Going to the Wars

By John Verney

As a memoir, John Verney’s account of his wartime experience is descriptive but sometimes detached – and yet, somehow, this makes it all the more readable. It’s more about army life in general than it is about one specific theatre or campaign; he talks about time spent overseas but focuses on his comrades on arms – their views, their experiences. Verney won the MC. He doesn’t mention it at all. What he does do, is turn his pen to a narrative that describes his own role in the demise of his combatants – he’s not callous, he’s just pragmatic and factual. Is his narrative coloured by the time he spent as a prisoner of war? Possibly. But this is a gripping book (the link is to Amazon, but you may need to look elsewhere for a current imprint of this title); there aren’t many other memoirs that work as well, in exactly the same way. It’s exceptionally well written; James agrees.

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