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Peace [Hardcover]

Richard Bausch
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: £13.23
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Book Description

1 Aug 2009
The first publication in Atlantic Books' exciting new Tuskar Rock imprint, "Peace" is a powerful novel about war, trust and salvation that begs to be read in a single sitting. Italy, near Cassino. The terrible winter of 1944. Dismal icy rain falls, unabated, for days. Three American soldiers set out on the gruelling ascent of a perilous Italian mountainside in the murky closing days of the Second World War. Haunted by their sergeant's cold-blooded murder of a young girl, and with only an old man of uncertain loyalties as their guide, they truge on in a state of barely suppressed terror and confusion. With snipers lying in wait for them, the men are confronted by agonizing moral choices...Taut and propulsive - "Peace" is a feat of economy, compression, and imagination, a tough and unmistakably contemporary meditation on the corrosiveness of violence, the human cost of war, and the redemptive power of mercy.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Tuskar Rock; First Edition; 1st printing. edition (1 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848870841
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848870840
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.1 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 567,671 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'Richard Bausch's Peace, set at the end of the Second World War in Italy, is a small masterpiece with the same emotional force and moral complexity as Conrad's Heart of Darkness.' Colm Toibin 'A short, bleakly brilliant one-act drama depicting the futility and moral complexity of combat.' Ben Macintyre, New York Times 'In the small firmament of American writers who're both superb novelists and eloquent short-story practitioners, Richard Bausch's star shines more brightly now than ever.' Richard Ford"

About the Author

Peace is Richard Bausch's eleventh novel. He is also the author of seven volumes of short stories. His work has appeared in the New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Playboy, GQ, Harper's Magazine, and other publications and has been featured in numerous best-of collections. He is chancellor of the Fellowship of Southern Writers and lives in Memphis, Tennessee, where he is Moss Chair of Excellence in the Writer's Workshop of the University of Memphis.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars War and Peace 25 Mar 2010
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER
1944, southern Italy. It's the closing stages of the war and the Americans are chasing the Italian Fascists and the Nazis north and out of Italy. After the American squad encounters a Nazi ambush, 3 GIs are sent with a local Italian to scout ahead of the main group up into the mountains.

But as they make their way up they begin to question the loyalties of the Italian - is he a harmless old man or a Fascist sympathiser leading them into another trap? As they ascend higher, the continuous rain becomes continuous snow, and they soon get close to the backs of the retreating army. And that's when the possibility of enemy snipers covering the retreat becomes very real to them...

I've never heard of Richard Bausch before but I was pleasantly surprised with this exciting historical novel. All of the characters seem genuine and their dialogue very convincing - Bausch is a talented writer who did his research well. The story - which takes place over the course of a single hellish night - is so vividly described that you can almost feel the punishing weather and exhaustion on the characters' souls.

There were some fantastic scenes like when the American Sergeant sets a trap for the enemy sniper and then stays behind to save his wounded men, waiting. You know that scene in Saving Private Ryan when the squad ambush a machine gun nest? This book has that energy and pace throughout.

If you're in the mood for a short read that'll keep you hooked from the first page to the last, you can't go wrong with Richard Bausch's Peace.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece 12 Jun 2010
By Twig
I stumbled across this novel quite by chance, and am so glad I did. It is one of the best novels I have ever read.

The plot is simple. It is the closing days of the Second World War in Italy, and, having witnessed a killing, three American soldiers are charged with making a reconnaissance trip up a mountain with an old Italian guide to assess the retreating German army. As I say, a simple plot, but the exploration of the motivations and personalities of the four main characters is anything but simple.

With taut, spare language and a wonderful lightness of touch, Bausch explores all the big issues - life, death, memory, loyalty, morality, religious belief, war; everything, perhaps, but peace itself. Extrapolated from the individuals' experiences of the pain and fear and discomfort they are forced to endure, the entire human condition is explored.

