Discussion in 'Books, Films, TV, Radio' started by Gage, Mar 12, 2006.
I hated Bennett SO MUCH.
That's my standard response whenever I'm at a BBQ! Confuses people!
Ensors Endeavour - Vincent Orange - This is a biography of Mick Ensor who ended the war as a Wing Commander in Coastal Command, DSO and bar, DFC and bar at the age of 23. Plenty of meat to this biography from family and fellow servicemen although I'd say quite limited contributions from Mick himself. The author regularly mentions the stats of hours flown, night and day, presumably as he's leafing through Mick's logbook no doubt trying to flesh the story out a bit. I'm about thirty pages from the end and it's got to the usual postwar bit where my attention span drops rapidly. On the whole though it wasn't bad at all, quite interesting to hear from a service that isn't covered as regularly as others.
Battle on 42nd Street
My Underground War - Sapper Clack - This is a little 100 page book printed by Amazon. It’s the memoirs of Albert Clack, (not sure when it was written but he died in 1984 and his son has edited the book). Taken prisoner at the fall of France he spent most of the war mining, slipping away at the start of the long march and making his way home via Odessa. Quite a few references of the British Free Corps along with his admission to killing two of his guards make this a bit different from some other accounts.
Skyways to Berlin - Redding and Leyshon. Wartime publication about the American 8th Air Force. I got this as part of a job lot and I've already listed it on ebay even though I'm only halfway through. It has some good first hand accounts and the bravery of the crews is unquestionable but that's the positives from me. I appreciate there is probably a large propaganda element to the publication, but I really can't believe the authors genuinely deluded themselves into taking the combat claims seriously. There's a whole section on the 'yardstick' by which crew claims are scrutinized, concluding that if anything, the official numbers are conservative! On one raid they claim 42 fighters were destroyed for no loss. Another part says 80 bombers were lost over a certain period, but on the flip side 860 fighters were destroyed. I'm used to reading exaggerated claims in other air warfare accounts, but this is something else to me. It's also impossible to mention a person without also saying which town and state he's from. It gets very tedious when crews of ten are listed! Like many other books of the period I suppose this is a curio, but it's certainly not for me. Plenty of other books on the shelf!
This book has been mentioned recently in another thread regarding Charles Upham VC- ‘Mark of the Lion’ by Kenneth Sandford. This book is described as a ‘New Zealand Classic’ on the cover and I agree with that description. It was first published in 1962 but does not read like an older book. The author did a great job gathering sources and anecdotes and at times the book seems a little too crammed, however, Upham’s story is a great one, so it didn’t bother me too much.
I won’t rehash Upham’s actions here, apart from saying that during the time he earned his first VC in Greece and Crete I can’t believe that he constantly had dysentery and was living off cans of condensed milk scrounged by his batman. Next time my kids complain about things not going their way I may throw them this book to read.
The author is pretty fair in his descriptions of Upham and doesn’t shy away from his stubbornness and argumentative nature which marked him out as different from most. Upham had a torrid time as POW and his personality constantly drove him to attempt escapes whilst friends were telling him he didn’t have long to wait for liberation. It nearly resulted in his death on occasions.
Soon after liberation Upham volunteered to join a unit tracking down Nazis but was rejected due to being an ex-POW. Something that I did not know. I would recommend this book if you are interested in Upham, Greece, Crete and the Western Desert. The chapter on the Ruweisat Ridge where Upham was captured was particularly good.
The author lives in Japan and is fluent in Japanese. Biblio includes lots of British and Japanese primary sources.
I can read German, but I'm afraid I find the old typefaces too difficult to deal with for a long read - maybe my eyes aren't what they used to be . . .
Wodehouse and Biggles in the South Seas.
Solid stuff with a cocktail for a balmy Saturday night.
I was an Eighth Army Soldier - Crawford. Slim wartime publication that Owen kindly sent my way. It’s the experiences of a driver as narrated to a journalist. No heroics at all, this is the nitty gritty of Western Desert warfare from the supply line point of view, mainly concerned with coping with sand and flies and the constant lack of water. A nice piece of social history that I’m passing on to an old colleague whose Dad was a Desert Rat.
Fatal Decision by Carlo D’Este because F de P says it is the best book about Anzio.
Fatal Decision began well but either the storyline or my concentration waned uncontrollably. Perhaps aided by Covid. To begin with I could pick it up and read several paragraphs or even pages with great interest but having done so lost my place in the narrative I found it informative but learned nothing about Anzio that I didn't know before and if anything found myself more confused than when I started. The author jumps from one place to another drawing in comments and stories regarding
Very Senior Officers and the occasional Other Ranks.
The authors knowledge, particularly of British Forces I found to be abysmal drawing on passages from previous publications but that is not unusual when reading of Anzio.
This was a battle in which the Artillery played a significant role but barely gains mention from the parts of the book that I read.
The saying "No Anzio, No Rome, No Guns, No Anzio" was attributed by General Penney (GOC 1st Infantry Division)
to the CIGS in London.
Not for me I' m afraid it was a lesson on how to make a story overcomplicated and left me feeling angry.
The Devil's Brigade, Adleman & Walton, 1966, Chilton Books.
I'm well into this now!
I'm sure I bought this after hearing an interview with Mr Barber but I cannot remember which podcast that was on.
Anyone read Neither Fear Nor Hope: The Wartime Memoirs of The German Defence of Cassino. By: Etterlin von Senger und. Publishers: Greenhill Books: 1989. Has he done any other books? Not a bad price @ 35 quid, and its a hardback version.
This book looks more interesting and rare by the looks of it. Its only cost me 50 sheets.
The Bailey Bridge- Normal Uses (Military Engineering Volume III- Part III) 1944. Not checked out the author. Not sure there is one? Its a original from the War Office. It seems to have quite a few pages. Will report back later when it falls through the letter-box.
How the hell did you buy that original copy? More to the point, how much did you pay for it if you don't mind me asking?
You lucky chap if you got it for cheap has chip?. Blimey... Not happy. I've all of the Canadians war diaries from Jan- June 44. I call these lot the head-less chickens. They did not give a shit.
What a fine outfit.
The CO was even more of a mad chap. Its criminal that this mad outfit f. Off out of the Italian Campaign.
Sorry I don’t know how to put a picture up( the IT dept has gone out) . I’ve just finished reading BELONGING to 2 TROOP. It’s a memoir of their Falklands war. The author Robbie Burns was the Troop Capt . He was asked by his guys to put their time into words, it’s a very straight account of their time and most importantly he makes it about the troop and he hardly mentions his self . I can’t recommend it enough.It’s published by RIVERSIDE PUBLISHING SOLUTIONS, he’s funded it solely his self so their time is remembered
Here is the cover Brian.
Thanks very much for that , they all had reunion a few weeks ago and over 30 turned up
Separate names with a comma.