During the summer I was struck
down by a nasty allergy which meant I had to stop shaving. This resulted in
the first beard of my life (right), until thankfully a Turkish barber removed it
with a cut-throat razor.
To my great relief, I now
longer resemble the notorious Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams (below).
I worked for decades in the oil and gas exploration and
production business, traipsing from desert to ocean to jungle and back
in the interminable search for the black stuff and its miasmic cousin.
It was/is a business where it is customary for staff like me to be moved
from a subsidiary in one country to one in another. This has the
twin benefits of
the skills base of the individual being moved as he/she learns how
things are done and problems tackled in one part of the world as
compared with another,
spreading the technology and tricks learned within in one country
and set of operating conditions, so that they can readily be applied
in another. The best way to transfer technology is always in
the head of the individual.
That was the official philosophy, and it was borne out
in practice. It was remarkably effective in spreading best
practice, as developed in different parts of the world, into multiple
subsidiaries across the global corporation for which I worked.
But regular changing out of senior personnel had another
interesting if unarticulated effect. A new person coming in
to an established job could not only introduce fresh ideas. He/she
could equally abandon previous projects if deemed inappropriate.
The value of this should never be underestimated. For every good
idea there are probably two bad ones; the nature of progress is to
quickly recognize the bad ones as bad, to drop them and to seek out fresh
But this simple concept conflicts with human nature.
Suppose I spend a year pursuing a dream in a particular direction, but it is
getting nowhere. I am unlikely to thank a colleague for pointing this
out to me; I am even less likely to acknowledge my failure to others (or
even to myself). And even when my flop becomes unmistakeable, I will
find it increasingly difficult to change direction or to abandon the effort,
because to do so is to admit I have been wasting everyone's time for the
past year, and we all have our pride, dammit. It takes an especially
big human being to confess to his or her mistakes, even implicitly.
So each time you rotate people out of senior jobs, you
provide a clean slate for the new man or woman who
comes in with no
is delighted to
take over the successes,
compunction about cancelling the failures, and
everything untoward on the previous incumbent (whether or not he/she
happens to have been incompetent).
The organization is refreshed. Meanwhile the person
who has departed is also refreshed, has learnt a great deal and starts with
a similarly clean slate in his/her new position. Everyone wins, every
So it is with Governments. They also do both good
things and bad things.
Naturally they and everyone exult in the successes and try
to do more of them. But being made up of humans, it is likewise very
difficult for Governments to recognize their mistakes and even harder to
change direction. That's why entrenched Governments generally just get
worse and worse. The bad things don't get corrected and so continue to
deteriorate until they eventually overwhelm the good things, just as urine
added to fine wine ruins the entire bottle. North Korea, Cuba,
Venezuela, Egypt, Zimbabwe to name just a few countries which autocracies
That's the beauty of democracy. The people have the
chance not just to throw the rascals out every few years, but to institute
change for the mere sake of change. For a changed government is not
bound by the mistakes of the previous one; it has no baggage; it can start
with a clean slate. It is likely that the new regime will try to undo
past mistakes, continue with what is working and institute new projects of
its own - which in turn may be good or bad.
We are seeing this most dramatically the UK.
After the economic collapse of 2008, the eleven-year-old
Labour Government, as author of the economic policies that created first the
boom then the inevitable bust, found itself paralysed when it came to taking
decisive action. It talked incessantly about having the
“courage” to take
- presumably expenditure cuts and tax increases - but always next
year, never now. But how could it ever take those hard decisions, when
each of them would be
repudiation of everything Labour had been doing for the previous decade
an admission of
gross national mismanagement,
a swallowing of
“no return to Tory boom and bust”.
During last May's General Election campaign the Tory
opposition, of course, said much the same about vague, unspecified future
not wanting to frighten the electorate.
But once the Tories won and set themselves up in coalition
with the vegetarianist Liberal Democrats it was a different story. The
electorate was quickly told there would be savage cuts of up to 40% in the
coming budget. These are on the not unreasonable basis that if you are
spending way more than your income you should above all reduce your
spending. Nobody ever got out of debt by borrowing more.
