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Picking Up the Brass [Paperback]

Eddy Nugent
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 30 Jun 2006 --  

Product details

  • Paperback: 377 pages
  • Publisher: Writersworld Limited (30 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904181929
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904181927
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 12.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,117,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Eddy Nugent is the joint pseudonym of Ian Deacon and Charlie Bell.

We met in Belize in 1990. As the Gulf War raged in the Middle East, we were busy protecting the western flank of British Government interests, from that noted scourge of the seas, the Iraqi Navy.

After later service together in Northern Ireland, we eventually struck upon the idea of writing a book, but we wanted it to be different to the usually military memoir. It had to be funny and accurate and needed to reflect the lives of the often overlooked, 99% of the British Army.

Picking Up the Brass follows Eddy Nugent through his gangling teenage years, as he joins what is thought to be (by popular agreement of the armed forces around the world) the best and most professional military outfit around, The British Army. Here's where the story diverges from the standard recollection. Eddy doesn't join the SAS or forge his way, rank by rank, to become the youngest Colonel in history. He's just a bog standard soldier, like most of us who ever served.

The joy of writing Picking Up the Brass has been finding the hilarity on offer in what appear to be, on the surface, the most mundane incidents.

The Map of Africa follows Eddy's adventures as he moves to British Army of the Rhine, to hold the line against a Red Army swarm that only ever really existed in the minds of military planners.

A third book will complete Eddy Nugent's trilogy and will see him take the nervous step from the bosom of the British Army to the less friendly embrace of civvy street.

Product Description


The book that Andy McNab wouldn't want you to read! "Picking up the Brass" is a hilarious look at what real life was like for the vast majority of young men who joined the British Army in the Eighties. It follows Eddy Nugent, a bored fifteen year old, living in Manchester, as he travels through the drinking, swearing and sex-obsessed world of our nation's finest. It takes him from basic training in Harrogate and on to Aldershot and the rum soaked shores of Belize. Written by two ex-soldiers, the book captures the unique aspects of the British military sense of humour, through the language of 'Squaddie Speak'. A must for anyone who has served, Antone who is planning to serve or anyone who has ever thought, "Surely everyone in the army isn't trained to kill people with a toothpick?"

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HILARIOUS!!!! 20 Dec 2008
The funniest book I have ever read!! Suddenly, the memories from Basic Training, which have haunted me for 11 years don't seem so bad!! I laughed til I cried and drove everyone within earshot insane by frequently trying to read bits aloud through spluttered laughter (sorry Mum). Then passed it on to my dad, who served over thirty years ago, and even he couldn't believe how close to the bone it was!!

An absolute MUST buy!!!

Desperately awaiting the second instalment now :)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truimph 13 Sep 2008
At last! A book about the British Army that doesn't make it sound like one long ego trip at the end of which you get to call everyone a "hat" or a REMF, despite the fact that you left years ago and now spend most of your time strapped to a word processor! This type of book used to be common place when ex-national servicemen like Spike Milligan got out and got on with poking a bit of fun at themselves and their experiences. Nowadays it seems to be about how far your "stare" goes, how tough you are and how crap everyone else is.

Bell and Deacon have found a way of describing what it is to be one of the anti-elite, an ordinary squaddie, in way that is amusing but truthful. If you served, are serving or are thinking about it, you need to read this book. I can't wait for the sequel. This goes right up there with Milligan, and the Virgin Soldiers series.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not to be read whilst eating or drinking... 17 Aug 2006
By .D
... as I can guarantee you'll laugh with such hilarity there's every possibility of involuntary regurgitation through the nose! This down to earth, warts and all tale of a young man's initiation into and progression through the British Army is truly enlightening. Articulately written the author is a born story teller. Don't plan to be busy, once in through the first few lines you'll be loath to put the book down until the end. Quite simply the funniest thing I've read for a very long time. This'll be one purchase you won't regret.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A military classic in the making. 13 Sep 2006
Although, the majority of reviews would appear to be written by former members of the Army, don't be fooled into thinking that Picking up the Brass is only of value to ex-squaddies. It may never grace the same shelf as Sun Tzu's Art of War, or sit comfortably with the War Memoirs of some great General or other. It is, however, as valuable an insight to the mentality of the average military man, as the reader is likely to ever get. All delivered with a smattering of squaddie speak, laced with often in-appropriate humor in a style reminiscent of Spike Milligan's - Hitler My Part in His Downfall.

To anyone with any connection to the Armed Forces, especially the close family and friends still struggling to understand how their Little Johnny could leave one morning, bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to serve his country. Then return a few months later a depraved, drunken womanizer, speaking in a foreign language and displaying a completely warped sense of humour. The answers are here.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Having served in the Royal Corps of Signals and knowing of both Authors this bookwas a must read for me.

