Warriors for the Working Day Hardcover – 1961
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Warriors For the Working Day is a novel written by Peter Elstob, published in 1960, with later translations into other languages. The novel, based on real events from June, 1944, during the Battle of Normandy, until the invasion of Germany in the spring of 1945, describes fighting by the men of a small unit of British tanks during this period, with the focus on one particular tank crew. The novel is highly realistic, as it is based on Elstob's own experiences during this period. The title is taken from William Shakespeare's Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3, before the Battle of Agincourt. King Henry replies to the French herald, Mountjoy: Let me speak proudly: tell the constable We are but warriors for the working-day; Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch'd With rainy marching in the painful field; There's not a piece of feather in our host-- Good argument, I hope, we will not fly-- And time hath worn us into slovenry: But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim. The title appears to imply that while the British are not professionals, they are up to the task of defeating the forces of Nazi Germany. It also hearkens back to the age when individual men fought in armour, and when Englishmen were fighting in France.
Top Customer Reviews
He sets the tale of Sgt. Donovan and his crew just before D-Day on Exercise and runs it through the invasion into the bitter fighting in the low countries.
The Crew may seem to be drawn from central casting, but they do ring true to wide social spread to be found in the British Army in 1944. From men brought up in privation and those brought up in privilege living cheek by jowl as "Tommies".
In Particular the story of Geordie who until joining up had never had a set of underwear instead wrapping his body in rags and newspaper against the cold under his hand me down clothes and having to be sent to one of the special army training centres to be "built up" as he is under nourished. This sounds like something my father told me about Army life when he was called up in 1940, unbelievable in 21st century England but in post depression England an all too common occurrence.
I first read this book in 1977 and it still stands in my mind as a classic of men at war. Still as gripping in 2010 as it was in 1977.
This is a Book Club Edition from 1961 sold by NetTreasure and was received as advised in good order.
I read this book when I was 13 or 14 back in the 1970's and have been back to it several times since to remind myself what it was "really like". The author published several book about the units he was with during the 1944/45 campaign as well as this novel, all are well written and easy to follow. This book is the one that should have been made into a film, some of the better and believable parts in "Fury" almost seem to have been lift from it's pages.
A very good read, should be on a school reading list along with Middlebrook's "First Day on the Somme" and "Convoy".
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A novel of a British tank crew in Normandy. The author - Elstob, was a tank commander in this theatre so knows of what he writes.
An excellent story. Read more
My all time favourite book about tankers during WWII. Peter Elstob is also one of my favourite authorsPublished 8 months ago by John Dixon