Due to a book project I've been working on, I started to read Väinö Linna's classic war novel Tuntematon sotilas/The Unknown Soldier for the first time in my life. I'd earlier avoided the novel, mainly because I've always been a bit irritated at the notion of books one has to read for reasons larger than life (i.e. patriotism or the Fatherland or some such nonsense), but I was very glad to note I liked the book, was even thrilled by it.
The Unknown Soldier tells about the so called Continuation War in which Finland and the Soviet Union fought against each other. The war started in 1941 and ended in 1944. One of the biggest questions in Finnish history is whether Finland fought alongside Nazi Germany or whether it had its own war with the Soviets. The book is one of those realistic war novels, with the eye sight fixed on the everyday of the battling soldiers, their camaraderie, their fears, frustrations, hopes and anger. There are no heroes in this novel. The war is ugly, chaotic and violent. No one knows why they're fighting - only the higher officers have some idea and even that is filled with stupid notions of Greater Finland.
The Unknown Soldier has dated somewhat and we've had more realistic war novels since, but what keeps the book fresh is that it's polyphonic. There's not a single truth in the novel, there are only multiple narrators (or, actually, narratees) that present their variations of the situation. Linna writes warmly and empathetically of each and everyone of them, even the most obnoxious officers. And his battle scenes are quite good. He really captures the chaotic essence of war - well, as well he should, since he was himself at the war.
The book is available in English. The English translation came out from Putnam in the US and Collins in the UK in 1957, and I believe it was the same translation. For some reason or another, the translator's name isn't mentioned anywhere in the book. The translation is abridged (the reports on how heavily differ), and it's also clumsy with the Finnish idioms (which the book is full of). It's a miracle the translation should be so bad, since it's reported to be the work of one Alex Matson, a Finnish literary essayist, who spent many years in the 1920s living abroad and travelling the world seas. (Thanks for this tip to Ossi Kokko!)
However, it's the only English translation, and it's been used repeatedly even by Väinö Linna's Finnish publisher, WSOY (see the photo above for their edition). They've published several editions of the English translation - still with no translator's name attached. Seems like you could manage to buy the book via Amazon.
There's also the Ace edition from 1958, which is seemingly scarce (see above). The cover illustration is made by someone famous, but I forget who. The illustration was used in Finland in some entirely other paperback, but I forget even that one!
Edit: there's a small news item from 2012 saying that Penguin has bought the rights for Linna's novel and they are putting the new translation out in the near future. Liesl Yamaguchi is the translator.