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The Monocled Mutineer Paperback – 1 Aug 1979

7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Quartet Books; New edition edition (1 Aug. 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0704332876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0704332874
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 10.9 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 371,111 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Synopsis

The tale of a World War I short lived mutiny in a French fishing town by British soldiers led by a monocled madman who evaded capture for three years.

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By N. Berry on 9 July 2012
Format: Paperback
The story of the Etaples mutiny during the first World War is fascinating and this book does describe it in an exciting fashion. In brief British soldiers at the base camp of Etaples during 1917 rioted in response to the terrible conditions there. This is a surprisingly obscure event in the history of the war and this book did a brave job of bringing it to light. However the book errs in trying to equate the mutiny with the one the French army suffered at Verdun. There the whole future of the war was threatened as the troops refused to fight. At Etaples the mutiny was about conditions at base camp and most of the rioters were largely willing to return to the front. Also the descriptions of the chaos in the British Army after demobilization are fascinating.

When the book talks about Percy Topliss (the monocled mutineer of the title)it falls apart. The book tries to portray him as a Robin Hood figure fighting against establishment injustice. In fact as the book can't altogether disguise he was an unpleasant criminal who happily murdered a game keeper and policeman when they discovered his forced entry into a hunting lodge whilst on the run. Topliss was involved in the Etaples mutiny but he was by no stretch of the imagination the ring leader as this book suggests.

I suppose I'm being a little unfair because the book is just a product of it's time when being anti-establishment was fashionable among historians. I just wish that a more balanced history of a very interesting event could be written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robjn Lees on 31 July 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having seen the original television series many years ago I had I had to get a copy of the book from which the series was taken.
I have read the book twice.
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By T. Short on 14 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
Fascinating writing. Points out the gross inequalities not only in Britain but in the Army too. At no point does this book try to equate the mutinies of the French with the British at Etaples. Toplis is not a nice person it does have to be said, but his was an interesting life. His edgy living finally caught up with him. An interesting counter point to the usual stuff we get fed on the war by the establishment.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By jim honeybun on 15 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came across the Monocled Mutineer as the well acclaimed BBC drama starring Paul Mcgann as Percy Topliss, the man who allegedly rebelled against life in the trenches in WW1 and was involved with the obscure mutiny at Etaples.

The BBC drama, however, was necessarily based on this book, so I bought it to read the history. What I discovered was a non-history, a one-sided very subjective narrative, claiming to be derived from numerous personal interviews and records and accounts, yet never providing one reference to actual historic materials or records. If indeed the authors did make all those interviews, why did they not transcribe them and back them up with cross-referenced materials? This is a well-told boys-own story of an anti-hero in a terrible situation - it is NOT in any way a history. The authors have done a great disservice to history - if it were a true story - in not making a proper historical account. It is now too late to do so, as all those interviewed are long dead.
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