Most helpful positive review
Has anybody seen our gun? No, what colour is it?
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".