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Declarations of War [Kindle Edition]

Len Deighton
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A collection of thirteen stories that offer an inside view of fighting men poised at the edge of death.

Len Deighton's only collection of shorter fiction, this dazzling array of stories spans twenty-three centuries of warfare.

From Hannibal's march on Rome – when strange, moving objects terrorise the troops of one of the toughest and most skilful armies in history – to the efforts of a belittled Civil War general to get his men to face the Confederate army; to the dawn skies above an artillery-blasted French battle-line where a dogfight unfolds, to Vietnam; where two lost American soldiers stumble across an abandoned military airfield.

Each story in Declarations of War explores the effects of war upon man's character, how it pushes him to act in a dehumanized, machine-like way, often leading to extraordinary deeds, both good and ill. It portrays human conflict through a series of devastating experiences and shows how great deeds are often but the smallest thread in the large fabric of war.



Product Description

Review

‘As in all Mr Deighton’s books, the incidental detail is impeccable: as well as the hardware, military idioms, superstitions and attitudes are convincing.’ Financial Times

‘The stories are written with economy and grace. They’re highly readable and succeed in passing on to the reader… the fascination the author clearly feels for examining life lived at an extreme. His wars are often exciting, sometimes eerie, always sad.’ Evening Standard

‘They show an acute understanding of how men behave under stress, and when action is involved it comes across jabbingly and persuasively.’ Listener

‘Mr Deighton really is something special’ Sunday Times

About the Author

Born in London, Len Deighton served in the RAF before graduating from the Royal College of Art (which recently elected him a Senior Fellow). While in New York City working as a magazine illustrator he began writing his first novel, The Ipcress File, which was published in 1962. He is now the author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction. At present living in Europe, he has, over the years, lived with his family in ten different countries from Austria to Portugal.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 290 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; New Ed edition (30 Sept. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003Z6QGC2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #200,197 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Born in London, Len Deighton served in the RAF before graduating from the Royal College of Art (which recently elected him a Senior Fellow). While in New York City working as a magazine illustrator he began writing his first novel, The Ipcress File, which was published in 1962. He is now the author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction. At present living in Europe, he has, over the years, lived with his family in ten different countries from Austria to Portugal.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars thirteen good stories and true 31 Aug. 2010
By Henk Beentje TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
The book: thirteen short stories, dealing with wars from the Roman/Carthage, via the US Civil War and South American revolution to the skies above the trenches, the Italian front in WWII and Vietnam. Soldiers, pilots, arms dealers. But always with a surprise reversal in the tail, or a shock, or a change from what you thought.

The author: Len Deighton started by writing cookery cartoons, then spy stories, then (or mixed in) war tales, either fictional or factual. This collection of stories is from 1973.

My opinion: there are bits of 'Winter' in here; bits of 'Bomber', bits of 'Fighter'; as well as stories perfect in their own right. He is always very good on gear, on landscape or terrain, on the common realities as opposed to the big strategic view; as in the story on Vietnam: "in this war there was no front line, just people trying to kill you". Sardonic, knowledgeable, very good writing - 4-and-a-half stars!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars declarations of war 7 Dec. 2010
Format:Hardcover
This is an absolutely great collection of short stories loosely based around 'war' don't be put off by the title if you would not normally read war stories, there is something here for all. Every story brings an unexpected twist, this is the fourth copy I have bought since the original issue. they have been loved and loaned-and lost! and this latest copy has been read and loaned already. Read this, you won't put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grand collection 25 April 2013
Format:Paperback
Len Deighton (LD)'s worldwide success with 'The Ipcress File' in 1962 inspired him to write some 40 more books. Most of them dealt with espionage, incl. 3 trilogies with the same protagonist/hero, and some on French cooking. A number of highly-acclaimed books of LD have focussed on WW II: 'Bomber' describes the terrifying risks accepted by hastily-trained flight crews primed to disable wartime-Germany (55.000 died); 'Winter' is a warm, convincing German family history from 1899 to 1945; 'SS/GB' is a plausible account of what life would have been like if Hitler Germany had won the Battle of Britain, and the resistance it would have provoked.

Comparing LD with John Le Carre (JLC) and Ian Fleming (IF), creator of James Bond, all highly-successful British spy writers in the 1960s and 70s, would require many pages. They are very different writers, but all three played intelligence roles in real life. Leaving aside IF, LD is a compulsive and fast writer, turning every idea into a story, chapter or Annex. His early heroes are often nameless versions of himself in books written in the I-form, turning readers into helpless creatures galloping after the hero to keep up with the twists and turns of the plot. The plots of LD's early novels appear more improvised and more infused with irony and flippancy than JLC's. His early preoccupation with technology and the impact of WW II on post-war espionage, more than compensate for these weaknesses, if they are weaknesses.

In contrast, JLCs novels appear carefully plotted showing little interest in technological advances made in earlier years and decades. Also, his attitudes towards the British ruling stratum are different from LDs.
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