Customer Review

5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment, 4 Oct 2006
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This review is from: It Is Bliss Here: Letters Home 1939-45 (Paperback)
I read this book whilst on Crete - the scene of the author's escape following the German invasion in May 1941. The account of that escape is the best thing about the book but you have to read Antony Beevor's introduction to learn anything of the role his unit (the Sherwood Rangers) played in the battle. Since this was key, i.e., they were deployed to defend the island against a seaborne invasion, not allowed to shell Maleme airfield, leaving the Germans free to bring in reinforcements by air and thus win the battle. That was my first serious reservation about the book - why the omission? However, things got progressively worse.

The author regularly cites his hatred of democracy. He was from the land-owning class and even disparaged his brother officers not of the same background. A self-confessed snob, he empathises more with the Nazis (calling himself a 'feudal Nazi') than with his own countrymen or allies. He goes so far as to describe England and democracy as "absolute sods"! The reason being is that he believes only people from his privileged background have the qualifications to run the country and that the common man doesn't want anything else. Err.., the outcome of the 1945 General Election proved otherwise.

The man was completely out-of-touch and seems wholly self-obssessed. He even took a month to write to his own parents letting them know he was safe after his escape! They had been informed (his mother fainted at the news) but, even though he knew this, he was too busy living the high life in the Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine, mixing with society people like Vivien Leigh, to bother writing home.

I was even tempted to leave the book on Crete but the account of how he was helped to leave the island by the Cretans is worth keeping it for. Otherwise, I did not enjoy the company of this rather unpleasant man.
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