Posted by on Oct 5, 2012 in | 0 comments

A Jewish American newspaperman has an unhappy love affair with an American girl in Rome. He later covers the Israeli-Arab war of 1948, falls in love with a refugee from Europe, and sees her die in the defense of a fortress. Not a Zionist before, he now embraces the cause.

An American Newspaper man JOSEPH VICTOR is in Rome while he awaits a possible assignment in Moscow. There he meets and falls in love with an American girl named PRICILLA “PAT” GREENE. Their affair, however, is brief as Joseph becomes jealous of COUNT ANTONIO ARIANO, who also has designs on Pricilla. As he comes to terms with his broken relationship, Joseph gets a new assignment in Palestine to cover the Arab and Israeli uprising. Joseph’s good friend and fellow columnist KEVIN O’CONNOR likens the unrest in the Middle East to the Irish-English clash back home, giving rise to his great sympathy for the Jews. Ironically, Joseph, a Jew himself, is ambivalent and doesn’t warm to the Zionist cause. Joseph finds safe passage on a freighter, and there he meets ANNA and her little girl, MIA. Anna is a Jewish refugee who spent time in the concentration camps where she lost her husband and parents. During their voyage, Joseph and Anna fall in love, and by the time they reach Haifa, there is word of a “new” Jewish state. Anna and Mia head for a country farm while Joseph covers the war. Not long after Anna and Mia settle in, Joseph arrives at the fortress at Kaubab, a short distance from Anna. There he meets DOCTOR MORRIS FEINBERG. Feinberg calls Joseph a “neutral,” meaning that Joseph isn’t passionate about the Jewish cause. This stings Joseph and gives him pause. The next day Mia is killed while playing in a field when an Egyptian plane drops a bomb. Distraught by her loss, Anna decides to help the resistance and ends up at the fortress at Kaubab where she is reunited with Joseph. A few days later, under a dark blue sky, the two make love for the first time. The next morning, Anna strolls amongst the golden fields where she happily reminisces about the previous evening when a fighter plane strafes the field with bullets, killing her. A stone-faced Joseph watches as Anna’s body is lowered into her grave. The fighting has now subsided and a treaty appears to be on the horizon. When Kevin O’Connor asks him if he is coming back to Rome, a stoic Joseph says he is staying, to help the cause.

“For here is Robert Nathan in a new role, writing not the fantasies of which he is a master, but the story of a lonely and gifted man caught in the tide of the traditions of his people and swept, through struggling against this tide, into recognition of himself… We have been waiting for such a novel as this on the theme of Israel. It is here now and written, as it should be, by a poet.”

Leonard Wibberley
Los Angeles Times