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Killing Time at Catterick

Killing Time at Catterick [Kindle Edition]

Jan Needle
3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

This book, previously published as The Skinback Fusiliers, is short, funny, bitter and uncompromising, and retells the real experiences of three young men who join the army because they think it will deal them better hands than life has offered so far. All perfectly intelligent, if short on education, they accept recruitment promises on pay, job training, and future prospects. Andy is white, Ashton is black, and Shahid is a Blackburn Asian. They do not expect that they will ever be friends.

In fact they have to be – and close and vital allies. The novel charts, through a series of actions and events, their growing awareness of how deeply they have been conned, and the vanishing opportunities for doing anything about it. Far from being trained as heroes, they come to see themselves as cannon fodder, face savers, and sacrificial lambs. They are paid, pro rata, far less than the minimum wage, and charged for their accommodation and their food. Their prospects, among other things, are to leave the army as a pale pink vapour in the air, or go home in a body bag.

Being young, they don’t believe that that will ever happen. But they know that there are ways to leave the army, and over time their feelings gel. To talk of leaving is sedition, and walls have ears. But they are determined to get out. There is more to life. For Andy, love with Emma and a second try at education, for Ashton marriage and a daughter, for Shahid the hope to foster peace and understanding. What better place to start than Blackburn!

Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, who served four months in jail for refusing to return to duty in Afghanistan. He told ten thousand demonstrators in Trafalgar Square that he thought the war was neither legal nor in Britain's interests:

'Reading it was like being back in the mob'

Michael Rosen:
'Daring, immediate, painful, powerful. It's the stuff we've got to confront in order to figure out what is being done in our name. There's no point in delivering up sanitized stuff. It won't tell us anything.'

Melvin Burgess:
'Killing Time at Catterick is an important book about how we lure our young men into the armed forces, how we train them, how we treat them while they're there and how we treat them when they come out.  The occasional bits and pieces of bad behaviour that emerge on the news are, as always, the tip of the iceberg and this is a timely reminder than any organisation that trains people to be killers is going to have a dirty side - something which we all find it easy to forget when we want to go to war.  If this is the kind of thing we visit on our own forces, it's worth asking what kind of damage we're inflicting on the many equally innocent people who get caught up in our military adventures abroad.
Next time you see an ad on the TV suggesting the armed forces are like some kind of adventure playground for men, think again.

John Thompson (critic and legal draughtsman):
'It was a little like watching a car crash, horrifying but compulsive viewing.'

Frank Cottrell Boyce:
'Reading this book gave me a feeling of inescapable immediacy. It's so vivid and it really buttonholes you and the prose is so urgent and gripping. Envious. It's bloody fantastic.'

Laurence Boswell (director/writer, Royal Shakespeare Co., West End, Broadway):
'Very powerful, very tough, people should know this stuff. Loved that you could make room for the joy of a great curry, amidst all the violence and the bullying. Thanks.'

Carl Grose (writer, director at Kneehigh Theatre and the National):
'BRILLIANT. It's one of the most startling, shocking, funny, tragic, and truly political books I've ever read about this country. I absolutely love it.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 305 KB
  • Print Length: 153 pages
  • Publisher: Skinback Books; 1 edition (20 Nov 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00784YA6Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #170,120 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wildly Exaggerated 25 Sep 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I have returned to this amazon page and it would seem that my previous review was removed. Further examination shows that the author considered it libellous as well as illiterate (a legal oxymoron I know), there is also a rather paranoid rant on his website. Mr.Needle it seems blames the ARRSE website for 'orchestrating' hostile reviews of his work, I mean no one who disagrees with him or dislikes this book could have formed their own opinion could they? I must of course play the ball and not the man and review this book. However I will answer two points very quickly first:

1. I stated the book was never nominated for an Orwell prize in spite of claims by Jan Needle that it was, is he lying or am I? Well Google Orwell prize nominations for 2011 or 2012. You will get to the short list; Skinback Fusiliers (the book's original title) is not on either the short or long list. So was it not nominated? It depends on what you mean; it was entered for the prize by the online ezine `Open Democracy'. So in a way it was nominated it received no recognition by the Orwell panel however. And IMHO when people say `nominated' I think that is what most people consider the accolade to mean, namely it was listed. Especially when most Orwell entries are entered by the authors themselves.
2. The `hostile' reviews mostly by fellow former soldiers were never in any way `orchestrated by the website ARRSE. That claim is false and seems paranoid. True the book review section on ARRSE did link to this page, it did so AFTER the supposedly hostile reviews were written just look the dates they were posted and the dates on the ARRSE entries concerning this book, case closed for the defence on that one.

As to the book itself?
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 26 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I've never read anything like this book. It all seems so normal, just a group of young blokes behaving extremely badly. But they're soldiers, and the way they behave is really terrifying. They seem to hate everyone, especially other soldiers, but they're sad, as well. It's funny in places, and the ending is truly tragic. If it's anti anything it's anti the army, not soldiers. I think it's absolutely brilliant.
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6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So Bad... 4 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have never written a review before, but this book was so badly written that I felt compelled to say something. The language is so badly structured that whole paragraphs are unintelligible, the slang that is used is unreadable, and the storyline is juvenile at best. The subject matter and the characters are on the whole offensive, the endemic racism made me think it was situated in the 1950's - but no it is supposedly modern day Britain. Having served with the British Army I was saddened at the attitude of the characters and their outright racism. I very rarely leave a book without finishing, I gave up somewhere in chapter 3. Even for 99p it wasn't worth it.
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Judge for yourself 13 Oct 2012
By Wench
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Some of the reviews below are so scathing, I started reading the book with 'look inside' to judge for myself. I suggest everyone else does the same. It seems very well written to me! Excellent dialogue. If you don't want your fiction to contain any of the world's harsh truths, stick to Disney! And even there you might be frightened by a witch or two.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking book 27 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A surprisingly gentle book. It made me think about what the British Army does to the vulnerable young men who join it. Surely in the twenty- first century there is a better way of generating an efficient fighting force. The negative reviews for the book made me sadder. When the army cynically makes these young men redundant when they are moulded so that their self esteem is linked so strongly to something that the army has created, what happens to them then? At least the protagonists in the book escape relatively undamaged, if disillusioned.
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