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The White Rabbit: Wing Commander F.F.E.Yeo-Thomas (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) Paperback – 7 Dec 2000
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About the Author
Bruce Marshall was a prolific Scottish writer who wrote fiction and non-fiction books on a wide range of topics and genres.
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It says in the introduction for The White Rabbit that Bruce Marshall was Yeo-Thomas's choice for writing his story. That made me wonder whether it might be told in a rather sycophantic way.
I needn't have bothered. The story is so incredible anyway (and well-documented in enough other sources for me to know it hasn't been embellished in this book) that there's no need for sycophancy.
It strikes me that it's an ideal book for mid-teenagers, so that they understand the real sacrifices that were made for us during WW II. Don't get me wrong - I wasn't even close to being born then, but I think I do have the beginnings of an appreciation, having read this book and others.
But the reason it'd be good for kids of that age is that they'll be swept along by the story like a cork in a fast stream, and never even think they're being 'taught' anything! The tale of the White Rabbit is absolutely incredible! From one hair-raisingly scary situation to the next, he's never less than dignified and honourable, and always incredibly resourceful - even in the face of terrible adversity.
I recently visited the VC room in the Imperial War Museum, and stood for a good 10-15 minutes at the small cabinet containing F F Y-T's memorabilia. You can't help but almost worship at this 'shrine'. I certainly believe we all owe him (and numerous others like him, of course) a great deal of respect and thanks.
Better than any Famous Five tales, and more exciting than just about any other book you'll find, this is a member of that rare club - a genuinely gripping, exciting AND educational book.
Originally published in 1952 and with the original long out of print, this and several others of similar age and similar in subject have recently been reprinted. Unfortunately, this time the printing is quite heavy and the characters are actually too dense to read comfortably. Some portions of the book are printed either at a smaller size than the bulk of the book or italicised and they are the least legible. It does not affect the story but the pleasure in reading it.
The book is not a first-hand telling but, as with many others of this nature, told to and written by a another person. Where, in other books, a specific event is related by two different authors they do not always totally concur and the same is true here. It may be that memories were affected by the passage of time as some were not written until quite recently rather than soon after the event(s) or by the experiences of torture and then interment in a concentration camp; Yeo-Thomas had experienced both as had others.
A worthwhile telling and near to first-hand, but the printing spoils it.
The book was utterly gripping from start to finish. It tells the story of a truly inspirational man fighting, not for King and country, but for his own survival. The tension created by the author is all the more real since we know it's based on a true story.
You won't regret buying it. I promise.
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