Reviewed by Raanan Geberer for Readers' Favorite
World War I had a very complicated history, but there was one man – a fictional character – who stumbled into at least half of the important battles of the war. That man is Peter Kovacs, correspondent for the New York Evening Post and hero of Kovacs’ War by Donald Robert Wilson. When war breaks out in Europe, his boss sends him to the continent, thinking it will be a short campaign. Once he gets there, of course, not only does Kovacs find out that this is not so, but he finds himself pressed into service as an unwilling courier of secrets for the British Admiralty. At the same time, he keeps running into a mysterious man who claims to be a professor, and he finds himself involved with a beautiful woman whose charms he can’t resist – despite the fact that he has a family back home. And to top it off, powerful forces back in the States, seeking to build sympathy for the Allies, aren’t pleased with the anti-war tone of Kovacs’ articles.
It’s plain to see that Donald Robert Wilson knows the history of World War I inside out. There are numerous movies, TV shows and books about World War II, but the first war increasingly seems like ancient history – and that’s why it so important that Wilson is able to humanize it in the person of Kovacs. His writing is clear and concise, and he makes us see the absurdity of the European rivalries that set the war in motion. By bringing in people like Sir Winston Churchill and George Patton, he shows us that the roots of the Second World War can be found in the first. For history-minded readers who are interested in the early decades of the 20th century, Kovacs’ War is a welcome addition.