Peace, By Richard Bausch

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From Hemingway and Heller to John Horne Burns, Italian fronts have hosted a large proportion of the best American war fiction. Although not quite the masterpiece some critics claim, Bausch's ice-sharp novel of soldiering near Monte Cassino in the last winter of the Second World War merits a place in the ranks of this classic band of brothers.

Frozen, desperate, his trio of warriors "just slogged on" up a mountain, through fear and snow, in a place where "nothing meant anything". The peak and its perils frame a tale of dissolving morality and identity, written with all the granite bleakness of a tin-hatted Cormac McCarthy.