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I Was A Stranger Paperback – 5 Aug 1999


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Pimlico; New Ed edition (5 Aug 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712665625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712665629
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 305,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

General Sir John Hackett is best known as the "Tufton Bufton" of the British Army who, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, wrote a couple of bestselling Cold War Domesday scenarios, The Third World War and The Third World War: the Untold Story, in which he laid out in meticulous and, it has to be said, utterly inaccurate detail how the next global conflict would start and what course it would take. Such credentials don't exactly set the pulse racing at the prospect of his wartime memoir I Was a Stranger, but once again Pimlico have shown sound critical judgement in raiding other publishers' out-of-print backlist and reissuing them in a new format. Where Hackett's later tomes lean to the portentous, this book never strays from the personal and is all the better for it. He kicks off on page one with how he was badly wounded by a shell splinter at the Battle of Arnhem in 1944 and thereafter the book rattles along like some Boys Own story. The Dutch Resistance whisk him out of a POW hospital, hide him up for the winter and the following spring he straps a suitcase on to the back of a borrowed bicycle and rides off--via some Biggles-like narrow escapes--to freedom. Pimlico have retained an extremely old-fashioned typeface for I Was a Stranger; whether this was for economic reasons or not, it does have the curious side-effect of dragging you back to the time when it was written. The prose, too, is often clipped and formal--think Brief Encounter--and there is no chance of Hackett being mistaken for Andy McNab. But oddly enough it still comes to life. The Second World War was a different era, and their heroes were very different to ours. But their courage and bravery still shine through. I Was A Stranger may be something of a period piece, but it is one worth revisiting. --John Crace

Book Description

'A classic memoir of the Second World War. ' The Economist.

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4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 May 2000
Format: Paperback
Though I first read this book some twenty years ago it has remained with me ever since as a warm and generous "settlement of account for services rendered" by a wounded escapee who was sheltered and helped to liberty, at great risk to themselves, by a large number of ordinary people. In this it has much in common with that other masterpiece of the genre, Eric Newby's "Love and War in the Apennines", having the same, understated, values of compassion, humour and decency. Hackett's account of his wounding and capture at Arnhem, and of the cheerful valour with which he and his companions faced an uncertain future, is somehow typical of the spirit of all involved in that ultimately failed, but always glorious, venture. His subsequent escape from hospital and the medical care lavished on him, under the most difficult circumstances while in hiding, by courageous Dutch patriots is both exciting and inspiring. Despite severe shortages of medical supplies the treatment Hackett received for a serious intestinal wound was enough to restore him to sufficient fitness to allow an eventual escape back to Allied lines. He paints a moving picture of normal people doing abnormal deeds at great risk to themselves and to those who know and love the best in Dutch society this will come as no surprise. My wife and I remembered this book when we later made a pilgrimage with our family to the Oosterbeek Cemetery and to the areas of combat in and around the town of Arnhem itself and it served as a heartening, and often amusing postscript, to the story of the battle. In short, a delightful and noble memoir of courage, generosity and indomitability - highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By peterhaywood on 24 May 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book, set against the heroism and horror of war, yet embracing the warmth and bravery of 'strangers' who did what they could in the fight against evil. The author describes his sufferings in battle, his subsequent rescue,when being taken in by a wonderful Dutch family(The 'Strangers').Then the thrilling escape by bicycle to the safety of allied lines.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Tedious read - but very much admire the men who fought to hold these bridges. The local people who helped many of the soldiers to escape captivity are very brave. The book doesn't give you that feeling of the risk they lived with - just too flat I felt.
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By Mrs. Sheila Spargo on 21 Aug 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful personal story of Dutch Resistance during World War 2.
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By Amazon Customer on 18 Aug 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very well written book. Really conjured up his experience.
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