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Mussolini: His Part in My Downfall [Paperback]

Spike Milligan
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Jan 1980
Britannia rules the waves TA-RA, but on occasions she waives the rules and Spike is all set to liberate-gasp-Italy. In this fourth volume of war memoirs, Lance-Bombardier Milligan (Spike actually) continues his notorious sage of World War II - from the long remembered outbreak of crabs in monkey to the unfortunate ack-acking of and American killyhawk. Dio mio, is war is a game of cards, someone was cheating.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (3 Jan 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140051961
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140051964
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 11 x 18 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 264,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Spike Milligan was born at Ahmednagar in India in 1918. He received his first education in a tent in the Hyderabad Sindh desert and graduated from there, through a series of Roman Catholic schools in India and England, to the Lewisham Polytechnic.

He then plunged into the world of Show Business, seduced by his first stage appearance, at the age of eight, in the nativity play of his Poona convent school. He began his career as a band musician, but has since become famous as a humorous scriptwriter and actor in both films and broadcasting. Spike received an honorary CBE in 1992.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A humorous account of the truth 28 Dec 2009
I read this book because my father was in the RA in the 8th army and into Italy as a RGM. I wanted a glimpse of the conditions that my father and others experienced. Although lots of swearing and bantry in it as you would expect when men get together, I felt Spike gave an almost true account. One is surprised that anyone came home sane after what they experienced having to put up with the pouring rain, hauling guns around in the knee deep mud, living in the same clothes day after day, infrequent in fear of whether you might be the next to go. Some of what we know of his goonish humour came through in this book. A book that you read to the end and achieves for me what I wanted to know. Thank you Spike.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War is Madness! (Here's the proof). 13 July 2009
By S. Cain
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"Milligan, you should be dismissed from the Army on the grounds of madness". "That's how I got in, sir".

This book begins with Spike and his brave comrades-in-arms crossing from victory in Tunis to the next Allied theatre of war in Italy, wondering what sort of landing awaits them on the beaches at Salerno. Ah, but it's not Jerry that awaits Milligan; it's a sandfly that has his number on it!

After disembarking, the gunners have to keep moving their heavy artillery ever forward to keep up with the 'PBI' (poor bloody infantry) and conditions deteriorate for them to the point that they resemble a collection of soggy, mud-caked scarecrows. But are they downhearted... well, yes, actually. Just as it can't get any worse for Spike the sandfly fever hits him and he's sent back to hospital, surrounded by the sick and dying.

Although he makes a recovery, and his unit eventually remembers to send someone to pick him up (only after he threatens to desert, mind), his health is obviously not 100% as he keeps getting spurts of unaccountable illness. Obvious, that is, to all except Major 'jumbo' Jenkins, the battery's miltary pedant and slave driver. The good Major sees to it that Spike gets his share of hairy moments until, having a mortar lobbed far too close to him for his continued welfare, Spike finally succumbs to the combination of bad health and stress and goes 'bomb-happy'. The Major thinks he just needs further exposure to danger to get him over it but, surprisingly, this does not work. Eventually, unable to function, Spike has to be sent back to hospital for a second time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best of Milligan's war memoirs 13 Aug 2007
Most people will only know Spike Milligan for his offbeat TV series, silly poems, and the Goon Show, but Spike was in my opinion a superb writer with a gift for transporting the reader effortlessly to the time and place he's writing about. His descriptions of military/wartime life are second to none. Farce, Danger, cameraderie, friendship, loss, suffering, the absurdity of war, the compassion of some people and the callousness of others, it's all here. If I had to take only one set of books with me to a desert island then it would be Spike Milligan's war memoirs - and "Mussolini" is possibly the best of them all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bad Show Penguin 12 July 2012
By Paul
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have just received my copy of Mussolini, his part in my downfall, I already own the complete set, but needed a replacement for this book as my original is falling to bits, too many
I have to say I'm very disappointed with the quality of the book, the drawings are all bleached out and the photographs look like too much ink was used as they are almost totally black and the paper is very poor quality, compared to the original I would say this re-issue is very sad tribute to a comic genius, Spike may have left us but his books deserve to be better treated than this, to anyone wishing to by a copy I would say try to get a 1978 original release then sit back and prepare to cry with laughter as I have done many times.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bomb happy 27 Dec 2011
At the beginning of the book Spike has a go at critic Clive James for calling his war autobiographies 'unreliable'. Quite right, you get the sense in the Milligan memoirs of a near-unique soldiers-eye view of the Italian campaign. This is mostly rain and mud; Spike's gunners are on or near the front line supporting the slow infantry advance up through Italy. The detail and humour however continue (like the rain) unabated. Spike manages to find time to visit Pompeii, Amalfi, magic Ravello, Naples, play more concerts and even pull a nurse. However there is also a real sense of impending doom. It finally happens as Spike is caught in the open in a mortar 'stonk', a close explosion only slightly wounds our hero but leaves him in deep shock. Although clearly 'bomb happy' is treated pretty shoddily, court martialled and demoted. It seems the end of the line for the demoralised Spike, but actually sends him on a new path. A briliant book, the best in the series.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
In this book (along with all the others in this 'trilogy' of war memoirs) Spike tells us his war story. I am not old enough to remember the war but both my Grandparents were and I often wondered what it was really like. I read quite a lot and have read quite a few war memoirs but, when I found out that Spike Milligan had published his, I had to read them at once. I found that through Spikes writing I was able to get a real idea of what the war was actually like. Anyone that likes Spikes sense of humour and fun will not be dissapointed with this book. Being Spike, there are times when his stories are outrageously, laugh out loud funny. But there are also times when the harsh realities of war interfere with those times of laughter, and this makes Spikes memoirs all the more poignient. This book will take you from laughter to solemn contemplation from one sentence to the next. At one point I found myself wishing I was there, sharing in the laughter, the fun and yes, even the music. At others I could only thank God that I mised any sort of experience like that. It's that sort of book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars funny in places
not a bad book a few good laughs in places especially if you are ex military you can see the funny side as from your own experiences
Published 6 months ago by webload
5.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you read the the whole series
I am re-reading this triolgy (actually 7 books). Funny but also poignant. Spike clearly made friendships which lasted through his whole life.
Published 11 months ago by Jules
5.0 out of 5 stars Spike Milligans Wartime Experiences Part 4
Top 'trilogy'.Read all seven books,Spike is one of my comic heroes.This is the fourth book in the series and demands reading.
Published 18 months ago by Neil Scoltock
5.0 out of 5 stars A SCREAM
Published on 7 July 2012 by DA HODGSON
5.0 out of 5 stars Spike's best book
Out of all of Milligan's war memoirs, this one is shaped more like a traditional novel, and is more closely written, building up to a climax which flips the book on its head -... Read more
Published on 28 Nov 2010 by F. S. Harte
5.0 out of 5 stars Honesty
Spike's recollections of his time taking the sun in Italy at his majesty's command is a simple and honest account of one man's Italian invasion. Read more
Published on 16 Nov 2010 by Nasher
5.0 out of 5 stars Spike Milligan
What can you say but if you've ever been in the service, on operations, and enjoy a bloody good laugh by one of the last Century's great's then you should buy this book. Read more
Published on 14 Sep 2009 by James Curnock
4.0 out of 5 stars Spike Milligan
This book again is another example of subtle word play that leaves you constantly in stitches thinking about simple jokes. Read more
Published on 1 Sep 2007 by Rob B
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