Morley Torgov


"The War to End All Wars is a satirical, plot-driven narrative enhanced by Torgov’s fast-paced, polished prose, whimsically weaving the cosmopolitan with the provincial."
The Globe & Mail

"Torgov has a good way with words, and the novel’s opening sentence would be right at home in a great war novel like All Quiet on the Western Front or Johnny Got His Gun…Readers who value character and style will find much treasure here."
National Post

Malcolm Lester Books/98


In World War One, known as "the war to end all wars," it was a peculiar fact that Jewish soldiers often fought on opposite sides, many of them in the German army under the Kaiser, and many more on the Allied side in the armies of Russia, Britain, France, and the United States. Elliot Pines (born Eliezer Pinsky) is a lowly private in a regiment of the Russian army that is wiped out in 1917 at Linz on the Austrian front, during a German assault. In that German regiment was Karl Sternberg, also a Jew and a highly decorated officer.

By a believable stroke of coincidence, these two men find themselves living in the small but thriving community of Oreville, Michigan in the mid 1920s. Now they are fighting another war - this time as business competitors and suitors.

Among Elliot's formidable adversaries is Karl's sister-in-law, the redoubtable Hannah Sternberg.

The stakes grow higher and higher. It is prohibition in the United States and Oreville is on the main road used by bootleggers transporting booze from Canada to the speakeasies of Detroit where the Purple Gang holds sway.

As in all of Morley Torgov's novels, humor abounds, partly because the population of Oreville possess wit, feistiness, and cunning and partly because the conflicts demand ingenious schemes of survival.

But war involves death and tragedy. Elliot Pines has at last found a cause worthy of sacrifice and this is war.

Morley Torgov has written four other novels including the classics, A Good Place to Come From and The Outside Chance of Maximillian Glick for which he won the Leacock Medal for humour. His work has been adapted for television, stage and film. These include three full-length plays by Israel Horovitz which ran for a year each in New York City and are performed regularly in community theaters in the U.S.