"The Last Enemy"
by Richard Hillary
trying to wean myself off fiction for a while. And I have found over the
years, that something which I can always rely on to lend a little gravity
to my existance, is a firsthand account of some major event. Now, there
isnít an event, in living history certainly, any more major than the Second
World War. Richard Hillary was 22 when he wrote this, his one and only
literary work. It is only a short book; some 176 pages in the copy I have.
But it is in a way the story of his life, certainly the part which mattered
most to him. He joined the RAF in 1939,when he was a 20 year old, Oxford
undergraduate. He gained his commission in the summer of 1940 - The Battle
of Britain; within a year had been flying combat missions, was shot down
and burned terribly, then underwent reconstructive surgery at the hands
of renowned plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe. After persuading the RAF
to allow him to fly again, Hillary was killed when his plane crashed on
a night training mission in 1942. He was 23.
account given of these young men and the way they approached their terrifying
missions, the loss of thier comades and probability of their own death,
is profoundly moving. However, this is not a recount of heroic exploit.
At itís heart is the question of the morality of war and self, what really
motivates the self in war.
we come to compare our own lives, to those who risked their lives on a
daily basis so that others might survive and a way of life that they believed
in, might survive ó we find that the relative peacetime we know, has trivialized
our existance and if anything, has made us lesser people.
yourself a favour, if you get this book try to find a copy with an Introduction
by Sebastian Faulks this really will help you to understand it all a lot
better than I.
Nathanielís Nutmeg ďHow One Manís Courage changed the course
by Giles Milton
Very interesting, straightforward history.
I love this kind of stuff. Hey, New Yorkers ó you really ought to read
this. Gotcha now, havenít I.
"ďEats, shoots & leavesĒ
by Lynne Truss
brilliant. But, it is a bit of an ďOh dear!Ē
If you consider the written word as a gauge of our cullture, then you
may be horrified by this.
Itís a book about punctuation, not language, not common usage, not grammar
but punctuation i.e.commas, apostrophes, full-stops etc.. How on earth
this magnificent woman managed to make this subject, one of, if not this
yearís most, entertaining read, is a welcome miracle.
Truss, I am thoroughly indebted to you. I now understand the subtle, yet
crucial importance of say, the semi-colon, which joins related sentances
where a full-stop would be a little heavy handed. By the way, Iím still
practising; Iíve nearly got the hang of ...
Ooh-eró scary isnít it!
on, am I suppose to put a question mark after a rhetorical question?
OK, itís going to take some getting used to, but Iím determined to have
And I forgot to mention; this book is hilarious.
By the way, those three dots ó theyíre called an ellipsis.