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Synopsis

Includes the War in North Africa Illustration Pack – 112 photos/illustrations and 21 maps.

Few records of war are a lucid, vivid and sensitively written as Keith Douglas’ “Alamein to Zem Zem”. The author himself was a man of great poetic gifts who had established himself as a leading light in the Oxford literary circles, tutored by no less a person than First World War veteran and acclaimed poet Edmund Blunden. A talent that did not outlast the war, killed in action in Normandy 1944, but his lasting legacy is contained in this exceptional book.

Within days of the declaration of the Second World War Douglas had volunteered, chaffing at the bit to get at the Germans. Having passed out of the officer training course at Sandhurst, he was sent to the Middle East in 1941 to join his comrades in the Sherwood Foresters Yeomanry (a tank unit). He was disappointed to be given a staff appointment away from the fighting line; and during the Battle of El Alamein, he snapped and as he put it;

“The battle of Alamein began on the 23rd of October, 1942. Six days afterwards I set out in direct disobedience of orders to rejoin my regiment. My batman was delighted with this manoeuvre. ‘I like you, sir,’ he said. ‘You’re shit or bust, you are.’ This praise gratified me a lot.”

…and so began his odyssey began from the Alamein line to victory at Zem Zem. Critically acclaimed at the time of publication, and now widely regarded as a military classic.

“one of the very best prose accounts of fighting the last war.”—Philip Toynbee, The Observer.

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