Homage to Catalonia

By George Orwell

Rating: 3 stars

I enjoyed this memoir of Orwell’s time serving in the fight against fascism during the Spanish Civil War. This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while but it wasn’t until it turned up on the reading list for a course on the Spanish Civil War that I’m doing in December which gave me the kick to read it.

One problem that I, having no prior knowledge whatsoever of the War, found is that Orwell throws you right into it, with very little background. I found myself googling various acronyms that he splattered through without explanation. The book is a very good memoir of the war as he saw it, and the problems that he encountered, both military and political, but I wouldn’t recommend it for an overview of the Spanish Civil War.

Book details

ISBN: 9780156421171
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc.(Harvest Book)
Year of publication: 1938

Pig Ignorant

By Nicholas Fisk

Rating: 3 stars

This is a short memoir of Fisk’s early life between leaving school in the late ’30s and his being called up for the war in ’44 or ’45 (not actually made clear). I quite like Fisk’s work and I enjoyed this broad-brush picture of life before and during the war.

Book details

ISBN: 9780744523515
Publisher: Walker
Year of publication: 1992

‘Rommel?’ ‘Gunner Who?’: A Confrontation in the Desert

By Spike Milligan

Rating: 2 stars

This is the second part of Millagan’s war memoirs, this time in Africa, and I’m really not sure what to make of it. It’s written in Milligan’s trademark surreal style, with annotated pictures and occasional “Hitlergrams” (little imagined conversations, between Hitler others, often commenting on something earlier in the chapter) but it also has quite stunning description of the landscape and the odd touching moment when you feel the horror of war. But the problem that I had is that the book doesn’t really seem to be hugely coherent, nor does it give you much of an overview of what’s happening, although I guess this is what it’s like for a lowly gunner in the army.

I’d say one for Milligan fans only.

Book details

ISBN: 9780140041071
Publisher: Penguin
Year of publication: 1974

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