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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best books i have ever read
this is quite possibly on of the best books i have ever read! Westall is an excellent writer and this book shows that he is a master story teller. the detail is extraordinary, the story line deep and intruiging and the characters are a stroke of pure genius. Chas Mcgill , the main character, is incredibly realistic and one which many can relate with. Chas' quest for war...
Published on 6 Jun 2001

versus
0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "It's OK......"
I'm sure this book is a very good read, but our discerning 11 year old son thought it was just "OK". He isn't a keen reader, so wouldn't take his judgement! Arrived quickly and in perfect condition.
Published 19 months ago by SMcC


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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best books i have ever read, 6 Jun 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Machine Gunners (Paperback)
this is quite possibly on of the best books i have ever read! Westall is an excellent writer and this book shows that he is a master story teller. the detail is extraordinary, the story line deep and intruiging and the characters are a stroke of pure genius. Chas Mcgill , the main character, is incredibly realistic and one which many can relate with. Chas' quest for war souveniers leads him to discover a German machine gun. He sets up a dugout with the machine gun planted in it. Here he helps defend Garmouth from bombing raids. This novel is an excellent example of Westall's fine story telling talent and is a book for all ages, as we see children not only enjoying themselves but being independant and seperated from the adult world.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling, 23 April 2008
By 
Mrs. K. A. Wheatley "katywheatley" (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Machine Gunners (Paperback)
This was one of my favourite books as a child. I read and re-read my copy until the covers fell off, and even after reading it so many times I never failed to be thrilled by the story, excited and tense, even knowing the ending.

Chas McGill is a young boy growing up during the bombing raids of WW2. Like all young boys his age he is fascinated by the planes and plays imaginary war games with his gang. One day Chas discovers an extraordinary thing that turns his games into a reality and not only allows him to 'do his bit', but also makes him question what war is actually all about.

Westall wrote another book about Chas, Fathom Five, and although it is good, this for me will always be Westall's standout book. He also made Chas the subject of short stories, 'The Haunting of Chas McGill', which if you enjoy this, and I can't imagine that you won't, you will surely want to read to know what happens to Chas.

Westall also compiled a fascinating book in collaboration with the Imperial War Museum called 'Children of the Blitz'. He wrote The Machine Gunners mostly using his imagination, but when it became popular found that he was receiving letters from people who had grown up in the war who had had real life experiences like Chas'. Intrigued, he did some more research, and this book is a collection of first hand accounts of such episodes, which is fascinating and highly readable.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Boys at War, 1 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Machine Gunners (Paperback)
This gripping book is the story of what happens when a group of teenagers in North-East England take the (Second World) War into their own hands. The great thing about this book is the authentic feel of it - the boys (and token girl) have the same friendships and rivalries and difficulties at home and school as any teenager has, but this is all played out against a backdrop of bombing raids, death and destruction and the threat of imminent invasion. This leads to a mix of excitement and emotion, as well as plenty of down-to-earth humour.

The fact that the author grew up himself during the war lends the story much credibility, which is something lacking in some more recent stories set in the war years.

My only slight criticism is that reading the book was rather like watching an action-packed film. There were quick changes in terms of scenes and characters which could be confusing if you weren't paying attention! Then again, I am not in the target group for the book.

All-in-all it's a great story that touches on some very important themes. Due to the realism, I probably wouldn't give this to children under 10, even those with an advanced reading age, but it's an excellent book for children of 10 or 11 upwards and makes a nice change from magic, superpowers, mutants, dystopia and other current teen book trends.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!! buy it!!!!, 31 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Machine Gunners (Paperback)
Machine Gunners is a story about a boy named Chas, which has the second best collection of war souvenirs in Garmouth. Then he finds a crashed Nazi plane which has a huge machine gun on it. In the end he wrenches it off, little does he know its still got live ammunition. He then builds a fort, tries to shoot down a plane and gets in trouble with the police. It has exciting bits too. A Barrage balloon falls on top of him, he finds a dead Nazi pilot, hides an orphaned friend, goes out in air raids and fosters a live Nazi! I think it's a FANTASTIC book. There is some swearing in it, but it makes it more realistic. It's one to put on your bookshelf!!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling tale that races along with relentless pace., 14 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Machine Gunners (Paperback)
This book is totally captivating. With the Nazi aircrafts raining bombs on the town of Garmouth every night, there are many war souvenirs like bullet casings and nose cones of aircrafts. However, Chas Mc Gill finds a working machine guns that he extracts from a fallen aircraft with live bullets. This is a stunning tale of survival during war times packed with irresistable adventures. Chas and his friends build a secret fortress to fight the Germans and they have many interesting and smashing encounters along the way. They take care of a kind Nazi soldier, help their orphaned friend and have barrage balloons falling on them.The writing is superb throughout and the pace is sustained very well. Although there are some obscenities, I feel it adds realism and life to the story. The ending is poignant and extremely touching. I rate this as one of the best books that I have ever read.A fascinating and smashing read! I HIGHLY recommend this to everyone!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Childhood Favourite, 1 Feb 2014
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I was struggling to find a book for my Kindle app the other night and came across The Machine Gunners which was my favourite book as a child. I constantly had the book on loan from the school library. I must have read it at least five times as a child due mainly been so well written for boys of a certain age and my fascination with anything to do with the Second World War.

Reading it as a adult it was still every bit as good as what it ever was and in no way read like a child's book. I have re-read other books from my childhood recently and they were very hard to get through as they were after all books meant for a child. However The Machine Gunners spans generations and is equally a good read for an adult as what it is for a child.

Forgive me I do not normally do book reviews as I am sure you can tell from this review so I will try my best here..

Excellent well written and superbly constructed story with many ups and downs and facets such as the perils of the blitz during the war, wartime life, schoolboy antics, excitement, guns, rebelling against the system etc. It really is a very good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So good he read it twice, 15 Feb 2014
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Very enjoyable book for my 9 year old son. He read it quickly and them re-read. Would definitely recommend for young readers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Book, 30 Oct 2010
A Kid's Review
This review is from: The Machine Gunners (Paperback)
A great story. My favourite character was Rudy. And Carrot Juice. I read it with my father, and he liked it too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book, 28 Dec 2011
This review is from: The Machine Gunners (Paperback)
Brilliant book. I got it for Christmas; it looked very boring and boyish but when I started reading it it got me hooked. It's a really interesting good book for 9-13year old boys and girls whether they are interested in WW2 or not. Amazing!

L. Aged 10. (girl)
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thrilling book about some teenagers mixed up in the war., 11 April 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Machine Gunners (Paperback)
I first read this book when i was 8 ...but since then i have read this book again and again.I read a book called " The Silver Sword" also by Robert Westall it was great so i looked up for some more of his books. I found this book "The Machine Gunners" i read the beginning and almost immediately baught it. I've read it so much i can't read it because i already know it, so i looked up for some more, eventuly i found a sequince to it called "Fathom Five" I began to read it but i had to give it back to the school becase the summer hloidays came and after the holidays i would'nt be going back because i would be moving to high school.
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The Machine Gunners
The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall (Paperback - 4 May 2001)
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