Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Red Cavalry - a recent used book store find

Red Cavalry is a collection of short stories and reports written by Babel during the Russo-Polish war. I have, admittedly, not read the entire work, but the excerpts I have read made it clear to me why it (in the 1920s) got broad international acclaim for two reasons - (1) It is engrossing and well written, and (2) it is incredibly brutal.

The scenes of Bolshevik, White, Green, Anarchist and Polish troops engaged in all sorts of operations are meticulously detailed, and the feel for someone doing RCW (or related) is fantastic. If you can manage to keep your lunch down between the descriptions of mercy killings, slogging through your own mate's intestines, and gang rape victims being taunted.

Not for the young.


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