Book Reviews Dec/Jan

Watching War films with my Dad
Al Murray
Century
£16.99 less £3

Al Murray’s (AKA The Pub Landlord) musing on his childhood where his fascination with history and all things war began. Have you ever watched a film with someone who, at the most dramatic scene, argues that the plane on screen hasn’t been invented yet? Or that the tank rumbling towards the hero at the end of the film is the wrong tank altogether? Al Murray is that someone. Try as he might, he can’t help himself. Growing up in the 1970s, Al, with the help of his dad, became fascinated with the history of World War Two. They didn’t go to football; they went to battlefields. Because like so many of his generation whose childhood was all about Airfix, Action Man and Where Eagles Dare, he grew up in the cultural wake of the Second World War. Part memoir, part life obsession, this is Al Murray musing on what he knows best. And he’s sure to tell you things about history that you were never taught at school.

Matt Dawson’s Lions Tales
Matt Dawson
Headline
£20 less £5

Matt Dawson won 77 caps and scored 101 points for England, and won sevencaps and scored 10 points for the British and Irish Lions, in a distinguished 15-year playing career, the pinnacle of which was winning the World Cup in 2003. At club level, he excelled at scrum-half for 13 years with Northampton and won the Heineken Cup in 2000, then finished his career at London Wasps where he won the Premiership in his first season.

Matt Dawson’s Lions Tales gives rugby fans a satisfying dose of wonderful Lions anecdotes. Epic stories of triumph and despair. Of camaraderie, controversy and stirring examples of that special bond that only competing in the white heat of battle, halfway round the world, against the mighty All Blacks, Wallabies and Springboks, can engender. Lions Tales is peppered with insight and laugh-out-loud moments, dredged from the memory banks of Dawson’s own time in the iconic red shirt, and also from his keen interest in the Lions’ remarkable 125-year traditions.

I am Malala
Malala Yousafzai
Orion
£18.99 less £3

It was a day like any other. Malala Yousafzai was heading home in a school van with her friends when she was shot in the head by the Taliban, close to the Pakistani army checkpoint. The militant also managed to injure two other girls sitting next to her, before escaping to the hills dotting the Swat Valley. This was the Taliban’s way of chastising a girl who was fighting for girls’ education, who refused to cower in the face of threats, and who believed that Islam doesn’t preach hate or encourage the killing of innocents.

Malala survived, but today life in faraway Birmingham is banishment for her. Her escape from the jaws of death and the worldwide condemnation the attack drew had changed her life forever.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls’ education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.