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4.8 out of 5 stars118
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 8 September 2001
Here's a short story. In 1963 I was on a military Aircraft flying to South America from England. The plane was full of soldiers going to British Guiana. It was a long flight. So to pass the time I went up to the front and read this book through the address system. The pilots could hear this as well. So much laughter went on that we nearly crashed onto the runway in Gander Newfoundland. I was asked very nicely not to continue since it was too dangerous to the safety of the flight. But so funny is the book that all the passengers prevailed upon me to keep on going. I sware that this is a true story. This is simply the very funniest book ever written, and thereby one of the most dangerous. Cheers: Private Grahame Rhodes 216. Late of the Kings Own Royal Border Regiment.
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on 4 March 2003
Even though Spike's comedy and success did not reach across the waters to the U.S., it was nice to go to bed thinking that someone like Spike was around. But now he's gone and oh, how he is missed! His humor is unsurpassed; and completly his own. Puckoon is a prime example, and a great introduction to his comedy. Puckoon is Milligan being Milligan. The novel moves along at a brisk pace, even when it seems little is happening. Reading everything coming together at the end is pure delight. I can't recommend this book enough... the only drawback is that it's so short it leaves you wanting more.
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on 14 June 1999
This book sustained me through a very strict English Boarding School in Swaziland, Africa. It houses some of the best one and multi- liners ever written and is the sort of book best read by you and a friend, because when the first reader falls over in a fit of laughter, the next can take over and maintain the momentum.
For example: in an attempt to get rid of her husband, one of the characters in the book goes to her attorney. He explains that just wanting a divorce doesn't necessarily achieve a divorce in Ireland, that she must prove some form of abuse or unfaithfulness. "Has he ever been unfaithful?" The attorney asks... "Aha, I think we've got him there!" Cries the wife, "I know for a fact he wasn't the father of me last two children!"
Then there are the law partners who scratch their heads in amazement letting little showers of dandruff accumulate on their desks as they ponder over the will of Dan Doonan. They don't know how to execute his will, but one thing they do know is that it will take a lot of time and money, because Dan Doonan died leaving everything... to himself!
The the poor, powerfully built farmer O'Mara, who, after being deserted by his wife and losing his children, was cut from a man who 'laughed and loved life, to a walking dead.'
From helpless laughter to the depths of empathy, the reader is tossed about emotionally like a leaf in a stream and, for the most part, falls in love with the little imaginary town of Pukoon. To say this book allows one a better understanding of the Irish is a gross understatement.
Well worth reprinting and well worth the purchase price.
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on 21 April 2002
I read this for the first time when I was 15, and coming back to it I find that I'd forgotten how easy it is to lose yourself in the mad world of Milligan. Only an idiot would be concerned with the lack of plot in a book that bursts with energy and ideas like this does. Oh, and it's cripplingly funny too
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on 28 June 2005
Few books I've read have made me laugh out loud ( the only other I can think of is "without feathers" by Woody Allen), this book will, if you read it on the train you'll get strange looks from other passangers.The plot may seem to jump from one thing to another but comes together in the end ,along the way there are some fantastic bits like the pub that has 2 prices for beer depending on which side of the border you are on, only Spike could think uo such an idea. Buy it and enjoy the mad ride.
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on 30 June 1999
Neil Wellman's desperate clichés (replete with spelling and grammatical errors) about Spike's 'illness' do nothing to aid prospective readers. The whole book is unhinged, and is meant to be so. The sustained comic brilliance is reason enough to read this book, the hair-spltters who winge about the plot should stick with Martin Amis and leave Milligan for those who appreciate him.
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VINE VOICEon 27 January 2010
Spike Milligan was born in India, the son of an Irish father who was serving in the British Indian Army. He spent most of his life in England and served in the British Army in World War II - though he took Irish citizenship. Milligan was an undoubted comedy genius and was the principal writer of The Goon Show. He was one of the few people who could get away with referring to a member of the British Royal Family - Prince Charles - as a "little grovelling b@$t@rd" on live television.

