Falling Out and Belonging: A Foot-soldier's Life

Front Cover
AuthorHouse, Jul 1, 2006 - Fiction - 300 pages
1 Review
This WW II novel revolves around the experience of a callow youth destined to join the Fourth Infantry Division in Hrtgen Forest. The narrative traces the bonded ties of six comrades in arms, three of whom are killed and three wounded. Vividly detailed, the stressful existence of Combat Infantrymen causes some men to break. What helps those who see it through is their loyalty to one another, called a "culture of caring" by their Chaplain. In Part I our innocent recruits are sobered by incidental casualties on the way up, which initiate them into the inconsequence of death. Part II takes them into Hrtgen, a battle fought under continuous icy rain in steep-hilled terrain favoring the well entrenched Germans. Casualties often run over l00% of a Company's authorized strength. Attacks are met by unrelenting artillery and mortar fire-machine guns at close range. In a typical situation, our narrator covers a Sergeant, who, after taking out a machine gun pinning the Company down, is himself killed by a sniper. A hard-headed West Pointer insists on night action, impossible in the Forest, and, after stepping on a mine that takes his legs off, he rolls on another that hits those nearby. General Patton called Hrtgen "an epic of stark infantry combat." Part III deals with how, badly depleted in numbers and morale, the men successfully withstand the Breakthrough, thereby saving Luxembourg, a defense for which Patton gave the Fourth a Unit Citation. In the concluding Part, the narrator is wounded and put on limited assignment. He dislikes the rear echelon life-style, guys being obsessed with whores, drinking, stealing, and feasting, but he holds his peace and decides he'll return to the world wherereality matters.

What people are saying - Write a review

Absolutely breathtaking

User Review  - SYDFAN - Borders

This World War II novel isn't like anything else I've ever read. Inspiring, touching, gritty, emotional, true to both life and the human spirit are merely a few adjectives to describe this wonderful ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2006)

Growing up in the Depression, the youngest of three sons in a working class family, Syd Joseph Krause, a railroad demurrage clerk, could not have had the remotest dream that he might one day go to college, much less become an English Professor (MA, Yale; Ph.D. Columbia), who would publish numerous articles on major American Authors in learned journals, also a book (Mark Twain As Critic) with Johns Hopkins Press and become General Editor of The Novels of Charles Brockden Brown–America’s first professional novelist–for which he did a “Historical Essay” and “Historical Notes.”  Following Fulbright Professorships at the Universities of Copenhagen and Tübingen, he returned to Europe on a number of occasions for lectures in Holland, Germany (East and West) Coimbra (Portugal), Rome, and Warsaw.  What actually launched him on this career was the GI Bill of Rights, resulting from his participation in a Defining Event of the Twentieth Century, World War II, when in the fall of 1944 he joined the Fourth Infantry Division and was with an on-line Company during two of the bitterest campaigns in the Fourth’s history: The Battle of Hürtgen Forest and the Battle of the Bulge.  He wrote an account of a post-Bulge battle he was in, which appeared in a collection of War Stories by members of the Fourth.  As he thought about how men of his generation who survived the War were passing, Krause went to a journal he’d written shortly after discharge, and decided to do this novel dedicated to the memory of survivors who have passed, as well as those lost in combat, hoping to leave a record of what the War was like for them.

Bibliographic information