Shreve)

A compelling read. Its portrayal of the tedium, suffering and occasional terror of prision life is impressive, while the courtroom scenes in particular are electrifying. (MORNING STAR)

Katzenbach's seamless joining of investigative thriller and wartime adventure is brimming with detail and atmosphere that ought to catch next year's CWA jury's eye. (GLASGOW HERALD)

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 11 Dec 2002
Format: Paperback
At first look, the basic plot of HART'S WAR is nothing extraordinary. A black man is framed by a racist populace for the murder of an ostensibly popular white man. And, of course, a novice lawyer, with zero experience in capital murder cases, is assigned as defense counsel for the trial. Ho-hum. The premise is so threadbare that I normally wouldn't have read beyond the jacket. But, 'ang on a minute, guv.
In this multi-faceted thriller by John Katzenbach, the place is Stalag Luft 13, a Luftwaffe prison camp for allied flyers shot down in WWII. The accused, Lincoln Scott, is a fictional black pilot of the real-life, famed 332nd Fighter Group (the Tuskegee Airmen), who was downed while heroically defending a crippled B-17 bomber. He's the only Negro prisoner in the camp, and an aloof loner by choice because, you understand, he distrusts whites. The victim, Trader Vic, is a respected bomber pilot from Mississippi that had become the stalag's expert trader in forbidden goods. Lt. Tommy Hart, the navigator of a downed B-25, stands for the defense. Tommy, who left law school to join the Army Air Corps, has essentially finished his law studies while as a POW by reading every legal text he can lay his hands on. The Senior American Officer, Col. MacNamara, and the camp commandant, Luftwaffe Oberst Von Reiter, only want to get Scott's court-martial wrapped up quickly without undue embarrassment to either the Americans or the Germans.
This novel unfolds on many levels. It is, of course, a courtroom drama. But it's also a war drama, a detective drama, a prison drama, and an escape drama. Young Hart is clearly the reluctant, white-hatted good guy, but the moral and ethical issues revealed as he squares off against the rest of the camp remain elusively gray.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 13 Mar 2002
Format: Paperback
I had read some of John Katzenbach's books before and had enjoyed them, which is what made me pick this book up, but once I had done so, I could hardly put it down.
A thrilling read from start to finish, with a great storyline in the style of a courtroom drama, set against the backdrop of a POW camp during World War II.
If you have enjoyed John Grisham, especially his earlier stuff, then you will enjoy this book without doubt.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Indred Cold on 20 Jun 2001
Format: Paperback
Thought twice about buying this book,but once started found myself being drawn to it more and more.
One of those whodunnits where you have to stop yourself turning to the last page just to make sure didnt have a clue who the killer was. However I would like to point out to the author and the publishers that the second world war was from 1939 to 1945 ,and not as the book infers only once the Americans arrived in 1942.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By steven.goldfine@eunet.no on 6 Sep 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a who-done-it. But the setting, a POW camp in Germany during WWII sets it apart. The acurate descriptions of POW life. The trivialities nobody thinks about, which were paramount to these men's lives. The portrayel of the different characters, English, American and German. That is what makes this book so great.
We follow the story of a young law student turned aerial navigator turned POW. We unravel the murder of another POW. The prime suspect is yet another POW. Racial issues are also central to this clever story. The victim being a biggot and the prime suspect being colored. The Germans also have their own agenda.
The excitement rises from page to page. You forget the time. You forget to eat. You forget to sleep. And just when you think it's all over there is a little twist.
This book is well worth reading.
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By JOB.311 on 6 Feb 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Loved this book and the characters. The movie version is slightly different but I still like both. Well worth buying
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