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on March 8, 2000
This is a review of the series of seven embellished autobiographies as a whole, rather than just this one book. "Adolf Hitler:..." sees our skinny hero called up to serve his country in 1940 and introduces many of the other characters - particularly those involved in the genesis of The Goon Show. In subsequent books the war takes Spike to Africa, Italy and Liberated Europe and is a wonderful insight of those turbulent times through the eyes of a sometimes scared, sometimes overbearingly joyful, sometime shellshocked trumpet playing clown from London. This series takes you through the ups and downs: the death of friends, the pining for a world forever changed, romance in Capri, continual banter between friends, cold collation and the bloody awful Warsaw concerto. The first book was written in 1973 (I think) and the last was sometime in the early nineties; and you can definitely see the change in Spike as his writes the later books - the pathos is much stronger, the notes about wartime friends who recently died are truly moving. Spike acknowledges he is writing history, but that "I spiced mine up a bit". It's the history of wartorn and postwar europe from the individual man's perspective - a man who eats pasta on italian balconies, drinking cheap red wine until he passes out; who plays raucous tunes and chases the girls; who always goes for the punch line - but it's also the eulogy of his wartime friends, friends he loved. It also explains (in part) how Spike Milligan, as we know him, came to be.
Free flowing comedy counterchanged with pathos and bathos - it's all there and I love every word.
The other books are "Rommel? Gunner Who?", "Monty: His Part in My Victory", "Mussolini: His Part in My Downfall", "Where Have All the Bullets Gone?", "Goodbye Soldier" and "Peace Work".
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on May 7, 2001
And I haven't stopped laughing. I had never heard of Spike Milligan before, but I found his book funny in a way that only the Brits can be, and touching with many moving parts about the war from a crazy man's perspective. I have since read five other Spike Milligan books, and none of them were a disappointment. Seeing WWII from Spike's point of view is realistic, funny, and very thought provoking. My British friend told me he (Spike) was crazy. At first I thought that was just a saying, but it's true. Spike is mentally defunct, in a very happy and bubbly kind of way. You will enjoy this book.
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on May 28, 2015
I was hoping for more substance. The book was reasonably funny in some places, but I was bothered by the excess of vulgar humor. Somehow it was too immature for an adult audience and yet contained elements too mature for a younger readership. It's hard to imagine what audience would enjoy it. I won't be reading the next books in this series.
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on July 26, 2000
I usually don't like war memoirs but I'd read anything by this guy. It is one of the funniest and most original books ever. Spike Milligan is a one-off and I'm so disappointed it's out of print. Our family's copy has fallen to bits cause so many people have read it. It should definitely be put into print again AND SOON!
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on January 3, 2003
I've now read all of Spike Milligan's war memoirs and think they're excellent (I'm also not a big fan of the Goons). While generally very funny you can really sense his depressive moods even at times when he's not explicit about them.
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on May 5, 2015
Spikes sense of humour was brilliant. This type of humour carried over into the BBC's Goon Show which was what inspired the Monty Python series.
A very entertaining read.
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on August 26, 2015
Typical Milligan. Reads a lot like Dads Army
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