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Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall [Paperback]

Spike Milligan
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Oct 1986
'At Victoria station the R.T.O. gave me a travel warrant, a white feather and a picture of Hitler marked "This is your enemy." I searched every compartment, but he wasn't on the train...' Spike Milligan's on the march, blitzing friend and foe alike with his uproarious recollections of army life from enlistment to the landing at Algiers in 1943. Bathos, pathos and gales of drunken laughter, and insane military goonery explode in superlative Milliganese.

Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (30 Oct 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140035206
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140035209
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 11 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 239,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


The most irreverent, hilarious book about the war that I have ever read (Sunday Express)

Brilliant verbal pyrotechnics ... throwaway lines and marvelous anecdotes (Daily Mail)

Desperately funny, vivid, vulgar (Sunday Times)

Close in stature to Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear in his command of the profound art of nonsense (Guardian)

Milligan is the Great God to all of us (John Cleese)

The Godfather of Alternative Comedy (Eddie Izzard)

That absolutely glorious way of looking at things differently. A great man (Stephen Fry)

Manifestly a genius, a comic surrealist genius and had no equal (Terry Wogan)

A totally original comedy writer (Michael Palin) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Spike Milligan was born at Ahmednagar in India in 1918. He received his first education in a tent in the Hyderabad Sindh desert and graduated from there, through a series of Roman Catholic schools in India and England, to the Lewisham Polytechnic.

