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Soldiering on: A Soldier's War in North Africa and Italy Hardcover – 1 Jan 1989

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9b5688a0) out of 5 stars 1 review
HASH(0x9b0a4b94) out of 5 stars For Dedicated WWII History Buffs 19 April 2013
By Master Of Arts - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If, like me, you read a great deal of military history and are looking for a memoir that is unlike many others then you will find "Soldiering On" quite enjoyable. It recounts John Blythe's experience as a member of the Royal New Zealand Army Signal Corps during WWII [he starts in the infantry but fate has other plans for him]. The book primarily covers his wartime experiences in North Africa and Italy.

I found myself coming away from the book with a whole new respect for the Signal units of WWII. The author recalls a great deal of enlisted drudgery, comradeship and frequent drunkenness interspersed with some absolutely frightening scenes of combat. The passage where he must sit and monitor the radio during a particularly brutal/heavy artillery barrage (in the open desert) while everyone else is allowed to get into cover was particularly memorable (e.g. standing Commonwealth Signal Corps orders were that the man on radio watch was NEVER allowed to leave his post until relieved). There are numerous harrowing reminiscences such as this one.

I also enjoyed the fact that the author spends a significant portion of the book assigned to an artillery unit and he gives some good details on Commonwealth WWII artillery specifics (i.e. describes `stonk' and `murder' barrages etc.).

I must however warn that the author is not a professional writer and at times it shows. For instance he sometimes names a pal that was killed, as if the reader knows who this person is, however said person is not mentioned elsewhere in the book. The author also uses a good deal of New Zealand and Commonwealth vernacular. Unless you are familiar with New Zealand colloquialisms you may have to infer the meaning of particular phrases from the context that they are used [I lived in the UK for 3 years and some of his expressions still perplexed me]. With all that I said, I enjoyed the book -- thumbs up.
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