This book deals indeed with the absurdity ever present in military life, but it does so in a much more realistic and less antic way. Like Heller’s Yossarian, Gunner Asch of the German army is acutely aware of the paralyzing stupidity inherent in military bureacracy and sets out to do something individual and self-affirming in opposition. But the adventures of the hero of Hans Hellmut Kirst’s novel are mellow and low key by comparison. There is little that is laugh-out-loud funny in this book. Rather it is a gently amusing story, with a compelling, quiet drive that ends in a subtle but very satisfying punchline.
Hans Hellmut Kirst (5 December 1914 - 13 February 1989) was a distinguished and the author of 46 books, many of which were translated into English. Kirst is best remembered as the creator of the "Gunner Asch" series which detailed the ongoing struggle of an honest individual to maintain his identity and humanity amidst the criminality and corruption of .
Written in 1965 by Hans Hellmut Kirst, this is a semi-fictionalized account of the Valkyrie conspiracy and July 20th told through alternating 3rd person point of views, mainly focusing on that of the fictional Captain Count von Brackwede, who was modeled upon the real-life conspirator Lieutenant Fritz-Dietlof, Count von der Schulenburg.