'All Soldiers Run Away :Alano's War The Story of A British Deserter' by Andy Owen

Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Michael Bully, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. Michael Bully

    Michael Bully Active Member

    Andy Owen is a former intelligence officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, now an author, and sometime lecturer on Philosophy and military ethics.

    This is a sympathetic account of the life of Alan Juniper, conscripted to the East End Rifles at the of 22 in 1940. Alan Juniper deserted twice in World War 2, firstly in the 1942 Desert War , secondly in the Italian campaign of 1944. In fact whilst on the run in Italy, he lived in a village in Umbria, being befriended by the locals,living and working with them. Alan Juniper ( who died in 2016) concealed his desertion, though the onset of dementia in his later years, and sympathetic treatment for PTSD from the Combat Stress charity, began to unravel what happened to him

    Drawing on Charles Glass’s ‘Deserters’ (2013) which showed the extent of desertion in World War 2, the book is written with the support of the family, and the writer acts as their advocate;

    “Alan did wrong his comrades by deserting them, but this wrong is more that excused by the fact that he was already a psychological casualty, who had been pushed past his limit by the service he had already given. “

    The writer also shares his own experiences, along with modern day researches into PTSD, and further studies of military psychology such as Ben Shephard’s ‘A War with Nerves’ (2000), Also the concepts of civic duty contract with individual conscience are examined, such as those discussed Aristotle. The writer also discusses whether individuals suffering from PTSD are more prone to dementia later in life. He looks at the ‘Shot at Dawn’ debate of World War 1 deserters of the early 2000’s.

    The writer shows a good grasp of military history, whilst showing the impact the conflict has on the men who are sent to fight, and made to endure far too much, however just the war is held to be.

    His conclusions are that

    "There are circumstances where all soldiers run away. There are circumstances where we all fail to be as brave as we would like, we are all at times intolerant of the actions of others more because in them we see our own faults."

    Personally got totally gripped by the book, and hope that this book will pave the way for more studies of World War 2 desertion.
    Chris C and dbf like this.

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