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When it isn't prison, it's hell.
Or at least that's the heartfelt belief of conscripts Jonathan Browne and Mike 'Ginger' Brady. For this is the British Army in the days of National Service, a grimy deposit of post-war gloom. An endless round of kit layout, square-bashing, shepherd's pie 'made with real shepherds' and drills is relieved only by the occasional lecture on firearms or V.D. The reckless, impulsive Mike and the more pragmatic Jonathan adopt radically different attitudes to survive this two-year confiscation of their freedom, with dramatic consequences
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"Vivid, funny, and with a compassion made all the more moving by the harshness of its military setting" (Daily Telegraph)
"Has the ring of complete authenticity...the mingling of horror and farce are all brilliantly evoked" (A.N. Wilson Spectator)
"Engaging slapstick...the Woody Allen of contemporary English fiction" (Jonathan Bate Sunday Telegraph)
"An authentic picture of the sordid futility of National Service... I found the total recall agreeably unnerving" (Christopher Ricks New Statesman)
"National Service has rarely been better evoked... an extremely well-told, well-organised story" (Times Literary Supplement)
A funny, shocking novel about the trials and traumas of British post-war National Service.
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