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A Splendid Little War [Paperback]

Derek Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
Price: 6.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

3 April 2014

The war to end all wars, people said in 1918. Not for long.

By 1919, White Russians were fighting Bolshevik Reds for control of their country, and Winston Churchill (then Secretary of State for War) wanted to see Communism 'strangled in its cradle'. So a volunteer R.A.F. squadron, flying Sopwith Camels, went there to duff up the Reds. 'There's a splendid little war going on,' a British staff officer told them. 'You'll like it.' Looked like fun.

But the war was neither splendid nor little. It was big and it was brutal, a grim conflict of attrition, marked by incompetence and corruption. Before it ended, the squadron wished that both sides would lose. If that was a joke, nobody was laughing.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (3 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780878095
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780878096
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Robinson has a superlative talent for aerial combat ... With such epic action, characters, plot and dialogue, it's hard to believe that Robinson's work has yet to be filmed' Ian Irvine, Independent.

'Brilliantly combines readability [and] pitch-black humour ... A bitterly funny evocation of the lunacies of war' Nick Rennison, BBC History.

'A cracking yarn ... his attention to detail in action scenes cannot be faulted' Tina Moran, Daily Express.

From the Inside Flap

The war to end all wars, people said in 1918. Not for long. By 1919, White Russians were fighting Bolshevik Reds for control of their country, and Winston Churchill (then Minister for War) wanted to see Communism 'strangled in its cradle'. So a volunteer R.A.F. squadron, flying Sopwith Camels and DH9 bombers, went there to duff up the Reds. 'There's a splendid little war going on,' a British staff officer told them. 'You'll like it.' Looked like fun. But the war was neither splendid nor little. It was big and it was brutal, a grim conflict of attrition, marked by cruelty, betrayal and corruption. Before it ended, the squadron wished that both sides would lose. If that was a joke, nobody was laughing. A Splendid Little War tests the pilots' gallows humour in a world of armoured trains and elegant barons, gruesome religious sects and anarchist guerrillas, unreliable allies and pitiless enemies. The comedy of this war, if it exists, is very bleak. Derek Robinson is at once our finest living comic novelist and a master of military fiction. Biggles was never like this.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid little book 6 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a fan of the RAF and RFC books by Robinson, I had high expectations and was not disappointed. "Splendid" has got the same brilliant characters, humor and aircrew banter that fans of other Robinson titles love. "Splendid" takes on a little known conflict known as the Intervention, featuring British troops fighting (at least trying to fight) Bolshevik forces on the vast Russian Steppe. The sheer size of Russia, the chaotic war featuring anarchist warlords, Cossack tribes and religious sects provide a fascinating backdrop to the story of our heroes doing their utmost to pick a fight, while their comrades gradually succumb to both the tragedy, and comedy of war.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top drawer more please 12 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Goshawk Sqn must rank as one of my best books, ever. This is a not up there but very near and even has a blink and you miss it reference to Maj Woolley!

That said this is an excellent read about a little understood or known period. As well as being a good story it clearly shows that there is far more life left in this series. A 1914 volume would neatly top and tail the Great War. More please!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Groundhog Day 23 Dec 2013
By Bing
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Over the years I have read many of the author's books and really enjoyed them, so I was really pleased to pick this up as e-book to read on the train. The setting is interesting and original but, in my humble opinion, the characters all follow the same dry, sixth form humour of the previous books and ultimately mush together as something of a single voice. So for me, not enough character definition and the writing and characters are too similar to what's been done before. If you've not read Derek Robinson before then you may really enjoy this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Derek does it again 27 Feb 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We Derek Robinson fans have been waiting a long time for this addition to the RFC trilogy. It's worth waiting for. Robinson's mordant wit is present in abundance in this tale of a little known conflict, the Russian Intervention. The reappearance of old friends Lacey and Brazier will please fans.

There have been only a handful of novels about RNAS activities in World War I and those I've read were a bit wanting. Robinson is the man to do it right.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Read 30 Jan 2013
By Chris M
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a fun read about a serious subject. One had to discount the cavalier attitude to cruelty to people and animals and simply enjoy the antics of the RAF (RFC) crews and the amazing people they met. It was a little long but on the whole I enjoyed it. The background is said to be historically accurate and could easily persuade the reader to learn more about the Russian Civil War; not a familiar subject to most of us, I think.

CM
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3.0 out of 5 stars Flyboy 17 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well written as one would expect from Robinson. Personally, I did not really enjoy it. I have two more of his to get through, which I am sure will suffice.
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4.0 out of 5 stars UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE: RUSSIA IN 1919 26 May 2014
Format:Hardcover
Derek Robinson is one of those writers with an unerring knack for creating in his novels compelling and complex characters, whose black humor attests to the absurdities of war. Love or hate them, the characters of "A Splendid Little War" serve as a colorful backdrop to an incredible historical event that is little known today. The event of which I speak is the Allied Intervention in Russia, which began in the summer of 1918 --- when Britain, Canada, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, and America sent troops and other material support to force Lenin's Bolsheviks (i.e. the "Reds") out of power and assist the Russian counter-revolutionary forces (the "Whites") in re-establishing in Russia a government sympathetic to (and supportive of) Allied interests --- and ended in 1920.

This novel is centered around a Royal Air Force (RAF) squadron made up of volunteers who left Britain in the Spring of 1919 in anticipation of an exciting and colorful time in Russia. Their commanding officer (C.O.), Wing Commander Griffin, is a rather no-nonsense type, not lacking in bravery, but set on doing things his way, even if this sometimes means offending his Russian compatriots.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A fan of Derek Robinson - so purchased this book 23 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Not a enjoyable as previous books and not much action - disappointing. Earlier books much more interesting and "good reads" - this one more "I've started so I'll finish".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great first world war flying corps book
Published 1 day ago by Jonno
5.0 out of 5 stars World war one plus
This is yet another brilliant story from mr Robinson, realistic, warm, funny
you care about the people involved. Read more
Published 4 months ago by john bolton
4.0 out of 5 stars Good!
I've always liked Derek Robinson's novels (including the lesser known ones such as Kramer's War and Rotten with Honour); this is a continuation of the sequence of Great War RFC... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Two Tone
2.0 out of 5 stars I found this book quite boring.
I found this book quite boring to read. Not too much action, and its based after the end of WW1 when britain fought agasint russia.
Published 6 months ago by Guy Fleshbourne
4.0 out of 5 stars An insight to a different war
Entirely believable and well researched. Great read, especially for aviators. Worth having an atlas to hand, or google Earth to visit the places mentioned.
Published 6 months ago by lensky
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read
Like most Derek Robinson stories I have read, this is a well written, easy to read wartime yarn, based in part on a particular event. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Henry
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good read from Derek Robinson
Another fine story from the pen of this author; whilst perhaps lacking the impact of "A Piece of Cake", it nevertheless conveys the confusion,horror and humour of the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Ian Skinner
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating insight into a relatively unknown conflict in which the...
A relative backwater after WW1 is so well brought to life by the author. His usual approach to weave a story around so much historicakl fact which cannot have been easy to... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Michael Peter Landon
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent book but not his best
Derek Robinson has written many excellent, riveting and engaging books, sadly this is not one of them. A good read but not up to his (admittedly high) usual standards.
Published 13 months ago by N. Weatherspoon
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