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The General of the Dead Army (novel)

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Title: The General of the Dead Army (novel)  
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Subject: Ismail Kadare, Chronicle in Stone, Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century, Index of Albania-related articles
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The General of the Dead Army (novel)

The General of the Dead Army
Albanian cover
Author Ismail Kadare
Original title Gjenerali i Ushtrisë së vdekur
Country Albania
Language Albanian
Genre History
Publisher Sh.B. Naim Frashëri
Publication date
Published in English
Pages 264
ISBN ISBN 99927-45-53-3

The General of the Dead Army is a 1963 novel by the Albanian writer [2]


In the early 1960s, nearly 20 years since the Second World War ended, an Italian general, accompanied by a priest who is also an Italian army colonel, is sent to Albania to locate and collect the bones of his countrymen who had died during the war and return them for burial in Italy. As they organise digs and disinterment, they wonder at the scale of their task. The general talks to the priest about the futility of war and the meaninglessness of the enterprise. As they go deeper into the Albanian countryside they find they are being followed by another general who is looking for the bodies of German soldiers killed in World War II. Like his Italian counterpart, the German struggles with a thankless job looking for remains to take back home for burial, and questions the value of such gestures of national pride.


The General of the Dead Army (Italian: Il generale dell'armata morta) is an 1983 Italian drama film, based on the novel, directed by Luciano Tovoli.

The book is also adapted as a play for theaters and is a common play in Albanian theaters and in some neighboring countries.[3]


The novel has received many positive reviews. Richard Eder of New York Times stated that "Kadare advances wryly and dryly into the darkness…[he] doesn't do messages; he brings them to lethal life".[4] The Boston Globe called it "a powerful and poignant Albanian novel". Alan Brownjohn of The Times Literary Supplement praised the novel by calling it "a profoundly moving in poignant details".[5]

It also made its way into Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century.


  1. ^ RICHARD EDER for NY Times, September 30, 2008
  2. ^
  3. ^ The General of the Dead Army in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia
  4. ^ Editorial Reviews
  5. ^ Alan Brownjohn for Times Literary Supplement

See also

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