As I seem to be running with a somewhat nostalgic theme for the moment, here’s a book that I read a while ago and that brought back many memories of my own childhood. I can recommend it very highly indeed to anyone who grew up as a boy (and probably at least a few who grew up as girls) in Britain during the 1960s and 1970s.
For now, I’ll just repeat the blurb from the Amazon website:
“This is a book about men and war. Not real conflict but war as it has filtered down to generations of boys and men through toys, comics, games and movies. Harry Pearson belongs to the great battalion of British men who grew up playing with toy soldiers – refighting World War II – and then stopped growing up. Inspired by the photos of the gallant pilot uncles that decorated the wall above his father’s model-making table, by Sergeant Hurricane, Action Man and Escape from Colditz, dressed in Clarks’ commando shoes and with the Airfix Army in support, he battled in the fields and on the beaches, in his head and on the sitting-room floor and across his bedroom ceiling. And thirty years later he still is.
ACHTUNG SCHWEINEHUND! is a celebration of those glory days, a boy’s own story of the urge to play, to conquer – and to adopt very bad German accents, shouting ‘Donner und Blitzen’ at every opportunity. This is a tale of obsession, glue and plastic kits. It is the story of one boy’s imaginary war and where it led him.”
I have to admit that reading it left me with a strange longing to acquire the Escape from Colditz board game once more (conveniently, but dangerously for my bank balance, it’s been reissued quite recently), and to set up garden wargames using Action Man figures…so be warned!
If you want to take the risk, Achtung Schweinehund! is available from Amazon and, of course, other booksellers.