But the key point is that the Tories have a free hand to
make these cuts because, like a new manager rotated into a senior job,
(a) they are
carrying none of the baggage that necessitates the cuts and
(b) they can
blame them all on the incompetence of the predecessor Labour government.
These are precisely the reasons that Labour could not do the
Thus it the fact that the government has changed, rather
than that the new one is better, that facilitates the necessary change in
policy. This crucial mechanism goes a long way to explain the
superiority of democracy compared with all other forms of rule.
Ireland is stuck in the same rut the UK was until May.
An inept governing party which led the country to boom and then ruin over
the past 13 years is now trying to put things to right. But because of
its history and its composition of human beings, it is incapable of doing no
more than trimming the edges.
It has fired not
a single civil servant despite the collapse in private business,
particularly in the huge construction sector every bit of which is
subject to detailed regulation and planning by ... civil servants.
There is now almost no work for them to do yet still they draw salaries.
has also, under an appalling
appeased the public-service unions by promising, in exchange for vague reforms,
not to fire anyone or reduce any salaries for the next four years.
of billions of additional €uros are being borrowed to pour into the
disintegrating banking sector, which I've written about
It will take
today's babies and their own offspring their lifetimes to pay back the
colossal debts now being built up. By way of comparison,
the 1976 Olympics in Montreal incurred a debt of just
$1.5 bn, and this took its citizens and their children
three long decades to discharge,
yet Ireland's interest charges alone, in 2010 alone,
will amount to €4 bn.
The opposition Fine Gael and Labour parties inspire no
greater confidence than Fianna Fail as regards raw competence. But at
least, if/when elected, they will start with a clean slate and will be able
to apply the policies they believe to be appropriate, untrammelled by
their own history.
Only a new government can clean up the mess of the old.
For this reason, Ireland for one is in desperate need of an election,
unfortunately not due until 2012, by when a further €40 bn will have
been added to
Many other countries are in a similar predicament.
And more businesses should try to rotate their senior
managers purely for the sake of change and refreshment.
For those few who don't know the story, last week in Galway
Ireland's ruling Fianna Fail party held a two-day conference. The
conference was dubbed a think-in; the story quickly became dubbed as
Garglegate, and later the think-in was renamed a drink-in.
On the last evening of the think-in/drink-in, the night of
13th/14th September, the liquor was free so there was much carousing in the
bar amongst party faithful and journalistic hangers-on. Brian Cowen,
the country's Taoiseach (prime Minister), known as Biffo (Big Ignorant F**ker
from Offaly), was as usual the life and soul of the party and put on a star
admiration of all, he selflessly displayed his ability to down copious
pints of (free) Carlsberg for which he has long been renowned.
He performed a
witty skit of, amongst others,
Philip Walton, an Irish has-been Ryder Cup golfer, over which -
hilariously - the player later launched a
He gave robust
renditions of several popular ballads, particularly his special
Lakes of Ponchartrain”,
whose last two
lines, presciently, are
at each social gathering, a foamy glass I'll drain,
I'll drink a health to my Creole girl,
the lakes of Pontchartrain.”
Biffo finally went up to his hotel bedroom sometime
after 3:30 am.
Next morning, he went downstairs for a long-scheduled radio
interview on RTE, the national broadcaster. Only thing was, the
interview took place shortly after 9 am, ie it was at a rude hour for a man
who at the best of times is known more as a nightowl than an early bird.
To some half-a-million listeners, he then proceeded with a laboured,
incoherent set of answers, but marked by a rasping voice and slurred vowels
listen for yourself. So far so bad. Shortly after the
ten-minute session ended, Simon Coveney, a senator from the rival Fine Gael
party and a twitterer (then with just a couple of hundred followers - since
grown to over 1300),
“God, what an uninspiring interview by Taoiseach this morning.
