Author(s): Nick Arvin
A heartbreaking and compelling WWII story of what war means for one young man. Set just after the Normandy invasion, Articles of War is the story of Heck, an American GI who has recently arrived from Ohio. Utterly inexperienced as a soldier, Heck is paralyzed with fear during his first firefight. Desperate to get away from the front line, he deliberately allows himself to be shot but a fellow private sees and understands what he has done. Sent to a hospital behind the lines, his wound heals quickly and he returns to find that the witness has been promoted and is now his superior. He says nothing to Heck about his act of cowardice but a little while later sends him to the rear for a special assignment, without telling him what that assignment is. In fact, he has been assigned to the firing squad which will execute Private Eddie Slovak (in reality the only GI shot for desertion during the Second World War and the first since the Civil War). This is Heck's excruciating moral punishment. He, himself a deserter, is forced to shoot another deserter. Nick Arvin draws the reader into the unimaginable fear, violence and chaos of the war zone. Like the very best war fiction - Pat Barker's Regeneration trilogy, Sebastian Faulks' Birdsong - he shows how ordinary lives are transformed by extraordinary events.