New York Times Bestseller: This “shocking” murder mystery addresses homophobia in the military during World War II (Richard Wright, author of Native Son).
The men in the barracks, wrenched from the normal pursuits of life, are being molded into warriors in a battle against the “others.” Isolated and fearful, they sometimes relieve their frustrations on the most disenfranchised civilians, namely homosexuals. But one weekend, one of them loses control and commits murder.
This tale of suspense is also a story ahead of its time, written by a young marine stationed at Quantico who would go on to become an Academy Award–winning director of such films as Elmer Gantry and The Blackboard Jungle. Sinclair Lewis, writing in Esquire, called Richard Brooks “a really important new writer” and The Brick Foxhole was acclaimed in the Saturday Reviewof Literature as “angry, rapid, stream-lined, and beautifully written . . . the best of the new stuff coming out of this war”—though the US Marines threatened the author with court-martial.
Eventually, the story was made into the movie Crossfire (with the hate crime in question changed to an act of anti-Semitic rather than antigay violence), which earned Brooks an Edgar Award for Best Motion Picture. Today, The Brick Foxhole remains both a twisting thriller and an early landmark of gay-themed fiction.