Had to go to for this couldn t find it in a bookstore Classic Eastern European dry wit and ironic fatalism the perfect attitude for an unenthusiastic soldier marching off to a war he doesn t understand, doesn t care to be involved in, and has nothing to gain by participating except maybe a marble headstone with his name on it, if even that If you appreciate Eastern European dark humor in the vein of Kundera, Wolfe, Gogol, or Bulgakov, you ll love this work The same can be said for Kurt Vonnegut s Slaughterhouse Five, Joseph Heller s Catch 22, or Mark Twain s hilarious short story A History of a Campaign that Failed appreciate the ironic, dark humor of these works, get The Good Soldier Svejk Highly recommended by this ex professor of English and lover of sarcastic, raucous, and irreverent literature. The Inspiration For Such Works As Joseph Heller S Catch 22, Jaroslav Ha Ek S Black Satire The Good Soldier Vejk Is Translated With An Introduction By Cecil Parrott In Penguin Classics.Good Natured And Garrulous, Vejk Becomes The Austro Hungarian Army S Most Loyal Czech Soldier When He Is Called Up On The Outbreak Of The First World War Although His Bumbling Attempts To Get To The Front Serve Only To Prevent Him From Reaching It Playing Cards, Getting Drunk And Becoming A General Nuisance, The Resourceful Vejk Uses All His Natural Cunning And Genial Subterfuge To Deal With The Doctors, Police, Clergy And Officers Who Chivvy Him Towards Battle The Story Of A Little Man Caught In A Vast Bureaucratic Machine, The Good Soldier Vejk Combines Dazzling Wordplay And Piercing Satire To Create A Hilariously Subversive Depiction Of The Futility Of War.Cecil Parrott S Vibrant, Unabridged And Unbowdlerized Translation Is Accompanied By An Introduction Discussing Ha Ek S Turbulent Life As An Anarchist, Communist And Vagranty, And The Everyman Character Of Vejk This Edition Also Includes A Guide To Czech Names, Maps And Original Illustrations By Josef Ladas.Jaroslav Ha Ek 1883 1923 Besides This Book, The Writer Wrote Than 2,000 Short Works, Short Stories, Glosses, Sketches, Mostly Under Various Pen Names.If You Enjoyed The Good Soldier Vejk, You Might Like Mikhail Bulgakov S The Master And Margarita, Also Available In Penguin Classics. Brilliant Perhaps The Funniest Novel Ever Written George Monbiot Ha Ek Was A Comic Genius Sunday Times Ha Ek Was A Humorist Of The Highest Calibre.A Later Age Will Perhaps Put Him On A Level With Cervantes And Rabelais Max Brod It s hard to pin a quality rating on a translation, but the writing here is excellent, regardless of whether it s by Hasek or the translator from Czech.This is the only work I know of that finds humor in WW I The hero, Svejk, is as dumb as a fox, similar to Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers He instinctively runs circles around the officers and civilian officials who keep trying to get him to his regiment, where they expect he will be killed immediately Along the way Sveijk gums up all the grandiose plans of his superiors Read this for the laughs, not for historical facts It helps to know a little about the history of the Austro Hungarian Empire Some experience as an enlisted man in the US Army would also help set the stage for understanding where Sveijk is coming from. Svejk is the Sad Sack of the Austrian Hungarian Army It is a very funny book and his oblivious antics would drive any normal person insane, let alone any authoritarian figure in a military environment I keep several copies on hand, paperback naturally, and when I run into friends, especially who are in the military, who have not read it I provide them a copy It is definitely worth the read and read again. A must read, once perhaps, for any serious military historian or historian of early 20th Century Europe Hasek s writing style is varied, depending on circumstances and sobriety , which can make the book a challenge to read sometimes but that s part of the story too At times absurdly hilarious and often scandalous in its treatment of the royalty, this book was banned throughout much of Europe in the 1930s While not as powerfully simple as All Quiet on the Western Front, this book carries a strong message about the waste and folly of military campaigns of the day I enjoyed reading this book and I passed it along to another historian because, as good as it was, I doubted I d reread it anytime soon.