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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Debut
I have just returned from holiday where i always take one book to read to pass the week, but having taken this cracking debut book, Blue Lights and Long Nights from talented writer Les Pringle with me i had six days without a book as i read the whole book in one day!!

The book flows to give an insight into Les's early career change into the Ambluance Service in...
Published on 25 Jun 2009 by Mr. N. Marshall

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I wanted to like this
I eagerly started reading and I really,really wanted to like it,but found it boring. Reading it felt like driving a car with the handbrake on. Pity,but something was just missing.
Published on 26 Mar 2011 by Maisa Mäkinen


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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Debut, 25 Jun 2009
By 
Mr. N. Marshall "N. Marshall" (Birmingham, England) - See all my reviews
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I have just returned from holiday where i always take one book to read to pass the week, but having taken this cracking debut book, Blue Lights and Long Nights from talented writer Les Pringle with me i had six days without a book as i read the whole book in one day!!

The book flows to give an insight into Les's early career change into the Ambluance Service in the 1970's, where he goes onto effortlessly tell tales of banter between the staff on the station, amusing and horrifying incidents that he has attended over the years.

Les Pringles writing style is fantastic and as such that i could not put the book down. I wanted to know what was going to happen next! My only disappointment was when i reached the final page.

I for one hope that there is a sequel, to follow this superb debut. Buy it!!!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very engaging book, 27 May 2009
By 
B. Kellett (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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Les is an ambulance man through and through, he joined the Birmingham Ambulance Service in the early 1970's. This book is the story of his first eighteen months in the job.
I was immediately struck by Les' writing, full of humour, wit and self examination it reminded me of all the thoughts and feelings I had when I started ambulance work. Even including the worlds crappiest van for the driving test.

It's a very easy read and I read it in one sitting. He tells a number of stories and gives you all the interesting details without ever leaving you thinking that the story has gone on too long.

What is shouting out from almost every page is that the job hasn't changed since the 70's - sure, we have better equipment and more drugs to play with, but the messroom culture, the sorts of patients we go to and the problems with management are all the same as they are now. One story from more recent times its told, and it is only because I work on an ambulance myself that had me noticing the small difference between the past and present.

Les' writing is so good that, even though I know the material inside out, I was still drawn to read more - he's a very engaging a writer. If you like honest, well-told tales, then you will like this book and I cannot recommend it enough.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not a lot has changed, 7 Mar 2009
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having worked in 'the service' for the past 14 years its nice to know nothing much has changed since the 70's. The black humour is still there, the messroom banter, the drunks, the regulars and the sense of satisfaction of a job well done. Les writes with great wit and does not dwell on the gore but on the lighter side of the 'business'. Read the book in two days its now doing the rounds in the messroom.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, understated book, 24 Feb 2009
By 
A. Murray (England) - See all my reviews
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I bought this book after hearing Les Pringle on Midweek on Radio 4. The book sounded interesting, as did Les's gentle, low-key way of talking about it, and I have a particular interest in Birmingham.
As a read, it wasn't a disappointment in any way. It's very well written, just the right length and none of the details of often haunting events are overdone. Les's attitude is humane and endlessly interested in people and he is skilled at conveying characters in a few deft strokes.

Best of all, though it is not a 'funny book' as such, his wry style is part of the enjoyment. There are sublime scenes, such as the ambulance crew's attempt to 'help' two drunk blokes in a Birmingham park. In another encounter, Les is being quizzed for the umpteenth time by some stranger who wants to be regaled with gory details about accidents and traffic smashes. To his question, 'Have you ever been involved in any plane crashes?' Les replies, 'None that springs to mind.'
All great stuff, and some of it not easily forgotten.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Memories, 22 Feb 2009
By 
G. Marchant "gtm41658" (Berkshire) - See all my reviews
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Having read this long awaited book it took me back to the early days of my time in the ambulance service and the calls that we used to attend; not only that but the comeraderie amongst the crews and the 'high jinks' that used to take place in the crew room...an excellent book....hope there is more to come
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely hillarious and unbelievably realistic. It had me gripped., 15 Feb 2009
By 
M. Watson (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This is by far the best book I've read. Very funny and I couldn't put it down. Recommended to everyone. Working in the ambulance service myself it's surprising how little has changed. Brilliant!!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book...!, 12 Feb 2009
By 
Mrs. Helena Farran (UK) - See all my reviews
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Really enjoyed this book. As a fan of non-fiction I love a good true life account. Funny and entertaining but thought provoking and humanist. Good read highly recommended. Hope there is more to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blue Lights and Long Nights, 18 Feb 2010
`I have to admit that I picked up this book as the third choice in the Waterstones three for the price of two offer. (Sorry Amazon.) As it turned out I was delighted with the purchase and even though I'm not one for writing reviews, I felt that I had to sing its praises here as it's as good a piece of down to earth story telling that I have come across in a long while. It's basically the story of a young man joining the ambulance service and grappling with all that that entails. One of the attractions is that he takes the reader with him on a voyage of discovery and does it in the most unpretentious way leaving you wanting to know what happens on the next page. It has pathos and humour in equal measure...not an easy trick to pull off convincingly. According to Amazon there is a follow up coming out in the summer, which is great news as I for one want to know how he and his shift-mates cope with the further trials and tribulations heading there way.

All in all it's a cracking read and highly recommended.'
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real 'Casualty', 17 Mar 2009
What a brilliant debut autobiography. As a rule of thumb not everone's life story is worthy of publication but the sheer honesty and realism of this book deserves a wider audience. Most of us will have, at one time or another, craved a change of direction in life but lack the drive to ever escape the constraints of dull routine and bland security - well Les Pringle did it and we get the benefit of laughing, crying or just being in total awe as he attends each 'shout'. This is not a difficult read - but Blue Lights and Long Nights is no less memorable for that and I guarantee that each chapter will stay with you for weeks after reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Halcyon Days of the Ambulance Service, 10 Mar 2009
By 
Dominic Le Gros (Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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As an emergency nurse, living with a paramedic - both knowing Les personally and working within the modern incarnation of the service he writes about, Blue Nights and Long nights is a fantastic look back through time to days when members of the emergency services were treated with a degree of respect instead of the contempt we all face now.

Les describes the very human face of an ambulance service that was able to treat people instead of numbers and targets.
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