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"Hesse unerringly creates the feel of a fairy tale in the first paragraph of all these works but then proceeds to alter their development in an unmistakably 20th-century way. The title character of "Augustus," for
example, loses everything and passes through a series of tribulations, like the traditional fairy-tale hero, but attains happiness without regaining his fortune, looks, health, or the love and affection of his friends. Slightly more than half these tales were written during World War I and consequently deal with the great themes of war and peace, life, suffering, and death. Particularly poignant is "A Dream of the Gods," which depicts the enthusiasm that greeted the outbreak of war while subtly exposing its folly. Lay readers will enjoy this as much as literary specialists."--Michael T. O'Pecko, Towson State Univ., Md. for Library Journal