The story is set in Puckoon, a fictional village located a few miles northeast of Sligo . Dan Milligan probably the closest thing to a central character we get - and is, presumably, based a little on Spike himself. Dan lives in one of the Peat Cutters' Cottages - although he isn't actually a peat-cutter. (He's a skiver through and through. The peat ran out several years previously, and the peat-cutters didn't take long in doing the same. The Free State Government then awarded the cottages to those who'd fought for Irish independence). Milligan the character is, naturally, at the centre of much of the book's daftness : for a start, he can hold a conversation with Milligan the author. He isn't at all impressed with Spike's writing abilities, and is particularly unimpressed with his own legs. In an attempt to even things up a little, Spike gives Dan a magical word - squorrox - that'll get him out of any trouble. (Dan could've used that word on his wedding day - his wife's a fearsome looking creature, and is described by some as a "danger to shipping". Dan's two brothers had arrived with his wedding suit, just in time for him to make it to the church...he never forgave them).

Dan's wife sends him to the church to try and find some work - the grass needs cut, and Father Rudden, despite his own good health, is obviously too busy with religious matters to deal with the problem himself. (It's the first time Dan's been to church since his baptism, but at least it'll be a little money for him. Well, it would if the parish wasn't broke - there are so many buttons going into the collection plate, it's a miracle how the faithful can walk to mass without their trousers falling down).

However, Milligan and money aren't Fr Rudden's only problems. Although the majority of Ireland has now wriggled free from the United Kingdom , part of the country is staying put - which means a new border has to be drawn up. Unfortunately, thanks to a group of idiotic bureaucrats, the border gets drawn right through the church grounds. The chapel is in the new Free State , the graveyard is in the UK - which, being a Spike Milligan book, leads to all sorts of complications with Dan Doonan's funeral.

While it is (unsurprisingly) a hugely funny and very daft book, there is the very occasional touch of sadness here and there. (The story of Farmer O'Mara particularly stands out, probably because it contrast so much with the rest of the book). Totally recommended.
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on 10 November 2008
Glad to see this is still available. Spike -- how we miss him. Puckoon although rambling at times is so funny - the rambling in some ways makes it funnier. The movie based on the book is a must - buy both. Although there is a lot missing in the movie compared with the book it dosn't detract -they did a great job of getting a good plot in the movie (takes 2 or 3 viewings to get it - buts that the fun of it.
So much Goon type humour in the book(and movie) but with lots more os Spikes unique way of finding mundane ordinary things in life so funny - especially blowing apart the pomposity of officaldom
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on 19 January 2001
The Heart attacks, oh GOD YES the MULTIPLE HEART ATTACKS I nearly took all at once whilst laughing at this book, it bloody nearly killed ME But what a way to go eh?. It has been so many years since I read this book,just enough time to get my health back. 'he called for hellsfire at the appropriate time only to be informed by the hidden man "I think the cat has pissed on the matches, Father"' even if I do not quote exactly what is in the book that section and almost all the rest are still enough to have me in stitches all afternoon. Who called the writer a swine? Who called that swine a writer? The man is a bloody genius The Genius is a man But there is nothing in it they are just good friends. Oh no! Time for another coronary nurse, nurse!, NUUURSSE?!!!
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on 25 February 2011
I'm not sure how many times I have re-read this book since I bought it years ago. My original copy is dated the 1972 reprint (by then it was already on its 8th reprint since first published in 1963). Its now tatty and the pages are loose - so this is why I had a look at it on Amazon again - it's time for a new copy and another rib-tickling bit of reading. I don't really know why some reviewers are critical about the loose (at best) plot - after all this is Spike Milligan at his best. Whenever did you expect logic from him??? But you did always expect the most off-the-wall humour and that's what you get with this. Believe me, you will not stop laughing when you read this - if you don't find this book extremely funny, then you need to get a better outlook on life. The review on here about a guy reading it aloud to a planeload of soldiers may sound far-fetched but I can totally believe it. The only thing I would find difficult would be being able to actually read it aloud coherently without just falling about giggling. GET THIS BOOK - IT WILL BRIGHTEN UP YOUR DAY - and you'll want to read this book again and again.
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