Pacifist, Or, My War and Louis Lepke

Donald Wetzel, Author, William Westlake, Introduction by, William Eastlake, Introduction by Permanent Press (NY) $22 (208p) ISBN 978-0-932966-70-4
Wetzel, who declared himself a conscientious objector before Pearl Harbor, spent the WW II years in prison. In this thin volume, he defines his pacifist belief with considerable passion, describing people he met and his struggle to maintain equilibrium especially during his time in a psycho ward. Louis Lepke of ""Murder, Incorporated'' befriended him briefly, possibly, suggests the author, because he mistook Wetzel for a fellow Jew. In writing about Lepke's death in the electric chair, Wetzel fetches far to draw a parallel with Hiroshima. The weakness of the book is the author's tendency to oversimplify. The war years are an era when it was ``morally correct for a man to blow other men, women and children to bits . . .''; the average citizen believes that ``America is good and Russia is bad and the bomb is necessary to our happiness.'' Although Wetzel's thinking is sometimes fuzzy, his writing is pungent. Lepke ``was considered by many to be the leading murderer, in the private sector, of his day.'' A fourth of July parade is ``a kind of rain dance for war.'' (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1986
Release date: 05/01/1986
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