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Happy Odyssey [Paperback]

Adrian Carton de Sir Wiart
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
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Book Description

19 July 2007
Adrian Carton de Wiart's autobiography is one of the most remarkable of military memoirs. He was the son of a Belgian barrister, Leon Constant Ghislain Carton de Wiart (1854-1915). He, himself, was intended for the law, but abandoned his studies at Balliol College, Oxford, in 1899 to serve as a trooper in the South African War. He abandoned the law for all time on 14 September 1901 when he received a direct commission in the 4th Dragoon Guards. Carton de Wiart's extraordinary military career embraced service with the Somaliland Camel Corps (1914-15), liaison officer with Polish forces (1939), membership of the British Military Mission to Yugoslavia (1941), a period as a prisoner of war (1941-43), and three years as Churchill's representative to Chiang Kai-shek (1943-46). (Churchill was a great admirer.) During the Great War, besides commanding the 8th Glosters, Carton de Wiart was GOC 12 Brigade (1917) and GOC 105 Brigade (April 1918). Both these command were terminated by wounds. He was wounded eight times during the war (including the loss of an eye and a hand), won the VC during the Batlle of the Somme, was mentioned in despatches six times, and was the model for Brigadier Ben Ritchie Hook in the Sword of Honour trilogy of Evelyn Waugh.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword Military (19 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844155390
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844155392
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.4 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Other reviewers justly underline the unique character of this man. I would like to add that this book makes an interesting reading especially when one thinks it was not written by a professionally trained soldier: Carton de Wiart never went to military academy. Secondly, his humour is often caustic and politically incorrect, if viewed from the point of view of a contemporary reader - I found this refreshing, no matter if you agree with the author or not. The last thing is that -with remarkable modesty- he does not once mention the Victoria Cross he was awarded in WWI.
Lastly, one wonders how such an 'action man' could be tasked with political/diplomatic appointments which at first sight would require a different skill set than -by his own admission- his own. Well, perhaps it is a sign that big democracies can accommodate large personalities?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sports and War 6 May 2009
This is a most remarkable book written by a most remarkable person who totally failed in his academic career but was saved from studies by the Boer war. An outstanding horse-man repeatedly wounded and loosing an eye in Africa and the left arm at Ypres in WW1, and moreover full of scrapnels here and there and everywhere, awarded the VC, he is a marvellous not to say uniqe example of a warrior and sportsman who ended who failed all theoretical studies but became a lieutentant-general and later ended up as Churchills special emissar to Poland abd later to China. Wounded repeatedly in numerous battles he was always referred to the same hospital and room in London where he was provided with his own dressing-gown always waiting for him. His career came to an end slipping on a coco mat in China breaking his back - and referred back again to 'his' hospital in London. An exciting personality with a lot of humour.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy Odyaaey 11 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A wondereful read aabout a most remarkable and modest man. He led a life such as you might imagine a
John Buchan hero might have done, and it's all described by him in the most matter of fact manner. He
talks about being at the Somme, but doesn't find it necessary to mention that he was awarded the VC there,
and the VC is not mentioned anywhere in the book.
If you are a military book reader - BUY IT - and read it every time you feel a bit down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing man 8 Jan 2014
By Hugo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have been giving this book away left and right. I dread the years of commemoration of the First World War but General Sir Adrian will see me through it. He had only one hand, only one eye, and surprisingly only one Victoria Cross. He is the model for Brigadier Ritchie-Hook in Evelyn Waugh's Men at Arms. He must have had very high blood pressure. He loved fighting and did not mind who he fought for. To alleviate the boredom of garrison duties in India, he engaged in polo, pig sticking and once pulled a cobra out of its hole and despatched it with his sword (remember with one hand). His book is hugely entertaining and at times hilarious.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic story to match a unique life 23 April 2008
By jamo
Carton de Wiart wrote this himself and it is a top quality work. Make no mistake this is a shocking story of a heroic man in love with war, but he is very, very good at it. Read this if you are after a War autobiography which is pure genius.
Absolutly five star read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculous. 27 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Such a good read as to be almost unbelievable. The things this man got up to during his life make Sir Ranulph Fiennes look like a stay at home bore.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read 28 Oct 2013
By LM94
A good read. This book provides a lot of insight into what the British Army was during the early - mid 1900s. Carton de Wiarts adventures are captivating enough to keep you reading, and his dry and matter of fact attitude will keep you amused. Would recommend this.
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