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The events of 24 hours underlining, satirizing, emphasizing the meaning of peace, as V-J day is celebrated, and defamed in San Francisco. A feeling for contrasts, for complex individual problems, for types of civilians and military, gives this a sophisticated approach to what might have been sensational material. Swift, dramatic, sure fire renter.
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World War II is about to end and the conquerors are coming home. For Mark Gregory, a war correspondent who has just arrived in San Francisco, the end of the war means that he is about to be reunited with his wife and son. Apprehensive about the reunion, he also finds that San Francisco has been turned upside down and is mired in its own problems rooted in suspicion, hostility, fear and terrorization.
Mark's story, the stories of soldiers and civilians, the conflicts and passions of families, and the turmoil in a great city are all skillfully told and masterfully interwoven. When Mark comes to a shocking understanding about his wife, all motifs of the story finally collide in a tumultuous conclusion as peace is at last declared. But, what is peace after all? "For ordinary people it was one more day of life," says the author. "Peace was a code word. It would come by degrees, slowly at best, always in loneliness; it would come differently to each human being."
A startling look at the end of a world war. If the author's psychoanalysis is dated and the shocking not so shocking to modern readers, still Busch offers a view that balances all the lights and shadows of a intense time in history with polish and deft insight.