John Mulgan was a New Zealander who came to Britain to study at Oxford, before joining the British Army early in the Second World War. After some time spent with the army in England and then Northern Island he was shipped out to North Africa, arriving in time for the Battle of El Alamein, before parachuting into Greece to work with the partisans.
This is not a traditional autobiography, setting down Mulgan's experiences in North Africa or Greece, but instead is a more thoughtful work, looking at the nature of the war and the British reaction to it, as well as at the nature of the war in Greece and the way in which the British missions interacted with the various Greek factions. The role of Communism is a constant threat, from Mulgan's student flirtations with the Party in England to his rather more bitter experiences with the ruthless Greek communists, for whom the battle against the Germans was a secondary concern.
When first published in 1947 Mulgan's text was modified to remove some of his more strident opinions, especially where the officer being criticized could easily be identified. In this edition the original text is restored, and as a result some of his commanding officers emerge rather badly. The changes are all footnoted and the modified text of 1947 included for comparison.
This is a thoughtful book that takes us back into the mindset of its times in a way that very few autobiographies manage, giving us a precious window into the peacetime world of the late 1930s and the war that followed.
Preface by Richard Mulgan
Foreword by M.R.D. Foot
Introduction: The Textual History, Peter Whiteford
Map of Thessaly and the Pindus Mountains
John Mulgan's Letter to Gabrielle
Report on Experience
Author: John Mulgan
Year: 2010 edition, modified from 1947 original