Verdict: THE PRICE FOR GLORY is an ambitious story that both tries to detail the trauma war leaves on those who live through it, and imagines what the world might be like if we’d learned those lessons rather than repeating those mistakes.
THE PRICE FOR GLORY by M.N. Snitz is, essentially, an alternate-reality novel covering the years preceding World War II and follows our hero, Abraham Steinermann over 50 years. Abe works as a financial professional, survives the Holocaust, and then finds himself a kind of moral and spiritual leader brushing elbows with the highest levels of U.S. and global power. Abe is a complicated hero who aspires to high ideals, but finds himself less successful when it comes to interpersonal relationships, especially with women.
Early in the novel, Abe is enraptured with both 19th Century Earl of Rochester John Wilmot, a real-world Libertine, and the early days of Hitler and the Nazis. In the narration, Abe is credited with helping the German government recover from their losses in the Great War through Abe’s skills as a financier. Believing himself to be safe from the persecution of history’s greatest fascists, Abe carries on an affair with his boss’s wife. Once that spectacularly falls apart, the brownshirts come for him.
Later in the novel, fictional U.S. President Bueford Robert-Lee—a kind of even worse Nixon with a southern accent affected in the text—looks to Abe for advice about, well, everything. He gives a eulogy for Abe after his death from a post-surgical aneurysm, and Abe is honored by the other characters for the remaining twenty or so pages. From Nazi-sympathizer to American hero, Abe’s journey is one that reads like wish-fulfillment fiction. He is revered, and even though he makes mistakes, his mistakes don’t really have any lingering consequences.
The highlights of the book are the discussions of military matters and the experience of war. Snitz definitely has experience with that world, having served as a Marine. Yet, for as much as the story tries to focus on the scars war leaves on all those who touch it, it doesn’t really land with readers. Instead, it seems like Abe is to surviving the trauma of war and coming out on the other side of it as the ultra-sexy protagonist of teenage writers’ romantic fiction is to being an awkward teen whose real-world love goes unrequited.
This is an ambitious effort and the story Snitz tells is an entertaining one. Yet, this book wants to be more than that. It wants to be a sharp literary commentary on the world we’ve lived in up to this point in history by changing the details of that history. In this respect, the book fails more than it succeeds. Still, the effort is worthy, the narration is lively, and the characters feel alive on the page.
~Joshua M. Patton for IndieReader