A long-lost, World War II literary classic in the dark, satirical tradition of Catch-22 and M*A*S*H, though it pre-dated those landmark novels by decades. When The Freebooters was released in 1949, it was greeted with widespread acclaim, the San Francisco Chronicle declaring it “the best American war novel to arise so far.” Now it’s finally back in print.
Three GIs are “Task Force Sisyphus,” a special WWII intelligence unit assigned to eradicate and report on any remnants of fascism still lingering in the battle-scarred aftermath of Allied military victories. But their behind-the-lines reports are largely ignored by the pompous brass, so the off-beat trio use their mission as an excuse to find romance, profit and amusement as they follow the onward march of war from North Africa to France… and to an unexpectedly harrowing conclusion.
“An extremely well-written, brilliant, book….set against the background of army conniving and corruption.” The Saturday Review
“Wernick shows considerable talent and a penchant for human understanding that may take him much further on the literary trail.” Cincinnati Inquirer
“Here is the war in satire, handled imaginatively by an extremely capable writer.” New York Times
“You’ll like Wernick. It would be hard to find a match for his originality. The story wings away into realms of wild imagination, where real and unreal overlap, where what is actually hilarious is not a laugh at all.” Ottawa Citizen
“Wernick has an interesting and vivid style, a perceptive approach to his material, and a tremendous skill in creating colorful and bizarre scenes.” Philadelphia Inquirer
“An atmosphere of harsh humor, of mad incident, of cruel truthfulness. Episodic, anecdotal, this is doubtless rooted in reality.” Kirkus Reviews
“A bitter, hilarious novel.” Pasadena Star-News
“The first war novel I ever read that was really funny was a mordant book called The Freebooters, on hand years before Catch-22.” St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“One of the most unusual novels to come out of the last war… extremely well-written, particularly at the end.” Windsor Star (Ontario, Canada)
“The bizarre, sometimes hilarious, and ultimately bitter experience of an unusual trio.” Miami Herald
“An extravagant, high-spirited account of the adventures of three American soldiers. Although it contains some fantasy, and a good deal of robust humor, it’s intended as a serious interpretation of the more incongruous aspects of modern war.” The Observer (London)Robert Wernick / Literary Fiction