Thursday, October 12, 2017

Catch up on some reading....

..if only because I rate these VERY highly and recommend wholeheartedly..


Prompted by the excellent "Airborne" (see book reviews), I was prompted to go back and read those original two books I read all those years ago... have to say I was not disappointed, despite only being able to find number 2, a swift Kindle purchase saw me launched into volume 1. Radcliffe wrote three WWII books loosely linked, but on different subjects - some of the characters in one book may appear briefly in another, but in essence they are all stand alone and can be read in isolation. This one, the first one, is based about the American bomber offensive in Europe and the truly terrible time they had of day light bombing deep into Germany prior to the existence of good long range fighter cover...  so the book is about an American bomber wing based in eastern England, about the sorties, the casualties, the hideous attrition, the relationships they form with local people, their mental state, their physical state..  absolutely excellent...  read this, and then read Deighton's "Goodbye Mickey Mouse" for some of the best (fictional) insight into the American bomber offensives..10
..for the second book, Radcliffe shifts focus to the Battle of the Atlantic - the story is about the crew of a Flower class corvette (*sound familiar? ) but there is also a truly compelling side story based around pone of the officers upbringing in Uruguay, and features certain events around Graf Spee. Once again the book is about all aspects of what it was like to serve in corvettes, the discomfort, the poor food, the cold, the danger, and the fear of fighting a foe that (at the time of the book) was largely undetectable..  basic ASDIC only.. superb... *then go read the "Cruel Sea" you know you want to...  in my view this boiok is easily as good as Montserrat10
..for the third book - only recently released despite having been finished for some time, Radcliffe shifts focus to the fall of Singapore...  in one of the blurbs he wrote that the reason the book wasn't originally published at the time of the first two was because his publisher told him it was too grim reading..  so for this one he self published..  glad he did as it too is an excellent read... the story is based round an RAF pilot who after completing training in one of the northern squadrons ends up being posted to Singapore in time for the defeat..  he is captured, and put to work on the Burma railroad, and the book is about what it was like to be a prisoner, the conditions, the disease, the filth, the lack of food, the brutal and inhumane treatment, and the work...  very, very, dark, but a hugely readable book as he also describes what life would have been like for family and wives/girlfriends at home...  not finished it yet, score when I do... 

4 comments:

  1. Never heard of this chap- but as good as Monserrat will take some doing. 3 Corvettes is truly excellent- but of its time as for Monserrats non naval stuff I have a copy of the Kapilan of Malta which needs reading ....

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    1. Andy - the guy is a born story teller... did the Cruel Sea for O level at school, but I honestly do think his is as good... B.t.w - finished the last one and it's another 10... we all think we know a little about the Burma railroad, but this was an eye opener....

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  2. Thanks for the reviews. Will put these on the reading list. The Cruel Sea was one of my favourites as a young lad.

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    1. Prufrock - I don't think you'll be disapointed...

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