The reality of the Incidents rang true on so many occasions, even though the names were changed to protect the (not so) innocent we all know the characters . . .

Excellently written and is a must for any squaddie, ex squaddie or even anyone that even knows a squaddie !
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Never in the field of human conflict..... 22 Aug 2006
By bugsy7
...have so many been tickled pink by so few! Convoy and Rigger have produced a work of genius with this book, which is so absolutely evocative for any ex-squaddie, but also provides some amazing insights to "civvies". The detail is amazing and instantly recogniseable for who've "been there and done it"

Never mind Andy McKnob and Chris Ryebread, this is the pukka stuff!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious 30 Jun 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I went through the same process as the authors but in 1971 and, at the same Army Apprentices College.
The humour was still the same the 'beastings' were still the same. The 'drill pigs' were still the same (they all get trained at Pirbright).
I've recommended this to my friends, colleagues and family members so not just to ex-squaddies or ex-military, although, it may seemed aimed at those.
This is one of 3 books and so far and I've only read this one but I think they have a typical Spike Milligan style.
There's talk of this going to screen albeit a T.V. one off maybe but I'd like to see what comes out - I'm not sure about the clip that's on You-tube though there's something not quite right about it. The careers office looks like something from 1951, my own in Middlesbrough was quite crispy new compared to that one in the clip.
No, I never had to do any star-jumps at the attestation or interviews maybe a bit too much ad-lib.
Anyway a cracking read and I couldn't stop laughing till the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Hilarious! 28 Jun 2012
By MacFan
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is a tongue in cheek retrospective of Army life at AAC Harrogate during the 80's. I attended AAC Harrogate in the 60's and as I delved in, it became clear to me that nothing changed from the time after my departure until the author's arrival. I loved and hated the place for all the reasons so amusingly portrayed in this book and yes, portrayed with lots of wry, potty humor. For those mentally challenged who are seeking career guidance by reading this book, get used to potty humor now, it'll save you a trip to the Psychologist later!

A few, almost exclusively those who have never served in this or any other junior regiment, have panned this book as being mislabeled, claiming it could be viewed as satire but not as a look at "real Army life". Please don't let the ill-informed and ignorant put you off reading this book.

Read the reviews from people like myself who went through the machine that was AAC Harrogate. I think we're far more qualified to speak to the genuinely humorous attempt to capture the day to day trials and tribulations of being a young immature kid thrown to the lions to be broken, then reborn as a "soldier" of her Majesty's Armed Forces and all before one's 18th birthday.

Of course, nowadays it's a "Foundation College" with carpets, private cubicles, female junior soldiers and child Psychologists holding everyone's hands every step of the way so I'm guessing things have changed for the worse! :) LOL Sorry that was a dig at all you post 68C sprogs!

Should this be viewed as a modern recruiting poster for the real army life of 2012? NO, and frankly I'm stunned that a couple of people would buy a satirical, tongue in cheek retrospective, then pan it as being not representative of modern army life...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A good read
Published 7 days ago by jonah
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
very funny well worth a read
Published 26 days ago by dave
5.0 out of 5 stars Picking up the brass in brief
I am ex British military and a life long brother in arms recommended that I read this book.
Sitting in the garden on a glorious June day I 'dug in' and began to... Read more
Published 1 month ago by MJ Harrison
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for any Squaddie of the 80's
Having served in the Royal Corps of Signals with the authors this book rings so true in many ways, we can all liken the characters to people in real life we've worked with. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Martin Avins
4.0 out of 5 stars Very readable
Enjoyed the read, quite funny in places and well put together. I bought the follow up which I am equally enjoying
Published 2 months ago by Grandad
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Picking Up The Brass
Brilliant - buy this book especially if you are ex Army like me. Had me crying with laughter at several points. Now starting on its sequel.
Published 2 months ago by By Emlyn
5.0 out of 5 stars Didn't stop laughing
If you want to know what it is like when you join the Mob then this is a must read.
Published 3 months ago by Dave Mowbray
5.0 out of 5 stars funny, but true !
A must read for all of us that went through AAC in the eighties, this book makes you laugh from start to finish
Published 3 months ago by Andrea R.
4.0 out of 5 stars Earned its stripes
Lurched between visions of a Carry-On film and the brutality of The Hill.
Acid test 1 : Difficult to put down once I'd started. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Joe Wilkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars A total hoot
If you have had any army service this book will have you in stitches. When reading in bed I was getting sent to the living room for laughing out loud continuously.
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
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