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Book review: Alamein to Zem Zem, by Keith Douglas

Keith Douglas was probably the finest poet of the second world war. At the outbreak of war he was still an undergraduate at Oxford, but he volunteered for service within days of the declaration of war. His training started in July 1940 and he passed out of Sandhurst in April 1941. In August of that year he was posted to the Middle East, where he found himself at Cairo and in Palestine, serving behind the lines as camouflage officer. Meanwhile his Regiment, who were in tanks, suffered severe losses in the decisive Second Battle of Alamein. Frustrated by inactivity as well as an unhappy love affair, Douglas commandeered a lorry and took off for the front against orders. This disobedience might have had serious consequences but Douglas later smoothed things over with an apology. On his arrival at the front he was given a tank troop to command by the Colonel and took part in the fighting. This book describes his experiences. [more]


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