Last Night Another Soldier...
By Andy McNab
I was given this book as part of the World Book Night; it is not the sort of book that I would automatically pick up. But, in the spirit of the free book event, I decided to give it a go, before passing it on.
Designated a quick read, the story was a short tale, this particular edition written in reasonably large print, the whole being read in perhaps an hour or two. I believe this is designed to entice the less regular or less confident reader to pick it up and engage with a book. Perhaps it will; I think that this author is a best-selling writer of war novels, and the Special Forces, based in the U.K. in particular. I’m not too sure that this subject is one to promote to the world in general or the skill of the writer, with their ability to transport us to new times and places. But it is here, so here goes...
The tale tells of an episode in the lives of a group of soldiers, on the front line, as told by the youngest of the group. In the first person style, ‘Briggsy’ tells us what it’s like to be attacked, attack, sort through the personal effects of a fallen comrade, how it is to pacify a parent an finally what the effect is when the battle is in full flow. All these things are told to us in only 107 pages of print, so little or none of the above subjects are covered at any length. Very much the type of book where this happened, then that happened and finally that happened. There is little or no exploration into the why’s and wherefores of why they are there, or the politics of the conflict or the moral dilemmas that accompany international conflict.
I have no doubt that the story will, and does appeal to fans of this type of literature, and Andy McNab is a major author in this field, but it is not to my taste. Did that come across in my previous comments? I do hope so. Whilst I will fight and argue for the right of everybody to write and read all manner of literature, and I do accept the perceived fact of the genres appeal to a great proportion of the reading public, but I wonder if blood, gore and obvious blood thirstiness will serve to tease readers back to the shelves of the local library, charity shop or quality bookseller. So I do wonder two things; why was it written in this format, sponsored by an international chocolate bar maker, and who is it aimed at? Young men who want this sort of entertainment have computer games where they can be even more sucked into the scenario, the coffee break audience, I can’t believe, will want war with their early morning coffee, and there is insufficient substance for the glutton (like me) of immersing literature.
If anyone still wants to give this book a go after reading my review, then I do have a copy to pass on. I will be more than happy to send it through the post, to anywhere in the world. Please, just contact me.