2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
parrots and monkeys?,
This review is from: Pick up your Parrots and Monkeys...: A Boy Soldier in India (Cassell Military Paperbacks) (Paperback)
Claiming to be a memoir of life `on the fabled Northwest Frontier', only a quarter of this is about peacetime India and Pennington comes no nearer the frontier than Delhi in an uneventful tour of duty. The real subject of the book is the old-style regular army. It's strange to think that, as recently as 1935, a fifteen-year-old boy could ship out for military service there; today he'd be grappling with his GCSE coursework.
Probably the best chapters are those dealing with the war in Burma, gruesome though they are. Pennington skilfully incorporates his experiences into the wider historical context, with the kind of what-it-was-like detail you get neither from conventional histories nor those bitty `voices of the past' things.
Not a literary classic, but an interesting picture of a now-vanished way of life. I half-feel I should give it an extra star for the title...but I won't.