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on 30 December 2017
Having just watched 633 Squadron on that well known channel ITV4 I felt it opportune to write a few words in praise of Al Murray's book.

As a man of a certain age, a little older than Al, I grew up on the same films he references. And more importantly I did watch many of them with my Dad. Unfortunately my Dad is getting frail, to be expected at aged 88 and having been bombed out of his home in 1940 by the Germans, and I will be left with memories rather than reality.

But, and it's a hugely positive but, Al's book presses all the right emotional and intellectual buttons. If you've never watched war films with your Dad I thoroughly recommend this book. It brings those times and their detail so vividly to life. And you find yourself transported to the event (in the 40’s) and subsequently to the 70’s in which Murray dwells as an Airfix model making child. I found myself analysing 633 Squadron in a similar Murray like vein. "They weren't 109s in the film, they were a fake wider bodied aircraft". Quite possibly a Messerschmitt Bf 108 Taifun!

So to be recommended to buy now after you've had a Christmas binge (2010’s phrasing I'm afraid) on classic war movies. I didn't see The Great Escape. But I did see Henry Cole's piece on Steve McQueen - so that almost counts.

Oh yes and as a post script. I bought the hard back copy of Al's book for my Dad. I may well do a review on his behalf later. But this review is technically my Kindle copy!
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on 20 December 2013
I'm a fan of the real Al Murray, as we've seen in his various war documentaries, rather than the Pub Landlord figure. And, as I also suffered from relatives criticising the accuracy of war films during my youth in the early 80s, I was expecting this to be an amusing trip down memory lane.

In truth we sort of get this, and we sort of get some history lessons, and some interesting/thought provoking Pub Landlord-esque views on things like Operation Market Garden, and how it was portrayed in A Bridge Too Far.

The main reason I've marked this down to three stars is that the book skips between these three things intermittently, never really concluding much, and ultimately ending quite abruptly. Overall I got the impression it was either very heavily edited, or simply rushed out in time for Christmas without any editing at all.

Also, it should be said that given how short and incomplete it is, it is rather expensive on the Kindle.
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on 13 December 2013
Worth it for '90s Tory bad boy' Alan Clarke being dubbed a 'grimly louche chancer'. History graduate from a military family Murray is an entertaining and illuminating host throughout. If you are obsessed with exactly what tanks or airplanes look like this will be indispensable. I'm not but there is plenty of psychological insight into stiff upper lip chaps like Monty and distilled wisdom from very wide reading into various wars, their genesis, chaotic cock ups, how the verdict of history changes and much more. The chapter on benefits of war informed me MDMA was invented by Merck for battlefield surgery - like many people I thought it had been intended as an appetite suppressant.

Fever Pitch for military buffs. packed with useful info, (if you fancy an amusing FACT HUNT! Look no further.)
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on 14 December 2013
At times personal family memoir, at my times rumination on History as a discipline and at times analysis of Operation Market Garden it does ramble but always in an engaging, humane and charming way. Murray impresses as a thoughtful and, not surprisingly, amusing guide to events, their recollection, presentation and meaning as the generations of his family form a thread from the Second World War to the present. Many of his memories I thought were my own and I am left wondering how many of us were taken to see A Bridge Too Far by fathers who served in the post-war Airborne Forces!
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on 22 December 2014
Part memoir, part military history, this is an entertaining look at the author's fascination with war from a childhood spent playing with Action Man and building Airfix kits to adult visits to battlefield sites.

It's a light read for the most part though Murray is prone to digressions - rather like this but he can digress for pages at a time. I frequently found myself either backtracking to find out what the original point was or mentally screaming, "Get on with it!" at the page.

That aside Watching War Films With My Dad is funny and often throws up interesting and surprising facts.
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on 4 December 2015
I'm not a great fan of the pub landlord but I am now a huge fan of Al Murray. Clever, well read, informed, funny, humane and moving - this is a really enjoyable read. I hope he writes more books as himself - I'll certainly be buying them if he does!!
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on 29 March 2016
I purchased this book for my fiance who seemed to share some very similar experiences to Al's childhood, watching war films and debating which tank was in which film.

It came signed as well which was a nice bonus and got my fiance very confused with how i achieved this feat.

My fiance said that it was a great read, well written, entertaining and funny.
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VINE VOICEon 25 December 2016
This is a very entertaining book. Murray writes very well and whilst an amateur is not a bad military historian. Worth reading if you are interested in the subject.
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on 4 March 2014
This was an interesting book for me as Al Murray seemed to have the same interests as me growing up, in bring fascinated by war films. However despite the title, the book fears off the topic at times, and leaves the reader confused with what it is actually about. An autobiography at times? Or a book about history? Or war films?
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on 15 November 2014
Started very well. But I became a bit distracted in the middle. Not really sure what purpose the book is meant to serve. Entertaining it is and I enjoy the armchair historian aspect to Murray's writing but it was not as fluid or connected as I was expecting. Certainly worth the money as a secondhand purchase.
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