Worth the price of admission purely for ’90s Tory Bad Boy Alan Clarke’ described as a ‘grimly louche chancer’ this is a fun memoir with some serious reflections on families, war and mortality.
Al Murray is a History graduate from a military family, an entertaining host throughout this Fever Pitch for military buffs. He has read widely on this vast subject and can also draw on his experience in the Cadet Corps or filming military documentaries. There are musings on the nature of history, how it may be shaped by political or academic fashion. There’s psychological insight into stiff upper lip chaps like Monty, the contrast between him and General Patton and an affectionate portrayal of the author’s Dad, a stickler for detail with an encyclopaedic knowledge of where the movies get it wrong.
Alongside intriguing theories there are fascinating facts. The chapter on benefits of war informed me that MDMA was invented by Merck for battlefield surgery – like many people I thought it had been intended as an appetite suppressant.
So if you like a good FACT HUNT!, this is as enjoyable as the audience shouting out that title from Al Murray’s telly quiz, (something worth bellowing if George Galloway is in the vicinity).
Also good to see Chomsky put to the sword. If you liked Mr Murray’s excellent war documentaries you’ll dig this.