He sounded half way between drunk and hungover and totally
A firestorm erupted as this tweet and the infamous interview
with an allegedly drunken prime minister became a story racing around the
world, getting picked by in at least
26 countries over 450 news agencies, including CNN, Fox, Reuters, BBC.
Taoiseach himself first blamed Sen Coveney for playing party politics,
calling it “a
new low”. A couple of days later he decided to “apologise”,
not for his incoherency, not for his inebriation, but solely because his
voice was hoarse and that the interview “wasn't my best performance”.
The fury within Ireland, the nervousness of the bond markets
(which pushed Ireland's borrowing rates up over
6.3%) and the amusement of everyone else were predicated on the
ineptness of the interview and Mr Cowen's foolishness to have submitted
himself to it after such a hard night of partying.
But to me, that is not the root issue at all. The
really scaring thing is that for a number of hours the country was led by a
man who was not in control of his faculties. As such he was in no
condition to deal with a sudden national emergency. For example:
attack (Al Qaeda has been known to fly planes into buildings),
financial exigency (such as the near banking collapse of 29 September
2008 averted only by an instant, late-night
The Taoiseach and his government were in no fit state to
deal with such situations on the night of 13th/14th September; they were all
living it up in the bar in Galway. That is
the real scandal, not the fact that he became
“tired and emotional”, to use a well-worn euphemism.
No major commercial business would run itself this way - it
wouldn't dare to. It would always institute a management roster
system, whereby senior people would at all times be available and empowered
to deal with any eventuality at any time of any day or night.
If it is
your turn to be rostered (eg for the next week or fortnight or month), you
must remain alert, sober, drug-free, contactable and within a short distance
of the office, for 24 hours a day.
But if not, you can go anywhere and
do anything you want during your time off, provided you show up during
office hours in an appropriate condition to do your job.
No-one is capable of perpetual good behaviour, 24/7/365, and
remaining sane. A roster system is therefore essential for the health
of both the organization and of its executives.
Governments should do something likewise. As such, if the
Taoiseach wants to indulge in a bit of late night partying, he should first
appoint a senior deputy, presumably his Tánaiste Mary Coughlan (someone else
with a reputation for
hard drinking) who keeps himself/herself compos mentis and is given
authority to take major decisions on behalf of the leader. Similarly, every
cabinet minister should set up rosters, which would give them the occasional
opportunity to join the party.
But this seems to be a concept too complex for the Irish
Government to comprehend, or indeed the citizenry generally.
I wonder are other national governments any better?
Late Note (28th September):
Meanwhile, US comedian and late-night show host Jay Leno is
relieved to realise that America is not the only country with
The case for protecting national borders, a concept that
with a few exceptions (eg Australia, Japan) the enlightened Western
world, principally Europe, the United States and Canada, seem to have
this one-minute Youtube clip, which is apparently going viral. Seems
some congressmen have been avoiding their constituents during the summer
holidays because they don’t want to be shouted at for supporting
unpopular Obama policies.
Would you welcome a visit by the pope to Ireland? Comment on 16th September on an Irish Times poll question (40% Yes,
60% No) I love all the "No"s from Catholic-born Irish and their reasons.
They remind me of teenage tantrums when Mam and Dad draw a line in the
sand. And then they go off and brag to their friends how brave they are
in defying their gombeen father and mother ...
After the deluge Comment in the Spectator-hosted Melanie Philips Blog on 14th Sep 2010
concerning education reform in New Orleans following Hurricate
A most encouraging story. When you combine it with the extraordinary
work being done by Washington DC's new education chancellor, Michelle
Rhee, we are perhaps viewing the early shoots of a complete educational
Industrial output a ray of light amid gloom of banking crisis
Comment on Dan O'Brien's Irish Times Opinion piece on 13th September
The first seven comments are far more insightful, rational, coherent and
plain sensible than Dan O'Brien's rambling wishful-thinking article.
One observation. This Govt has made not a single single civil/public
servant redundant. Not one. Yet industry has been crushed with
redundancies and ...
