North Africa, 1942. Dust, heat, thirst, flies. A good clean fight, for those who like that sort of thing, and some do. From an advanced landing field, striking hard and escaping fast, our old friends from Hornet Squadron (Piece of Cake) play Russian roulette, flying their clapped-out Tomahawks on ground-strafing forays. Meanwhile, on the ground, the men of Captain Lampard's S.A.S. patrol drive hundreds of miles behind enemy lines to plant bombs on German aircraft.
This is the story of a war of no glamour and few heroes, in a setting often more lethal than the enemy.
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Derek Robinson, the son of a policeman, read history at Cambridge before working in advertising in London and New York. His novel Goshawk Squadron was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1971.From Booklist:
A Good Clean Fight focuses on the British campaign against Rommel in 1942, in particular on one light-armored company's deep reconnaissance of and raids on isolated German airfields--led by the rather daft Jack Lampard--and on Major Paul Schramm, a German intelligence officer, who cleverly tracks the company. We are also introduced to some air squadrons from both sides and their marvelous dogfights. In one tactile scene, a pilot rolls his craft and banks sharply to avoid flak; he "browns out" and then finds himself far over the desert, momentarily quite lost. Nonetheless, Schramm and Lampard steal the show, chasing each other, cracking jokes--they are really quite alike, and, seen through their eyes, war is a grim but also a joyous affair. Even the plague of flies that follows these sweating men every step of the way can seem amusing: "If they followed Lampard rather more faithfully it was not because he was the officer but because he was six foot two and there was more of him to overheat." Robinson is extremely funny, actually, and subtle, which lifts his writing out of the genre; even so, he's not much interested in causes or in the meaninglessness of war. Of course it's meaningless, he might say. He wants to focus on young men in a great adventure, risking their lives and loving it, playing deadly games with complicated, deadly machinery. "Men are always killing themselves to prove their manhood," says a woman at Paul Schramm's funeral. Precisely. John Mort
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Book Description Harper Collins, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P11000271275X