Thursday, October 18, 2018

Red is for Courage

Author Steve Fisher's novel “Red is for Courage” was published by Argosy in November, 1943. It was written as a testament to the Red Cross and their sacrifices during WWII. Fisher, known for his pulp runs and military fiction in the 30s, 40s and 50s, had many of his works adapted for film. Arguably the most notable is the 1943 submarine themed “Destination Tokyo” starring Cary Grant. “Red is for Courage” was purchased by 20th Century Fox with the intention of an adaptation called “Red Cross Girl”. From my understanding the film never came to fruition.

In many ways this is a classic love story, a turbulent and rocky romance using WWII battlefields as the backdrop. It's told from the first person perspective of Willie, a Red Cross volunteer who's serving in battle scarred Madrid. Willie is best friends with fellow nurse Tony, who's in love with a female nurse named Noel who in turn loves Willie. This love triangle is the basis of the book. Both Tony and Willie are introduced to a war journalist named Kadi Rogers and then the triangle becomes a rather complicated thing. 

Willie declares his love for Kadi after an eventful and romantic evening. Kadi rejects his advances and soon leaves for Paris. The story then takes a fast track, covering a lot of battles and a whole lot of bandages and blood. Over the course of a few years we follow Willie's progress through the war and his eventual relocation back to New York to become a private practice physician. It's a long but memorable journey following Tony, Willie, Noel and Kadi's wartime service and their eventual post-war lives. 

From a romance genre perspective, this one nails it. But, this is a Men's Action Adventure blog and I'm sure you're all scratching your heads. I will say that there's enough battlefield action here to please genre fans. In fact, the whole climax of the book is a stirring recount of the Battle of Dunkirk, reliving a harrowing quest to ship soldiers across the canal and away from the incoming German forces. This portion is worth the price of admission. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and will probably re-read it at some point.