When The Centurions was first published in 1960, readers were riveted by the thrilling account of soldiers fighting for survival in hostile environments. They were equally transfixed by the chilling moral question the novel posed: how to fight when the "age of heroics is over."
As relevant today as it was half a century ago,The Centurions is a gripping military adventure, an extended symposium on waging war in a new global order, and an essential investigation of the ethics of counterinsurgency. Featuring a foreword by renowned military expert Robert D. Kaplan, this important wartime novel will again spark debate about controversial tactics in hot spots around the world.
““I first studied Lartéguy’s stunning reflection of modern war in 1974 at West Point. My notes served as a cautionary primer for the challenges I’d later see emerge time and again. The lands, languages, uniforms, and personalities were different—but the themes and emotions were constant.” —General Stanley McChrystal (U.S. Army, Retired) "The depth of the principals and the author’s sure sense of their complex torment bring the soldiers’ world vibrantly to life...The Centurions rewards fast, consumptive reading as well as deeper engagement, offering provocative insights into military leadership and the generational consequences of empty policy...its garrulous band of orators are a dynamic panel exploring questions that remain fresh and pressing.” —James Hornfischer, The Wall Street Journal “It's impossible to fully comprehend the emotional impact of combat without having lived it. But reading The Centurions is a pretty good substitute.” –Sophia Raday, Slate “It is a fascinating study done in terms of the group that had suffered together. Each one emerges as sharply defined. It is a bitter indictment of a system. It has its moments of horror, depravity, violence. It has too its moments of perverted humor, of sensitivity, of poignancy. It might be defined as a French The Naked and the Dead written with finesse and sensitivity and taste that the Mailer book lacked, but revealing in many ways a similar pattern as the soldier attempts to fit back into civilian life.” –Kirkus “[A] superbly written story . . . The rich variety of Lartéguy’s talents as a story-teller shines through the entire performance.” –Boston Globe “A book that should be read by all whose knowledge of war is only theoretical.” –Chicago Tribune ”