Years ago, I read a book of non-fiction, with a similar setting - Naples '44 by Norman Lewis - which I also highly recommend. In Peace, however, through the fictionalization of the characters and their internal voices, the reader is invited not just to partake of the brutal facts, but also to make his or her own moral judgements.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I believe it is a masterpiece.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect novel 9 Dec 2009
By J. H. Bretts VINE VOICE
This is an enormously powerful novel about war and combat, the focus being on American forces in Italy in 1944. But of course it could be Vietnam, or Iraq. Bausch can write very atmospheric and precise prose - some sentences had me rereading them in admiration - and create fantastically believable characters. Three soldiers , no more than boys, on a mountain in the pouring rain on a dark night, with a taciturn old man from the nearby village as a guide, ahead of them the retreating German forces and potential snipers...

Strongly recommended.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb 15 Sep 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a superbly written novel (although really it's a novella) that grips from the opening page. You almost live and breathe the conditions confronting the bedraggeled tiny group of soldiers that are the focus of the story. The dangers and moral ambiguities facing individuals in this group are brilliantly realised by the author. Characters are so well rounded (i.e. flawed and deeply affected by the brutality of war) that you believe in them as real people. Their thoughts, fears and doubts carry conviction and whether you like any of them doesn't really matter. This is one of the best novels I've read in a long while.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short but memorable 11 May 2010
A novella rather than a novel, this tale of a group of soldiers making their way across a wintry and hostile landscape almost has the feel of a ghost story rather than one of war. The desolate environment is the perfect theatre to stage the shifting moods and tensions between its believable and sympathetic characters, and the author maintains tension throughout. Very effective and no less memorable for being shorter than novel length. Certainly worthy of a five star rating.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Richard Bausch's "Peace" has garnered many rave reviews, but is it any good? Personal choice of course, but for me it was an okay story, well-written and pretty darned short, but it didn't really say much about the pointless, violent, nasty nature of war that hasn't been said before by a variety of writers.

The book tells the story of a small band of American soldiers caught in a seemingly pointless trudge up and down a mountainside in the Italian campaign during the latter stages of WW2. Shocked by the shooting of a Nazi and a woman they found earlier, each man bears the brunt of what happened and tries to deal with it in their own way. Bausch weaves the story well, and develops interesting back stories for his main characters, but they never really came alive for me. It felt like a little episode you mighty get in something like "Band of Brothers" - but perhaps cinema is the best medium for something like this.

I was expecting a little more in the way of story, and the ending was a bit of a let down.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great novella
I was given this novella in exchange for an honest review.

This is a great novella. It grabs you from the first page and doesn't let go. Read more
Published 12 months ago by m pollard
3.0 out of 5 stars Peace
After reading the previous reviews I was rather disappointed in this book, for me it just did not hit the mark, I just couldn't get in to it or identify with the characters, I... Read more
Published on 26 Nov 2010 by Robert
2.0 out of 5 stars Unconvincing yarn
Comparisons with Heart of Darkness etc are very wide of the mark. This is a very slight book and seemed to me entirely unconvincing. Read more
Published on 2 Nov 2010 by Oliver Griffiths
3.0 out of 5 stars Yes War is Pointless - Just Describing It Doesn't Cut The Mustard
Describes a sad war scenario.

Even though it was a short book, it was a bit of a trudge to get through - always wondering if this was going somewhere. Read more
Published on 15 May 2010 by D. R. Armour
5.0 out of 5 stars Bill G England
Beautiful short desciption of the senselessness of war, where ever it takes place. Should be read by every young man who believes the lies that war is heroic. Brilliant.
Published on 9 Jan 2010 by W. C. Gold
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
Absolutely superb. A beautifully crafted little novel. I read it in one sitting. Thanks Mr. Bausch!
Published on 9 Jan 2010 by Mr. Dermott Gale
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple but beautiful
It's a short novel and the story, set in Southern Italy in WW II, is relatively simple but the prose is solid and it is quite a reflective read. Read more
Published on 2 Sep 2009 by Gerry McCaffrey
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