There's an interesting post at the Ragged Soldier blog (which by the way is one of those blogs whose url is completely different to its name) about books. The challenge is to name two different books - one fiction and one non-fiction - that bring the past alive for you; I think that it's implicit that it's military history that we are referring to. The two fiction books recommended therein - which I know is not what I just said - have been downloaded to my kindle and only await the satisfactory conclusion to the current adventures of either the Earl of Emsworth or Lieutenant Alan Lewrie, whichever comes first, before being read.
David pinched the idea from someone else, so my first thought was that I would pinch it from him in turn. My second thought was that given my current struggle for inspiration I would spin the thing out by doing a different such post for each of a number of historical periods. My third thought is that I will probably find great difficulty in keeping that going and it will fizzle out embarrassingly quickly. Despite the third thought almost certainly being accurate I am nevertheless going to go with thought number two, and shall start with the Second World War.
As my non-fiction book I have picked a memoir: 'The Last Enemy' by Richard Hillary. Notwithstanding the cover pictured above, it's about far more than flying in combat. As others have observed, Hillary was a writer who flew, not a flyer who wrote.
Clearly the best fiction written with World War II as its setting is 'Catch-22', but as powerful as that novel's exposure of the futility of war is, I don't think it really speaks to the objective of bringing alive a time and place. So I am going to choose Evelyn Waugh's finest work 'The Sword of Honour' trilogy, which is based on the author's own experiences in the army, but also documents the home front and the changing nature of society during the war years.
Thanks for the mention, and good choices! The originator of this little challenge was of course Alan at 'Duchy of Tragardland', so he deserves the credit.ReplyDelete
My blog was first intended to be 'The Russet-Coated Captain' - after old ironsides - but I got as far as setting up the URL etc before thinking to check if anyone had used the name already, and of course then found that someone had! As they say, p*ss poor planning, etc etc . Actually I like 'The Ragged Soldier' better anyway.