Achtung Schweinehund!: A Boy's Own Story of Imaginary Combat Paperback – 18 Jan 2007
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
His war-obsessed childhood is so warm and funny and true you might be tempted to hug yourself with delight (SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
'Funny, perceptive ... Pearson has you laughing throughout with guilty recognition. You learn a lot of quirky facts and a fair bit of military history from this endearing memoir (SUNDAY TIMES)
He has a very good line in comedy (DAILY MAIL)
A funny, perceptive book about men and their ineradicable love of war ... Harry Pearson has you laughing throughout with guilty recognition (Christopher Hart, SUNDAY TIMES)
* A brilliantly funny and nostalgic look at 1960s and 70s childhood as well as a more serious examination of boys' (and some men's) obsession with warSee all Product Description
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
Pearson is excruciatingly embarrassed about his hobby (wargaming with miniature metal soldiers), but he bravely refuses to disown it. He delves into it, telling a history of "boys' toys" which shows that the love of all things military has long been a big part of boys' lives in Europe. Seen from this perspective, it is amazing that the hobby has been pushed into such a corner now, and it seems only freaks and geeks are doing it. If you feel you have these kinds of skeletons in the closet, Pearson will make you feel like a man again.
In the US, we boil all of our culture down to the lowest common denominator. Our cuisine is nothing but different levels of salt and sugar. Our movies are sex and violence held together by the thinnest thread of plot. And don't get me started on our popular music. The result is that we create totally forgettable products which nevertheless appeal to people around the world.
In the UK, your expertise is your ability to puzzle out universal truths out of the individual and even eccentric. The result is that your culture creates more "popular culture" classics - think Sherlock Holmes or the Rolling Stones - than the US ever will.
Achtung Schweinehund is a perfect example. Mr. Pearson delivers a nostalgic and very funny discourse on an extremely narrow segment of society: wargamers, people who have never served in the military (and indeed, in many cases, are horrified by the thought) but who live and breath the military strategist's atmosphere. In enlightening chapters, he covers every segment of that hobby, including models, reenactments, board games, novels, toy soldiers and a host of others.
You needn't be much of an afficianado to enjoy this book. Mr. Pearson's ability to capture the humor, fanaticism, good nature, profiteering, in other words the pure humanity of the people who indulge in the hobby, teachs the reader larger truths about human nature. The American military hobbyist (except, perhaps for the most fanatical) will find large areas of the book to cover terra incognita, revealing the somewhat nationalistic aspect of the products and culture of this hobby.Read more ›
Worth reading for both wargamers (although some of his stories may prove to be a little close to home) and to non-wargamers (to whom a whole subculture will be revealed). It's best avoided if you're a re-enactor or an orc-fancier.
Anyway, I'm off for a game of Airfix Charades; the rules of which are in the book.
At one point Pearson describes a cartoon that has a painter showing off some hoplite figures and the other guy says, "Very nice, but don't you think the dirt under the fingernails is a little dark for Corinth?" It's a great line that captures a lot about the hobby, but it also strikes me as Pearson taking out his insurance: the fluorescent world of club basements, model stores, convention halls, newsletters, and personalities he describes is surely going to be subject to idiosyncratic memory and interpretations, and there will be those who rush in to declare this or that all bollocksed and wrong. They shouldn't be allowed to spoil the fun.
How on earth did our mutual obsession with tiny toy soldiers come about? Pearson, famed for his weekly footie column in the Guardian and with a clutch of books to his name already, goes about explaining how an entire generation of schoolboys was, perhaps almost inevitably, initiated into the rites of war by the preceding generation that had actually experienced it. The horror and heartache that was experienced by our mums, dads, uncles and aunts on the home front and the front line, was translated by the media of the '50s, '60s and '70s into hit TV series, movies and comic strips about The War. Alongside this came the toys, ranging from cap guns to Action Man, Airfix kits to boardgames, and a host of cottage industries casting tiny soldiers. Lubricated by the stories and recollections of our own relatives, is it any wonder that any red-blooded little boy wanted to be the hero in their own imaginary wars?
Pearson describes this phenomenon in loving detail, but to dismiss this book as a 'toys for boys' tract would be a mistake. Pearson has a marvellously witty and humane take on everyting he writes about, and this work is no exception.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
'I often felt it would've been easier if I'd chosen a more socially acceptable niche interest such as fox-hunting or sadomasochism.' Harry Pearson, Achtung Schweinhund, p.98. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Sebastian Palmer
This book really gets to the heart of the obsession to collect and battle with toy soldiers. It also brings laughter and tears to men of a certain age. Read morePublished 21 months ago by PJC63
I have a confession to make; I am not a wargamer. Now that that's cleared up, I enjoyed the Pearson's guided tour through the history of war-related comics, toys and games. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Pal Joey
This book comes highly recommended. I picked it up by chance in my local book shop and was taken by the artwork on the cover and the blurb on the back cover. Read morePublished 22 months ago by John Anderson
A very enjoyable book. Board games, characters, humour, model soldiers, comics, life before FIFA 2014, the North East. Have I said humour? A gem.Published on 22 Jun. 2014 by K. C. Shapley
An absolutely brilliant book, filled with little every day stories, all seasoned with huge amounts of humor.
Will recommend it to fellow gamers for sure.
Harry Pearson is a writer who has established a niche in the sports and non-fiction markets. He has written a number of books and is a regular columnist for the Guardian. Read morePublished on 5 Jun. 2012 by Jonyoak