John Horne Burns (1916-1953) attended
Andover and Harvard and then served in military intelligence during World War II.
He wrote two more novels after The Gallery—Lucifer With a Book
and A Cry of Children—but both met with a cold critical reception. He
drank himself to death in Florence while still in his thirties.
Burns’s early death at the age of 36 led to the subsequent neglect of this searching book, which captures the shock the war dealt to the preconceptions and ideals of the victorious Americans.