There is some controversy as to whether events happened as described in the book. However, it’s an interesting book, and it’s clear that Mr Avey has had an interesting life. It’s refreshing to see someone standing up for the Jews rather than trying to get rid of them, whether physically, spiritually, or politically.
It surely can’t have been easy taking orders from a megalomaniac sister, and yet men did in the hospitals caring for injured soldiers. This seems to be an honest account of the struggles and challenges faced by the orderly in a war hospital – and is punctuated by anecdotes about escaping patients (apparently the blind ones are the worst), particularly one about a new-fangled escalator. This is a very enjoyable book, and is also a valuable first person account of a significant time in British history.
I love being tucked up on my sofa with a good book; and reading about the wilderness areas these people passed through, and how they explored the Yellowstone area and were instrumental in making it a national park, is tremendous. It was (obviously) written over 100 years ago, and yet, the petty squabbles they had the the personality clashes are easily understandable today – even if the remoteness of the area is not quite so easy to relate to now.
Wowsers, there’s a book and a half.
This is the incredible story of a group of political prisoners who escape from Siberia and walk all the way to northern India. It’s amazing what these people went through, and equally amazing is the welcome they get from people they meet on the way. The hospitality of strangers is so heart-warming it makes you tingle slightly; particularly when you’re part of a culture that’s completely the other way, and sees someone helping someone else as being cute but a bit weird.
The struggle that these people went through is indescribable; their trek through ice, snow, mountains, desert, exposed areas and all while they were seriously malnourished and exhausted. This is a genuine feat of tremendous endurance, far more so than any scheduled expedition. These people traversed the Himalayas with empty bellies and homemade moccasins! I could quite happily read this all over again.
Not a massively catchy title. This is a short but beautiful book, mostly it is written by the man himself and edited by Hodder-Williams, with a few comments by him also. It gives a really good idea of what went on in the trenches, and what life was like for ‘Tommy’.
As he says himself: ‘Isn’t it wonderful how many sorrows the British army can drown in a cup of tea?’ I reckon it’s changed a bit since then though.
There is one particular bit, in which the soldier writes about his experiences with the YMCA (while it was still effective, and before it had completely sold out on its origins): ‘I am sure everyone was overstocked with chocolates and cigarettes, for we all kept returning to the counter to buy something just for the sake of a smile or a ‘How are you getting on, Tommy?’ from one of our hostesses. The whistle blew and we all made a rush for our trucks. The ladies stood in a body at the end of the paltform, and as each truck passed waved and wished us good luck. The noise we made was deafening; we cheered and cheered until the little group of England’s unknown heroines on the platform passed from sight. Our hearts were very full.’ That just about says it all. I had to pause a little bit at this point. The line between life and death in this book is so thin, and these acts of kindness really hit home almost as much for the reader as they must have done for the soldiers involved.
There’s also the camaraderie and humour of the trenches too: ‘We have a rare lot of ditties. We often sing across ‘Has anyone seen a German Band,’ or ‘I want my Fritz to play twiddly bits on his old trombone.’ We really have a good bit of fun at times; other days are – crudely, but truthfully putting it – ‘Hell’.’
It’s so sad that these people had to give so much. I wonder what they’d think if they were able to come back. That’s probably not a good thing to wonder.
This is the sort of book you need to read now and again. Like when you forget that Britain hasn’t always been like this. Sometimes it’s been Great.
Sometimes it’s good to read something you wouldn’t normally choose. I have absolutely no desire to go to the Antarctic and munch on penguin legs and seal fritters, but this is an excellent book. These men had it hard. The success of their mission relied on good organisation, but it succeeded or failed on the state of the weather – and in this case it failed. Not only this, but they were mostly completely cut off from e outside world, to the point that they had to rescue themselves – and even that was touch and go. Exploring just isn’t the same today. This book is refreshing because it makes you realise how people struggled to make the discoveries and achievements they did. From reading this I am filled with admiration for the guts of these men, it’s amazing what they did and what they attempted. It’s not all Goretex and GPS.
It’s one of those books you hear about and think ‘I really must read that’. And then you take some time of work, get it from the library and settle down to read. And you get ever so slightly disappointed. It gets bigged up quite a lot, considering that there isn’t a huge amount of plot – but it makes up for that with a lot of yachtty technical jargon and stuff about tides. Not massively my kind of book, however, the two main characters were really well thought out, both of them endearing – particularly Davies’ penchant for looking for stuff to throw overboard. I’m glad I read it, but it was a mite disappointing.