Most helpful positive review
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2012
I've now read all Les's books, and, whilst I agree that the 're-branding' of this book leads to disappointment, its content doesn't.
OK ... I'll come clean, I worked alongside Les in the 80's & 90's, serving my time at 'The Street'. I put in more hours per day in the 1989 Dispute than ever I did on the road, and was always amazed at the kindness and generosity of the people of B'ham. From 5am starts on the 'ramp' in New St, (entrance to the Bull Ring), to the evenings around the Brazier at the Street with Colour Sgt Cox, from the communal meals provided by Olga's Curry, JJ's Bacon Butties and M&S Foodhall's "sell by" goodies to the long nights in Curzon St from where we operated our own Birmingham City approved Ambulance Service , I came to know and respect many in the 'old' WMAS. For many years I worked at Coventry and in South B'ham, many of the tales Les relates were echoed or repeated in those areas.
Like Les, I could fill books with tales of unusual calls and heart rending cases. It was not unusual for some of us to cry with the relatives of deceased babies, or to explode with anger at another senseless domestic violence case. I saw good and evil on a daily basis. I dealt with 8 murders in one year. I was placed under 24hr armed police guard when a gang sought to shut me up, and the mortuary became a second home at times.
However, as one can discern in Les's writings,as the years passed, things were getting worse. As Dave, a 28 years service veteran, said to me when he retired early, "When the laughter stops, Its time to get out son!"
So, faced with Corporate Politics and a fragile mental state bought on by 30+ years of emergency service work, I 'got out' ... just as Les did.
This book is the best illustration of the nightmare that Ambulance work in a big, busy City can become. Read it, it's an era lost forever now.