BOB CASEY (the Robert J. would seem intolerably formal to anyone who has ever met this member of the international newspaper fraternity or heard his gigantic guffaw) prides himself on being a reporter, first, last, and all the time. Nothing would arouse his emphatic disclaimer so quickly and surely as the suggestion that he might be a man of letters. And it is straight reporting, without any attempt at drawing morals or advocating ideologies, that he gives in the present book, a series of reminiscences of things seen and experienced during the fall of France and the ordeal of Great Britain. Yet there is something in Casey’s writing that distinguishes it from the run-of-the-mill brand of war correspondence. There is quick perception, as when he recalls the day on the eve of the fall of Paris when there was no one on the Place de l’Opéra. There is wry humor, as when he observes about St. Jean de Luz, last refuge of many stranded Americans in the french debacle, ’It had a more accessible beach than Bordeaux if you were hard put to find a sleeping space.’ And there is a warm Irish heart, not very successfully concealed behind the mask of a rough, unsentimental style, that responds quickly to such war snapshots as the French mother who has lost her young son on a crowded railway train or the English barmaid who said, after the fiercest bombings of London, ’Do you suppose this nitwit in Berlin thinks he can frighten us?’
W. H. C.