Patrol by Fred Majdalany – An Imperial War Museum Wartime Classic of enormous power

Northern Reader

This is a book not published until 1953, but it has its roots in the real lived experience of a soldier in wartime. The author almost uses his chief protagonist, Major Tim Sheldon, to relate some of his own experiences, struggle and frustrations of leading a patrol. Not that this is a heavy book; it recounts the realities of being stuck in a hospital and his tentative exploration of Algiers’ night life, the conversations with other soldiers, the thoughts that go through a soldier’s mind when he knows he must just move forward. It is a testament to the mistakes and inefficiencies of an army unit which is short of men to maintain a position, let alone mount an offensive. It is the story of little details that make an unusual situation feel like the only one possible. Its stream of consciousness style feels more modern than its date would…

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