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Denim to Khaki: Volume 1 (From Denim to Khaki) - Ian S Varty

The story of a likeable chap called Richard Hunter who joins the army at 16 and follows in his father’s footsteps. Although billed as fiction, I suspect that there is rather a large portion of the author’s own biography in here.

This volume sees Richard join the Junior Leaders Regiment, see service in Germany and finally see a tour of Northern Ireland. In between, Richard attends a variety of training courses and has the usual squaddie type of experiences.

I will admit here and now I did laugh out loud a couple of times, I’ll also admit to learning quite a lot.

However, this book was extremely hard going. The author, in my opinion, has broken the sacred rule of writing which states that you should ‘show, not tell’. The book (over 300 pages long) reads largely like a training manual. In fact, the first half of the book looks at Richard’s early training at the Junior Leaders camp and gives a blow by blow account of everything they did there. I even learned how to do burpees.

I also found it very odd that in a work of fiction quite a few large passages were taken from Wikipedia, in order to explain things.

There is a good story in here, but the book needs some serious editing to get it out and presented into a readable format. There were so many questions left unanswered and there were so many things said that didn’t really need saying, not to mention many continuity and grammar issues.

This volume currently has 36 5 and 4 star reviews on Amazon. I suspect most are from friends and former colleagues reliving their own bygone years via the memories that this volume triggers. Sorry Ian, I don’t mean to denigrate your efforts and I admire your efforts here, but in fairness, I can only run to 2 1/2 anchors.

I now have 2 more volumes to get on with.