My Part in his Downfall
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Spike Milligan's legendary war memoirs are a hilarious and subversive first-hand account of the Second World War, as well as a fascinating portrait of the formative years of this towering comic genius, most famous as writer and star of The Goon Show. They have sold over 4.5 million copies since they first appeared.
'The most irreverent, hilarious book about the war that I have ever read' Sunday Express
'Brilliant verbal pyrotechnics, throwaway lines and marvelous anecdotes' Daily Mail
'Desperately funny, vivid, vulgar' Sunday Times
'At Victoria station the R.T.O. gave me a travel warrant, a white feather and a picture of Hitler marked "This is your enemy". I searched every compartment, but he wasn't on the train...'
In this, the first of Spike Milligan's uproarious recollections of life in the army, our hero takes us from the outbreak of war in 1939 ('it must have been something we said'), through his attempts to avoid enlistment ('time for my appendicitis, I thought') and his gunner training in Bexhill ('There was one drawback. No ammunition') to the landing at Algiers in 1943 ('I closed my eyes and faced the sun. I fell down a hatchway').
Filled with bathos, pathos and gales of ribald laughter, this is a barely sane helping of military goonery and superlative Milliganese.
'That absolutely glorious way of looking at things differently. A great man' Stephen Fry
'Milligan is the Great God to all of us' John Cleese
'The Godfather of Alternative Comedy' Eddie Izzard
'Manifestly a genius, a comic surrealist genius and had no equal' Terry Wogan
'A totally original comedy writer' Michael Palin
'Close in stature to Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear in his command of the profound art of nonsense' Guardian
Spike Milligan was one of the greatest and most influential comedians of the twentieth century. Born in India in 1918, he served in the Royal Artillery during WWII in North Africa and Italy. At the end of the war, he forged a career as a jazz musician, sketch-show writer and performer, before joining forces with Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe to form the legendary Goon Show. Until his death in 2002, he had success as on stage and screen and as the author of over eighty books of fiction, memoir, poetry, plays, cartoons and children's stories.
- Penguin Books Ltd, December 2012
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