Publication Date: March 31, 2004
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"The first book of real magnitude to come out of the last war." —John Dos Passos
John Horne Burns brought The Gallery back from World War II, and on publication in 1947 it became a critically-acclaimed bestseller. However, Burns's early death at the age of 36 led to the subsequent neglect of this searching book, which captures the shock the war dealt to the preconceptions and ideals of the victorious Americans.
Set in occupied Naples in 1944, The Gallery takes its name from the Galleria Umberto, a bombed-out arcade where everybody in town comes together in pursuit of food, drink, sex, money, and oblivion. A daring and enduring novel—one of the first to look directly at gay life in the military—The Gallery poignantly conveys the mixed feelings of the men and women who fought the war that made America a superpower.
John Horne Burns (1916-1953) attended Andover and Harvard and then served in military intelligence during World War II. He wrote two more novels after The Gallery—Lucifer With a Book and A Cry of Children—but both met with a cold critical reception. He drank himself to death in Florence while still in his thirties.
Paul Fussell (1924–2012) was the author of many books on war and twentieth-century culture, including The Great War and Modern Memory, which won the National Book Award. His memoir Doing Battle: The Making of a Skeptic chronicles the time he spent fighting with the 103rd infantry division in World War II.
"A book by an ex—soldier that deals with the Americans in Itlay and that displays unmistakable talent…Mr. Burns shows the novelist’s specific gift in a brilliant way." — Edmund Wilson
"Burns has a brilliant facility for reproducing the sights, sounds, color, feel, and smell of the places he has seen. He uses this to startling effect to recapture what many Americans beyond the frontiers of their antiseptic homeland for the first time found in exotic and warped war centers as Casablanca, Fedhala, Algiers, and of course the twisted and diseased Napoli itself." — William Hogan, San Francisco Chronicle
"An important novel of our time." — William McFee, New York Sun
"No one will ever forget this book: a story torn from impassioned experience of modern wars in a shattered city of the ancient world. The Gallery is unique, unsparing, immediate; inextinguishable." — Shirley Hazzard