“Burn a Koran” Day vs “Ground Zero” Mosque Letter to the Irish Times on 9th September 2010
Madam, / I refer to your Editorial of 9th September (“An incitement to
hatred”) about the threat by evangelical pastor Terry Jones to burn the
Koran on the ninth anniversary of nine-eleven.
Hillary Clinton also roundly castigates the proposed “Burn a Koran” day
protest. On the other hand, Barack Obama has, like yourself on August
17th, defended the construction of the so-called “Ground Zero” mosque
Confidence and climate change Letter to the Irish Times on 3rd September 2010 Your editorial of 3rd September seems to adopt the same kind of
assumptions that brought about the international collapse in confidence
in the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Confidence and
While dismissing the very serious errors that we have come to know about
that emanated from the IPCC, you have nevertheless assumed that its
underlying message ...
Should an Islamic cultural centre be constructed close to the site of
Ground Zero? Comment on 1st September on an Irish Times poll
question (50% Yes, 50% No as at 12th September)
Firstly, while the vast majority of the world's billion Muslims are not
terrorists, calls for subjugation and terrorism in various guises
against infidels occupy some 60% of the Koran, so it is incorrect to
infer that 9/11 was somehow anti-Islamic. Moreover, even non-terrorist
Muslims are virtually silent ...
Rebecca Thompson, a spokeswoman
for the American Embassy in Manila
explains why the Americans
flew the Philippines flag upside down
during a joint press conference in New York between their respective
presidents, Barack Obama and
(son of my one-time acquaintance former president Cory).
that awful moment when the facts became clear, and they were called
to make an impossible choice, they all found the same resolve.
They agreed to the same bold plan ... And then they rose as one,
they acted as one, and together, they changed history’s course.”
reveals that her own soaring rhetoric
is matched only by a level of ignorance of history
that is remarkably similar to that of her husband.
Only a handful
of passengers on hijacked Flight 93 on 9-11
took the heroic action that she chooses to ascribe to every
themselves are dramatic enough:
to embellish them with fantasy is to disrespect the actual heroes.
Quote: “Capitalism takes no
prisoners and it kills competition where it can ... On
banks, I make no apology for attacking spivs and gamblers.”
Business Secretary, Vincent Cable
speaking to the Liberal Democrats' annual Conference,
while conveniently forgetting
his lucrative years as Chief Economist
for the Capitalist-in-tooth-and-claw
multinational oil and gas conglomerate Shell,
that by his definition, spivs include his leader's dad and brother,
his prime minister's late father, lots of generous LibDem’s
and the party's own former chief secretary-to-the treasury David
“Michael O’Leary outside Ryanair
is just as beloved, sensitive and caring as he is in Ryanair.”
Ryanair's pugnacious boss, on his
I behaved like Tiger Woods I would find himself minus a vital
Bublé, at a sell-out concert
in Dublin's brand new 50,000 seat Lansdowne Road
disappoints his overwhelmingly female audience by telling them
he has become engaged to
an Argentinean beauty.
women are not to be trifled with, apparently.
It was his
biggest-ever concert and the stadium's first-ever concert.
- - - - - P O P E - - - - -
“Mr Ratzinger, as head of the world’s second
most evil religion you are not welcome ... Go home to your tinpot
Mussolini-concocted principality, and don’t come back.”
Richard Dawkins, the Pope of Atheists
doesn't like to see a competitor Pope visit the UK,
even if invited by the Queen and (previous) prime minister.
I wonder what
Pope Dawkins thinks is
“the world’s first most evil religion”?
He won't dare say.
“When you land at Heathrow Airport you sometimes think you
might have landed in a Third World country.”
Papal adviser Cardinal Walter Kaspar.
The Pope promptly dropped him from his entourage visiting Britain,
although the Cardinal was only referring to
the vast array of non-white faces at London's main airport.
Can't have Cardinals making accurate
observations, can we?
Quote: “I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse
of children, especially within the Church and by her ministers ... I
express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable
crimes ... I acknowledge the shame and humiliation which all of us
have suffered because of these sins ... I ask all of you to show
your concern for the victims and solidarity with your priests.”
