30 May 2016

One of the Great War Memoirs -- By a Goon

It might come as a surprise to some of his fans, but the British comedian -- how can you describe him? iconoclastic? groundbreaking? -- Spike Milligan wrote one of the most authentic memoirs of the the experience of World War 2,
Milligan, who died in 2002, is still best known as one of the founders of the fabulous radio comedy that changed the face of British humor forever, The Goon Show, broadcast in Britain from 1951 to 1960. It was a favorite of the Beatles, the creators of Firesign Theater, and the members of Monty Python's Flying Circus, to name just a few.
But in 1939, Terence Milligan was a 20-year-old draftee, and served throughout the war. He was a very bright, observant kid, and he was paying attention. In 1971, he published the first in a series of memoirs, titled (characteristically): Adolph Hitler: My Part In His Downfall. This was followed by six more memoirs, covering the years up to and including his entry into show business and the formation of the Goons.
All of these are available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook; but they are also, wonderfully, available as audiobooks read by Spike himself.
Even if you don't usually care for audiobooks, these are a fantastic treat. Once you listen to the first one you'll want to hear them all. Milligan's writing is hilarious, true, but it is also insightful, touching, sad, delicate, angry, joyous, and, most of all, real.
I just can't recommend it too highly. Do yourself a favor, and let Spike explain it all.

Adolph Hitler: My Part In His Downfall (Amazon)

Spike_Milligan (Wikipedia)