cover image War at Sixteen: Autobiography

War at Sixteen: Autobiography

Julian Green, Julien Green. Marion Boyars Publishers, $24.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-7145-2969-1

Green, an American who was born in Paris in 1900 and raised there and who is the author of plays, essays and novels ( The Distant Lands ), continues to explore his coming-of-age in this second volume of memoirs, following An American in Paris. Green volunteered to fight for France during WW I, when he was only 16. His wartime exposure to violence and death, hauntingly recounted here, caused him to make a commitment to pacifism. His other main concern between the ages of 16 and 20 was the conflict he felt between his intense religiosity (he was a convert to Roman Catholicism) and his blossoming sexuality. Both naive and devout, Green sensed his growing attraction to other men and redoubled his efforts to lead a ``pure'' existence. His plans to become a priest were upset when his father intervened and sent him to the United States to continue his education. Green effectively evokes the struggles of a young man in the throes of discovering his true nature. (Dec.)