So, from time to time, the downstairs vestibule is graced with the presence of the small entrepreneur otherwise known lovingly as "the book man". He's been quite helpful with my recent project, providing many good books for the list that I would not have otherwise picked up. #42 is one of those - not something I would likely have selected for myself, but also not something I could let sit alone in a box after having discussed it the day previous. Harrison has a certain economy of words that give his memoir a memorable and distinct appeal. A literary master he is not, and his book is better for it. Whereas one knows that Hemingway milked his horror for all it was worth to write A Farewell to Arms, Harrison's effort has the texture of a book that needed to be written, of something that would have destroyed the writer had it not been excised into written form. And where Hemingway's visuals stood out grotesquely against the backdrop of his stories, the more truly repulsive visuals of Generals Die in Bed are seamlessly integrated into the story, making them horrible and bizarre but not gratuitous. Considering the extremes of violence and purification we are talking about here, that is quite an accomplishment.

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