title "Tuntematon Sotilas") by Väinö Linna
, published in 1954, also adapted as two movies (in 1955 by Edvin Laine
and 1985 by Rauni Mollberg
) and an opera (as far as I know). It's set in the Continuation War
Before this book, the Finnish war stories glorified the heroic battles of life and death; now, Linna presented the realistic description of war. He had been there, on the front; He knew what the Finnish soldiers did during the Continuation War, he knew a lot of good war stories.
So, he presented dirty, swearing soldiers who beated the s$#@% out of the commies. (Some critic even counted how many swearwords were used in the book!) The army wanted to present the mighty, bold boys who glorious fought the overwhelmingly powerful Soviet army. One of the point was that the men disobeyed the nitpicky captain Lammio - the man represented just what the war schools wanted to build, a Good Leader, but Lammio lacked one critical part, and that was understanding his men.
However, it painted the portrait of a Finnish korpisoturi truthfully.
These days, it's one of the most widely known Finnish novels. (Though, I have to admit, the original is better than the English translation I've seen...)
The book was re-released in early 2000s in its uncensored form with its original title "Sotaromaani" ("War novel").
2001-11-16: I have now seen the DVD of the 1955 version of the movie, and I can just say that it's... excellent. Also, the subtitles are better than the novel translation. The DVD is a regionless (R0) PAL disc, and has Swedish and English subtitles. In the extras it also has some rather interesting propagandaish documentary movies from the war... =)