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Happy Odyssey Paperback – 19 Jul 2007


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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: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Colin Smith on 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hugo on 8 Jan. 2014
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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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bonfanti Matteo on 12 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
And some might say, "thank the Lord for that!"

Carton de Wiart may actually have not have been a brave man. From his writing, it's hard to judge whether the man felt fear at all. That provides some highlights - his description of "nearly losing my leg" is covered in a sentence - and so many descriptions of combat that imply that the man was made for war. If war hadn't been invented yet, he would have invented it.

Thankfully, he was also a man made to tell his story. His story runs in a semi-conversational style: one can imagine sitting down at a club to hear the oldest member telling his story and hanging on his every word, hoping against hope that the waiters were in no hurry to get home.

His descriptions of his inter-war diplomatic service are a further measure of the man. His work seems almost incidental: a hobby that he did well, but took away from the more important activities of hunting and shooting. There's the apocryphal tale that Ben Ritchie Hook is modelled on Carlton de Wiart, and one can see that. One could also see Mitford's Uncle Matthew in him too.

He leaves a literary legacy as well as his own - his great-grandson is the soldier and war correspondent Anthony Loyd.

Much like I could imaging the waiters at the club would see sense and let the man finish his story, you will need to set aside some time to read this. The marvellous style, incredible subject matter, and matter-of-fact attitude to war and life make it unputdownable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs J. Ware on 5 Jan. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I wouldn't normally read a book like this but wanted it as part of research I was undertaking on my Grandfather's war experiences and the book was referenced. Only one chapter was relevant to my research but once I started to read I couldn't put the book down. It is enormously entertaining, well written and very informative on the history of conflicts Britain was involved with between the Boer Wars and the Second World War. What an incredible man.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 27 Jun. 2014
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LM94 on 28 Oct. 2013
Format: Paperback
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By jamo on 23 April 2008
Format: Paperback
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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