Saturday, April 12, 2014

PATHS OF GLORY by Humphrey Cobb, some thoughts on the novel

Humphrey Cobb’s novel, PATHS of Glory, written in 1935 can best be summed up as a story of soldiers as pawns of ambitious, self-centered generals on a battlefield in World War I. Every facet of the soldier in combat goes on display in this riveting novel: courage, cowardice, acceptance of one’s fate, a futile belief that things will turn out better. The generals fit into a separate category from the soldiers. The generals view the battle as a game with the promise of promotion and glory if won and irritation at the failure of others if lost. In PATHS of GLORY little thought is given to sending men to be slaughtered by the hundreds and thousands by machine guns and artillery in frontal charges. So the uncaring generals’ mindsets can be understood when bizarrely ordering the execution of three brave, innocent soldiers for cowardice because their battalion failed to take an objective against impossible odds. There would have been four soldiers sent to the firing squad, but for a company commander who refused to obey the order to randomly select a victim. The 1957 film of PATHS of GLORY, starring Kirk Douglas, was great; the novel, PATHS of GLORY by Humphrey Cobb is even better.

A suggestion: My novel, THE PENCIL ARTIST, is now available as a free download on, Smashwords and Barnes and Noble.
Try it, enjoy it, and if you are in the mood, review it.