Just before Halloween, the New York Institute for the Humanities sponsored a panel discussion about Vasily Grossman and Curzio Malaparte, two writers who worked as war correspondents on opposite sides of the Eastern Front during WWII. When it was Chris Hedges turn to speak, it became clear that he believed the most significant divide between the two writers to be not geographical or narrowly political, but primarily moral. The panelists were too polite to duke out the merits of realistic writing versus the fantastic mode or the value of giving voice to war's victims (Grossman) rather than focusing on those in power (Malaparte) right then and there. Too bad, we would have liked to hear panelist and Malaparte translator Walter Murch come to Malaparte's defense.
Last month, the radio program On The Media gave Hedges an opportunity to discuss war writing, Grossman's bravery and what he terms Malaparte's "war pornography" in more depth. It takes a minute, but an audio player should load right on this very page.
By the way, it's worth listening to this entire episode of On The Media, which took "The Future of the Book Industry" as its theme.