The Last Enemy

By Richard Hillary

Moving and honest, The Last Enemy is an extraordinary account of Richard Hillary’s time as a Spitfire pilot and how he dealt with his recovery – as one of Archibald McIndoe’s plastic surgery ‘guinea pigs’ – after a life-changing accident. It’s often described as ‘a classic text’: Hillary was a gifted writer, and this slim memoir is all the more harrowing for it talent. With very little experience of the world at large, he was called up from the RAF Volunteer Reserve; attacked; shot down by the Luftwaffe; and badly burned in the process. At East Grinstead, his rehabilitation was slow and painful. He details not only the tragic sortie but also the pioneering plastic surgery that rebuilt his face and hands, and coming to terms with a different kind of life.

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