He then plunged into the world of Show Business, seduced by his first stage appearance, at the age of eight, in the nativity play of his Poona convent school. He began his career as a band musician, but has since become famous as a humorous scriptwriter and actor in both films and broadcasting. Spike received an honorary CBE in 1992.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
September 3rd, 1939. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
Before there was Python, there were the Goons. And before the Goons, there was Spike Milligan. In the six-book series that begins with "Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall", Milligan charts his own odyssey through World War II.
There's plenty of Milliganesque lunacy here, many many laughs, and not a little pathos, all told in an unabashedly sentimental and frequently endearingly naive tone. From the first page, where "a man named Chamberlain who did Prime Minister impressions got on the radio and said we were at war with Germany" to induction, training and eventual departure for North Africa, Milligan captures the essential unpreparedness and paradoxically indomitable spirit that infused the British war effort. The results are touched both by Milligan's own manic humor and the black depression that was its counterpart, and against which he struggled for much of his life.
A warning- Milligan's prose is addictive. You will not be able to stop with "Hitler", but will be forced into the continuing story in "Rommel? Gunner Who?", "Monty: His Part in My Victory" and "Mussolini: His Part in My Downfall". It just gets more loony, but it's a must-read.
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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, and yet so sad 22 Feb 2003
By Pansori
I'm usually not one to read autobios, but since it is Spike Milligan I made the exception. It was funny, just as I expected it to be, but there were parts that were very moving and sad; as should be expected I suppose for a WWII novel. His accounts of the absurd are always dead on hilarious, and I found myself reading a passage over and over and just cracking up.
I knew that Spike suffered from depression, and I think in parts it was very apparent. The places that are especially poignant are when he relates a humorous tale, and then explain how he visited the place years later, and how the memories are too much for him to bear. In one particular paragraph he laments: "Oh, Yesterday, how you plague me!"
I love Spike Milligan and his comedy, and have read several run-of-the-mill internet bios on him but his own biography really brings him to life. A great read!
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40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both poignant and funny 7 Feb 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anyone who has listened to the Goons will know that Spike is one of those rare people who has an innate knack for comic writing.
`Adolf Hitler: My part in his downfall' is the first volume of Spike's war memoirs and I read this plus the second volume (Rommel? Gunner Who?) in a single sitting.
In the first volume, Spike puts his own unique spin on his experiences in WW2 starting from training at Bexhill-on-Sea (and not a batter-pudding hurler in sight!) to his posting in North Africa and manages to be laugh-out-loud funny and genuinely sad at the same time. I don't normally go for `war stories' but this is a genuine telling-it-like-it-is tale modified by Milligan's unique genius.
It's a good read in its own right, but any Goon fan will immediately notice the genesis of Goons-type humour in Spike's exchanges with his mate Harry Edgington (we dont' encounter the `other' Harry until the end of book two!)
For best results, read in conjunction with `Rommel? ...' but don't do it in a public place - you'll probably laugh too much!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is truly a MUST read 8 Aug 2006
I wont linger here, just read the lengthier reviews here. This is truly a hilarious book, from an hilarious and beautiful man.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio Cassette
I've never been a big fan of Audio Books, but to hear Spike read through his memoirs makes the whole experience so much more personal.
These books stand out like nothing else I've ever read.
I've never had such heart felt love for any book, as I do for this entire marvellous series.
Constant spirit lifting hilarity just keeps you laughing for hours on end. Not to say that it doesn't have moments that bring home the harsh reality of what these boys were facing.
To hear Spike reading some of the sadder moments, is truly heartbreaking, but to hear the way he talks of his beloved band of brothers, you can feel the fondness he has for each and every one of them...(well...okay..not all of them..)
Through some of the more hysterical parts of the books, Spike's fits of giggles just add such a spark to this work, and make you feel just like he's sitting reminiscing with you.
I can't praise this entire series highly enough.
If Spike ever tickled your funny bone in any way, then this will tickle you silly.
Buy it,you won't be disappointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comic masterclass 22 Jan 2010
If there was a nobel prize for comedy then this would surely have bagged the honour for Milligan. There are many many books, films , documentaries that focus on the bravery and valor of the men who fought in the second world war. This tells the story of the conscripts and threw the eyes of a genius in comedy circles. Gunner Milligan reveals ,and revels in, the absurdity of taking young men from normal civilian life and trying to train them for war. The japes, capers and general pissing about make this probably a more honest account of conscription than anything else you will ever read. Beautifully written (and ever more beautifully told on audiobook)it jumps seemlessly from hilarity to heartfelt sadness and within it one catches small glimpses, possibly, of where spike's manic depression came from. The only draw back to this book is how often the comedy in it has been copied and so you get the feeling that it isnt "fresh." But when the imitators are monty pythoon, ricky gervais and pretty much every successful comedian and comic screen writer since Milligan first exploded into public view, then you realise that you are reading something to which you owe a great deal. If Monty Python has ever made you smile, if the Simpsons make you laugh and if Kenny Everett holds a fondness in your heart then you owe it to yourself and you owe a tribute to the genious of Sir Spike Milligan. Buy this book and then start the collection of all seven books of the rather oddly named "trilogy."
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Very dry humour, loved it
Very well written. Very clear and descriptive. I had a real image of what he described in my mind's eye. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ez
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and enlightening - a good read.
Bought this as I happen to live in the area where the action described in the book took place - Spike is a kind of local hero down here in East Sussex. Read more
Published 1 month ago by katetudor
2.0 out of 5 stars When Humour Must Have Been Rationed, He Must Have Been Funny
As another reviewer (@SL) says, "My sense of humour must have been much more anarchist as a teen, as I just didn't find it as funny as I remembered. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Nick Lincoln
5.0 out of 5 stars World War 2 without the BS
An honest, at times hilarious and as the sequels reveal, increasingly poignant view of the conflict written, not by a professional historian, or a past his sell-by date officer. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Donus
5.0 out of 5 stars Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall
This is an utterly surreal, joyous and irreverent look at Spike Milligan’s time as a young soldier in WWII. Read more
Published 3 months ago by S Riaz
5.0 out of 5 stars reading again
I first read Spike's memoirs when I was in my 20's. I thought they were fantastic and he is one of very few writers that can make me laugh out loud when reading. Read more
Published 4 months ago by John Lindsay
5.0 out of 5 stars great writer
Wonderful. amusing story, of a time in Milligans life in a bleak time for the people of England, his humour is just right
Published 6 months ago by chris
5.0 out of 5 stars True Spike
An insight into Spikes early days and his and humour which I always liked. Loved the little drawings too. Funny book, enjoy.
Published 6 months ago by Ladyfazer
5.0 out of 5 stars You don't have to like Spike to enjoy tho read
One of the funniest most discriptive books I've read, made me laugh out loud, And my imagination took me there.
Published 6 months ago by Ian Martin
4.0 out of 5 stars funny
not a bad book a few good laughs in places especially if you are ex military you can see the funny side as from your own experiences
Published 6 months ago by webload
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