March 10th 1973

“Wages = 2.37” / “made up gears on bike – it works!” / “got Mum to get me Adolph Hitler, my part in his downfall – Spike Milligan – bloody funny” / “Tom & Marg came up in evening”

The fact that my technical ‘gear-making’ exercise worked surprises me as much 36 years later as it evidently did in 1973!

I do believe the “Adolph Hitler-My Part in His Downfall” book by the late, great Spike Milligan was maybe more responsible for my adult sense of humour than pretty much as anything else I grew up with, and I DO include Monty Python in that list.

Unlike now, where just one reading of a book has me discarding it to the thrift store almost as the final page is turned, back in 1973 – and with the likes of this hysterical paperback – I would actually read something over and over – and over – again. (yes that IS a scan of my original purchase – preserved as best as possible – on the right!)

“… Hitler…” is the first part of Milligan’s trilogy about the time he spent in the army during WWII. It’s often bawdy & sweary, and occasionally sad, but I think there’s a cracking gag on almost every page… at least that’s how I remember it. I know I would unashamedly steal lines from it to use in my own vocabulary… in fact I can’t be certain that I STILL don’t?!

The pages are interspersed with vintage photographs from Spike’s own wartime camera as well as a handful of his bizarre cartoons and drawings of people he fought with. 

Without trying to appear ‘sappy’, I can’t thank Spike enough for writing it… as well as the sequels “Rommel? Gunner Who? ” and “Mussolini – His Part in my Downfall

As the cover suggests, a “major” motion picture adaption of this book was made by United Artists. Despite input from Spike, it was awful and to be avoided at all costs.

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