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Other Times by Leslie Thomas

Other Times

by Leslie Thomas

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In Other Times by Leslie Thomas we see the early days of World War II through the eyes of James Bevan, a young captain of a small anti-aircraft unit that is guarding the south coast of England. This is the early days of the war, the period that eventually became known as the Phoney War as nothing was happening. The soldiers become involved with many of the local citizens, some helping out at a local orphanage for displaced European children, while others getting romantically involved with girls from the area. The author recreates the atmosphere, the sights and sounds of this time and lures the reader into the quiet of this lull. It is all the more shocking then, when a small unit, with Bevan in command, is assigned to a naval ship and set to Norway to help with the retreat. The noise, violence and danger is brought to the forefront as the ship is repeatedly attacked by German aircraft.

Along with the current situation, we are also given insight into James Bevan’s life. His mother’s suicide, his separation from his sister, his placement in a boy’s military school, all these events helped to shape the man he was to become. The author’s descriptions of both people and places are detailed and he spikes his story with plenty of laughter, tears and cups of tea.

Except for being a little wordy, Other Times is written with depth and heart. The book ends just as the Battle for Britain starts in the late summer of 1940 but the author was able to bring the early days of the war to life and I found the book to be an enjoyable, informative read. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Aug 18, 2016 |
A very gentle and rather nostalgic novel about the early years of the war on the home front. Set around an anti-aircraft detachment, it paints a picture of life in wartime England during the phoney war, Norway, France and the Battle of Britain. ( )
  johnthefireman | Mar 28, 2015 |
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At the start of the war in 1939 James Bevan is a junior officer approaching middle-age, attached to a small anti-aircraft unit on the south coast. Abandoned by his wife, the soldiers he command are his family: Bairnsfather, whose sexual encounters with his girl friend Muriel take place in an air-raid shelter; Cartwright, trying to keep two women on his gunner's pay of a shilling a day; Hignet, cosily educating himself in the orderly room. It is a rude awakening when they are called upon for the real war. Hugely absorbing, rich and rewarding, Other Times brims with history and experience, love, sorrow and humour.… (more)

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