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The Call-Up: A History of National Service [Paperback]

Tom Hickman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

5 Sep 2005

From 1947 to 1963 some 2.3 million men were conscripted to do national service. For some it was to prove the most exciting and terrifying time of their lives, as many were sent to the Korean War or to countries such as Palestine and Kenya where the terrorist threat was ever-present. They faced death and learned about sex. For others, it was a frustrating interference in their lives, made all the more ridiculous by endless hours of square-bashing or painting coal white.

Tom Hickman shows just how varied were the experiences of the recruits. By talking to over 80 veterans, he recalls the hilarious and moving stories from those times, and seeks to explain why the subject still causes debate more than 40 years on. Above all, The Call-Up is a portrait of a vanished era that many still feel has something to teach us today.

Frequently Bought Together

The Call-Up: A History of National Service + National Service: From Aldershot to Aden: tales from the conscripts, 1946-62 + National Service (Shire Library)
Price For All Three: 18.57

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Headline; New Ed edition (5 Sep 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0755312414
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755312412
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 223,706 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'fascinating account of National Service...A compelling read about compulsory military service during peacetime' (Sun)

Book Description

The most colourful and comprehensive history of national service ever published, featuring more than 80 interviews with those who experienced it, as well as correspondence from the period

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Anyone having done National Service will be able to identify with the experiences described in this book. It is an entertaining read and will highlight the post second World War conflicts the British armed forces have been involved in. Perhaps our young politicians should read this and learn why we should not be making the same mistakes in the 21st century?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars National Service Call Up 6 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A decent account of what life was like for many thousands of young men in the 1940s and 1950s. It covers some of the horrors of active service in places like Korea and Kenya and reminds us of how deadly serious the "Call Up" was for many of the conscripts.
It mentions many well known names such as Michael Frayn and Alan Bennett as well as others, unknown, who had a much harder and sometimes fatal National Service experience.
This book will, of course, be pure nostalgia for those readers who went through their weeks of *square bashing* and training for a wide variety of military "trades". For those who missed out on this part of life it will bring to life what National Service was all about.
A good read; one that can be dipped into as and when time permits.
The Call-up: A History of National Service
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars National Service 10 May 2010
For anyone who has done National Service or who is interested in National service this is an excellent book. I found that I couldn't put it down once i started reading it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars the call up. 31 May 2014
By phil
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
a good book at a very reasonable price delivered quickly and well packaged. I think this book if of good historical value for people researching national service days during the 1950's and 60's..
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5.0 out of 5 stars NIce present! 21 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this for my elderly dad who loves all things to do with National Service!
Excellent condition & fast delivery. Will use again in future!
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4.0 out of 5 stars my national service 4 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was in from 1951-53 so brought back many memories, but as yet have not finished reading it!!! but will get round to it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars very good 12 Nov 2013
By jb007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this book for an in-law as an xmas present, he really enjoyed the book and said it brought back a mixture of memories and nostalgia.
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