Posted on 2010-10-17. By anonymous.
Review of the first book:
Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall, published in 1971, is the first of Spike Milligan's war autobiographies. The book spans from when Britain declares war on Germany to when Milligan lands in Algeria as a part of the Allied liberation of Africa.
The preface anticipates that the book will be part of a trilogy; years later, the cover of the fourth volume said "Don't be fooled this is the last, volume four of the war memoirs", and ultimately Milligan published seven volumes covering his war service, his first nervous breakdown and reallocation to rear-echelon duties, his demob and early years trying to break into the entertainment industry. In Mussolini: His Part in My Downfall, having been stung by a critic who called the biographies unreliable, Milligan wrote, "I wish the reader to know that he is not reading a tissue of lies and fancies, it all really happened."
The presentation is an unusual format freely mixing narrative anecdotes, contemporaneous photography, excerpts from actual diaries, actual letters, rough sketches, and performance programs, along with comic sketches and absurd fake memoranda from ranking Nazi officials. However, with regard to Milligan's veracity, the hard facts are usually apparent. Milligan says in the preface: "All the salient facts are true". And at the end of the preface: "There were the deaths of some of my friends, and therefore, no matter how funny I tried to make this book, that will always be at the back of my mind: but, were they alive today, they would have been the first to join in the laughter, and that laughter was, I'm sure, the key to victory".
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