The Forest of the Hanged

Liviu Rebreanu

The story of a Romanian soldier in the Austro-Hungarian army in WWI who is forced to confront his own reasons for fighting.
Publication date:
April 2017
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
Series :
Casemate Classic War Fiction
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781612004686

Dimensions : 190 X 132 mm
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• Third season of Casemate's successful Classic War Fiction series

Portrays WWI from an unusual perspective; that of a Romanian soldier on the Eastern Front, in the Austro-Hungarian army

By acclaimed Romanian author Liviu Rebreanu, described by the Glasgow Herald as ‘one of the greatest novelists of all time'

During the First World War, just behind the eastern front, there was a forest, where Austrians and Hungarians used to hang deserters. To this place came Apostol Bologa, a young Romanian officer eager to serve his country. Born in a Romanian region of Transylvania which was then under Hungarian rule, he had naturally enough joined the Austro-Hungarian army. But soon Romania itself entered the war, and Bologa found himself fighting his own people.

The Forest of the Hanged asks a fundamental question about war: namely, why does a man fight? Apostol condemns an officer to death for desertion and attempting to give information to the enemy. He watches the execution of the officer with satisfaction until he witnesses a fellow soldier's grief and pity for the dead man. At this point his world shifts. His growing self-doubt and uncertainty lead him to question beliefs he once held without question. Unprepared for his own reaction when he is once again called to sit on a court martial, he finds that he too must go to the forest.

This very rare, richly descriptive novel lays bare the inner conflict engendered by a total war, yet seldom expressed.


A dark and depressing story with little to uplift the spirits until Bologa's moment of enlightenment, but nevertheless a valued and essential reprint of a classic war fiction work.
Books Monthly