Robert E. Gajdusek
Before us, several remote and now absurd wars. "For Robin Gajdusek, these fields represent the first step toward resurrection as he retrieves a lost personal past through a writing catharsis which refocuses the vast battlefields of history into a singular voice. Resurrection, A War Journey is Gajdusek’s dramatic account of a single week in mid-November 1944 which has taken him more than fifty years to wrestle into words.
Part of Patton’s Third Army in World War II, Gajdusek’s unit was chosen to spearhead the first assault on the impenetrable fortifications of Metz, France, held by the Germans. Uniquely structured, Resurrection intertwines a variety of narrative forms to give voice to experience. Gajdusek’s war memories awaken in his own poetry, short stories, discursive reflections, and sometimes abortive essays, as well as in borrowed historical fragments.
The remembering of war makes it real. His own physical and spiritual resurrection from lying near death in a shell hole to a miraculous recovery is an intense individual chronicle about the bonds of pain and suffering which intimately bind soldiers together while forcing each man into the isolation of his own mental journey. Once captured, Gajdusek finds himself among German soldiers too young or too old or too hideously wounded to be effective in the Nazi war machine. With only high school German, he makes poignant and life-saving connections with a few who seem, despite the horrors they have inflicted on each other, to understand their common humanity. Resurrection is a strong anti-war statement stemming from the only honest indicator, personal experience.
“[Gajdusek] provides an in-depth, multi-layered, and personal memoir of his combat experience and its aftermath. Resurrection takes many turns and twists in time and space and is filled with surprising revelations such as finding peace of mind while being a prisoner of war. . . The ultimate lesson of Resurrection is pro-humanity, not anti-war. That is why stories like these need to be told and read.” North Dakota Quarterly
“Gajdusek’s story, written 50 years after the events, has both the immediacy of a journal written on the spot by a boy, and the maturity of that boy grown into a poet. Gajdusek’s introspection is a grenade; it shatters even the possibility of being glib about war.
This rough-fragile memoir belongs, honorably, on everyone’s not very crowded shelf of war books."-Paul H. Stacy, Professor Emeritus of Modern Literature University of Hartford
Robin Gajdusek is Professor Emeritus at San Francisco State University. He is a leading scholar on Ernest Hemingway and is the author of Hemingway and Joyce: A Study of Debt and Payment and Hemingway’s Paris. Also an accomplished poet, his A Voyager’s Notebook: Selected Poetry of Robin Gajdusek came out in 1989.