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Mussolini: His Part in My Downfall (Spike Milligan War Memoirs) Paperback – 6 Sep 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (6 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241958121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241958124
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The most irreverent, hilarious book about the war that I have ever read (Sunday Express)

Brilliant verbal pyrotechnics ... throwaway lines and marvelous anecdotes (Daily Mail)

Desperately funny, vivid, vulgar (Sunday Times)

Close in stature to Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear in his command of the profound art of nonsense (Guardian)

Milligan is the Great God to all of us (John Cleese)

The Godfather of Alternative Comedy (Eddie Izzard)

That absolutely glorious way of looking at things differently. A great man (Stephen Fry)

Manifestly a genius, a comic surrealist genius and had no equal (Terry Wogan)

A totally original comedy writer (Michael Palin)

About the Author

Spike Milligan was one of the greatest and most influential comedians of the twentieth century. Born in India in 1918, he served in the Royal Artillery during WWII in North Africa and Italy. At the end of the war, he forged a career as a jazz musician, sketch-show writer and performer, before joining forces with Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe to form the legendary Goon Show. Until his death in 2002, he had success as on stage and screen and as the author of over eighty books of fiction, memoir, poetry, plays, cartoons and children's stories.


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This, Part 4, of Spike's memoir deals with the ghastly Italian campaign of 1943/4. Through the media of the time, we learned that "Sunny Italy" was a grave misnomer. For Sunny one should read Soggy. (I remember seeing the newsreels.) Spike and his Battery fought three enemies, the rain, the mud, and of course Jerry. There is no doubt in my mind that the winter of 1943/4 pushed Spike ever closer to the verge of what we once called a nervous breakdown. We gather that his defence was his eccentric sense of humour and that of his immediate circle. Yes, they were funny. At times desperately funny. And we all know what desperate means.
After months of dreadful conditions and battle casualties and a cold hearted, autocratic Battery Commander, Spike is caught in a Mortar attack, slightly wounded, physically, but totally wrecked mentally. The final chapters of the book record his treatment, such as it was and his subsequent recovery, as the war in Europe ended.
The book is written with, at times, great sensitivity. Regarding the "funny" bits, yes some of them are very funny in a pre Goon Show style. However, it is a book that should be read by those of us who abhor War and recognise that war is not an enterprise to be entered upon lightly.
Read the book. In places, you will laugh, but in places you will be close to tears.
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Brilliantly entertaining read, as are all of Spike's war diaries. Zany humour amid the shocking reality of war - and absolutely true to life as it was (and probably still is) in the forces. Really can't recommend too highly - a view widely shared.
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Spike Milligan's books on WW2 can't be recommended highly enough. Anyone who has worked in factories, warehouses, building sites etc. in peacetime at below management level will appreciate the humour, spirit, boredom, excitement and sometimes frustration while being controlled by the decisions of someone much higher up. These books make a brilliant antidote to the haughty accounts of both world wars by academic historians.
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Spike Milligan was a genius. In this book you hear of some of the more grisly experiences he had, right up to when he got shelled.

He paints a tragic picture of the war using some of his strong relationships to demonstrate the realism of his experiences. He manages to make you laugh at the ludicrous situations he finds himself in, then you get angry and frustrated with some examples of the callous leadership. Finally, he brings you down to earth by highlighting how pointless it all is.

I wish I could have been a fan during his lifetime. Long live Spike, a national treasure.
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I read the first two books (Adolf Hitler - my part in his downfall and Monty - my part in his victory) years ago and refreshed on my Kindle before reading this episode. This book is no different to the first two, an absolutely hilarious account of a very serious time in British history. At times his real feelings about his "mates" comes through sometimes sad but mostly funny stories of the difficulties of fighting a stubborn enemy in very difficult terrain. A great read especially for those who knew Spike's comedic genius on both radio and television.
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Hilarious!
I liked Spike Milligan but hadn't read any of his books, This book is wonderful. I literally laughed aloud, so much so that I had to stop reading it on the bus on my way to and from work.
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Exactly what you would expect from Spike Milligan

Funny factual and self deprecating - the guy just oozes fun and despair at times but it' a great read. Although some of the content would land him in court if written today!!
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Terribly funny, cynical account of what it's really like to be in the army fighting in a war. No heroics, just wry observation of the whole bloody insanity.
Spike suffered for the rest of his life from the after-effects of his experiences, but his war books and his part in the Goon Show were the positive outcomes. If there are libraries for the fighting services, this book should certainly be on their shelves.
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