Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Book Review: Doom Platoon by Len Levinson

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Originally published by Belmont Tower Books in 1978, this slim novel tells the story of one Sergeant Mazursky, as he leads 2nd Platoon on a desperate mission; to hold back an entire German Panzer division during the opening moves of the Ardennes Offensive, better known to most as the Battle of the Bulge. With only 29 men, can Mazursky and his unlucky few stand their ground and slow the Panzers for the few precious hours their division needs in order to fall back and regroup?

I'm not going to give away any spoilers, but the story takes more than a few twists and turns along the way, dividing itself into three pretty clear arcs. Even though this book was written years before The Sergeant or The Rat Bastards novels, you can certainly see the origins of Mahoney and Butsko in Sgt. Mazursky, as well as the sort of rogues gallery of other squadmates that pop up in those novels, and the sorts of conversations the characters engage in during down time. Writer/Blogger Hank Brown states, and I'll agree, that if you've never read Levinson before this might not be the best introduction to his WW2 fiction, but if you like his war stories already, this would be a neat look into the genesis of those stories.

Overall, this is a really quick read. I zipped through the book start to finish in a long evening's reading, most of it on my cell phone. Ben Bridges of Piccadilly Publishing has partnered with Levinson to publish a bunch of Len's old books under Bridges' own PULP HEAVEN imprint. Overall the ebook version is quite well done, with only a couple of minor formatting errors, probably due to OCR conversion. Other than that, the ebook is very nicely put together, and has a couple of essays at the end written by Levinson, discussing his life and career.


5 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

Great title

Sean McLachlan said...

Nice to see more and more old pulps getting reprinted.
You read it on your phone? I've never understood why anyone would do that. One of my editors at Osprey read my novel on his phone, and it runs to 95,000 words! Save your eyes, man!

Justin Aucoin said...

Looks like Bruce Campbell on the cover

Len Levinson said...

This is Len Levinson speaking. Thanks for the great review. I haven't read this novel for a long time but remember having a great time writing it. It was my first war novel and I felt like a virgin. You mentioned that I was partnering with Ben Bridges. I never heard of Ben Bridges. I deal with Dave Whithead.

Jack Badelaire said...

Sorry about the confusion, Len, Dave Whitehead is Ben Bridges - that's Dave's pen name.