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on 10 July 2013
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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on 12 February 2015
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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on 4 June 2016
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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on 16 September 2016
Very funny - I haven't finished it because I have been really busy but having read the first few pages, it had me in stitches. I leant it to my sister's husband whilst they were on holiday - he read it within a couple of days and said it was brilliant.
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on 19 October 2017
I actually preferred his war memoirs to his T.V. programs. He used humour to cope with a harrowing time.
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on 19 March 2017
Usual Spike zany fare and a good read for that. Also interesting real insight into WWII front line life.
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on 8 April 2017
Warfare should not be this funny, nice one spike.
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on 16 October 2017
Extreme and funny
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on 18 July 2017
As with all of the Spike Milligan book that I have read in the past. Very informative, and so so hillarious, that I often shead tears of laughter.

BRILLIANT
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on 29 April 2017
Funny but sad. Highlights the horrors of war.
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