Top positive review
A defining classic
Reviewed in the United States on June 24, 2016
There is a poetic genius in candor of this account. As a former infantryman and combat veteran (and a writer), I can say that of all the war memoirs I have read, none come nearly as close to the full spectrum of infantry combat as Bellavia and Bruning do with House to House. The reasons this book hasn't won major acclaim or been awarded is because it is so singular and unique. It's not written in the tradition of Hemingway-esque novels, and for that I don't think it draws the attention it deserves. If it did receive the attention, I think it would set a new standard for literature, as did In Cold Blood by Capote. House to House almost reads like a screen play, needing no droning paragraphs of descriptive prose to elucidate a situation as do some of the great classics. In a few short, gritty, honest sentences--how someone is eating, the thoughts in his mind--you are pulled closer to his reality than any naturalistic work I have read, be it even McCarthy or Faulkner. It's almost too in your face with it's resounding truth. He forces himself upon you, like a real infantry grunt, and reading it is like wearing virtual reality goggles--scratch that, it's like being inside his actual head.
This account should be a classic, illuminating not only his experience, or even that of his war, but of soldiers in all modern wars. He covers literally every moment and thought through a graceful read. And although Bellavia had some help with a veteran writer, Bruning, I can hear Bellavia in every sentence.