His Part in My 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
A voice is calling across the land, 'Bombardier Milligan.' 'Bombadier Milligan is dead,' I replied in a disguised voice. The voice replied, 'Then he's going to miss his breakfast.'
The fourth volume of Spike Milligan's legendary account of his time in the army during World War Two begins as he and his regiment land in sunny Italy in 1943 ('The ship touched the beach very gently, so gently I suspect it's not insured'). After a bout of Sandfly Fever, from which he soon recovers ('I'm ready to be killed again'), our plucky hero is piddled on by a farm dog ('Mussolini's revenge?') before forging his way inland towards the enemy and the sound of guns ('We're getting near civilisation'), where matters suddenly take a dark turn ('I was not really me any more') ...
'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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