Stand by Your Beds!: A Wry Look at National Service

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9780953503667: Stand by Your Beds!: A Wry Look at National Service
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The first and last chapters of the book outline the setting and nature of National Service between the years of 1948 and 1963 and comment on some of its effects on the 2 million young men who, reluctantly or otherwise, went through it. This is a part of our social history which has been dealt with at a fictional level by Arnold Wesker, David Lodge and Leslie Thomas but, prior to this book, there has been relatively little written of a factual nature other than Trevor Royle’s The Best Years of their Lives and perhaps two or three other little know texts.

The other chapters of Stand by your Beds! use the author’s own experience in the RAF to illustrate, often with wry humour and sometimes with a degree of quiet drama, some of the boring, stressful, whimsical, ludicrous and exciting events that were packed into these two years. The subtle changes from resentment to enthusiasm in some who served their time, and the reverse process in others, are pointed up by the recounting of episodes which actually happened. These will surely echo for many other National Servicemen their own experience and convey to their children and grandchildren something of the flavour, activities and attitudes that filled those two compulsorily ‘stolen’ years of their lives.

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Review:

The marvellous thing about David Clark s book is that it is told very much in human terms. He has an author s eye for anecdote and an author s ear for the rhythm of language. The real entertainment, however, lies in the episodes and incidents with which all service life is peppered. Norman Harper, Press and Journal --Norman Harper, Press and Journal

This book is outside any normal genre, being an amusing personal; reminiscence sandwiched between a short analytical prologue to set the scene and an epilogue, assessing the various impacts on that generation.... 'Stand By Your Beds!' is one of a kind and succeeds in a distinctly individual way. --Alastair Cunningham, History Scotland

David Findlay Clark could not be accused of glamorising the topic in recounting his National Service with the RAF in the early fifties. From initiation to operational duties, he pays close attention to detail, keeping alive the gritty realism of his own experiences....His adventures are depicted frankly and with humour. --Craigie. Dundee Courier

About the Author:

David Findlay Clark retired from working as a consultant clinical psychologist in private practice and as a Clinical Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mental Health at Aberdeen University some years ago. Dr Clark is a son of the manse who was brought up in Banff and educated at Banff Academy and Aberdeen University. He has written extensively in recent years and a further autobiography, Remember Who You Are, will be published shortly.

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