Richard Hillary - Last Enemy. PDF

PDF This was a tricky war memoir for me to read, and now its gonna be a tricky war memoir for me to rate.

Sebastian Faulks is one of my favorite authors. He writes whirlwind romances set in a historical background, and personally, I think he's a genius. For a single novel, he recounted the lives of three men that he found monumental. One of the men he picked was Richard Hillary. Intrigued, I picked up this memoir, which is highly recommended by Faulks.

This book starts slowly, and continues slowly. This novel is neither action-packed nor emotional, but it is literary. Philosophical and penetrating conversations unfold between Hillary and his acquaintances, friends, and family, and Hillary adds his own opinion. Hillary was endearing to me, but as a sort of anti-hero, he does not have a wide appeal. Hillary rarely romanticizes the situation, and takes pride in his realistic view of the world. Hillary has not joined the RAF because of a love of country... he is motivated by glory and his own view of man-on-man warfare.

The book progresses in this fashion until Hillary is shot down, and begins spending time at various hospitals. The book gets more interesting at this point, as the book finally gains some emotion. Hillary seems to have gained a bit of humanity. He has a poignant encounter with a dead friend's widow, he screws around with the nurses at the hospital, and he observes wartime England.

Because I read Faulks' biography of Richard Hillary, I gained vital information on the last relevant event in Hillary's memoir. Faulks, in his research, couldn't verify the last event in Hillary's autobiography... and its obvious from the way its written that it did not happen. Hillary's hands are horribly, horribly injured, and the action he describes himself as doing... likely, not possible. Also, the event is highly symbolic. It really touched me, showed Hillary's changing views on mankind, and wrapped things up sentimentally and elegantly. The last bit of this book really redeemed things for me.

Personally, I had trouble getting into this emotion-less memoir that showed the life of someone mostly removed from the heart of infantry battle... but for anyone who wants to read a war recollection with a literary twist, try this one out.

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