Pope Benedict XVI apologises, during his State
visit to the UK,
for the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clerics .
Nevertheless, he was, curiously, quoting
the third line of
thefirst song that
Jimi Hendrix wrote after moving to England in 1966.
- - - - - U S A - - - -
“There is no doubt that when
someone goes out of their way to be provocative in ways that we know
can inflame the passions of over a billion non-Muslims around the
world at a time when we've got our troops in a lot of Muslim
countries, that's a problem.”
President Obama appeals to
Imam Feisal Abdul
not to build his 13-storey triumphalist mosque near Ground Zero,
because it is so offensive to a billion non-Muslims.
Oh wait, my mistake.
It seems he was objecting to a few Korans getting burnt,
and it is Muslims deciding to get offended.
“I am heartened by the clear, unequivocal
condemnation of this disrespectful, disgraceful act that has come
from American religious leaders of all faith.”
Hillary Clinton is referring to Rev Terry
proposed Burn-a-Koran commemoration of 9-11.
A pity she is not
heartened by the
clear, unequivocal condemnation
of the disrespectful, disgraceful act represented
by the proposed Ground Zero Mosque,
which has come from Americans and foreigners of all hues.
“The coming Eid would expectedly be observed on
9/11, this a golden opportunity for President Obama to offer Eid
prayers at Ground Zero and become Amir-ul-Momineen or Caliph of
Muslims. In this way, all the problems of Muslim World would be
solved ... Barrack Hussain Obama must act now. This is a golden
opportunity, Muslims badly need it.”
Ayatullah Durrani, Pakistan’s Minister of State for Industries
and former member of its Ideological Council,
reckons Mr Obama is not just a Muslim
(we all know he was born one and raised as one in his early years),
but the man to lead the world's Sunnis.
they're not always happy with me -- they talk about me like a dog.
That's not in my prepared remarks, but it's true.”
President Obama whines.
He really should avoid wandering off his teleprompter.
Nevertheless, he was, curiously,
the third line of “Stone
the first song that Jimi Hendrix wrote after moving to England in
- - - - B A N K I N G - - - - -
“Banks, like all sensible bullies, target the
weakest first. Once you are in debt it is very difficult to escape
and piling up the interest charged keeps the unfortunate victims
trapped for longer. It is a recurring theme in this column that
banks always bounce back, no matter who gets squashed on the way.
They are already doing just that.”
Rodney Hobson, an investor and investment adviser with Morning Star
- - - - - A U S T R A L I A - - - - -
Greens are like water melons, green outside and red inside ...
For those who value our present way of life, the Greens are sweet
Cardinal George Pell, Catholic archbishop of
has no time for Australia's anti-human, anti-Christian,
anti-family, pro-poverty Greens
- - - - - E U - - - - -
“It is not easy to have a rational discussion
with a moderate Jew about what is happening in the Middle East.”
The EU's Trade Commissioner Karel de Gucht lets the mask slip
to reveal his (the Commission's?) true anti-Semitic fervour.
Caught out, he later apologised saying
“anti-Semitism has no place in today's world”
The newly-elected, incredulous and much-missed George W Bush,
on being told in early 2001 by Tony Blair (according to the latter's
that the Belgian Prime Minister,
the theretofore deservedly unheard of Guy Verhofstadt,
was attending a G8 meeting as the “president of Europe”.
- - - - - I R E L A N D - - - - -
(14th September 2010): “God, what an uninspiring interview by
Taoiseach this morning. He sounded half way between drunk and
hungover and totally disinterested.”
Opposition TD Simon Coveney,
about a radio interview at 9am by Ireland's leader Brian Cowen,
after the latter had been up boozing and carousing until 3 am
with his party colleagues at their annual
This tweet attracted international attention,
as a drunken prime minister will always make great copy.
“a new low in politics”
and “pathetic and pitiful”.
“The Lemon Tree”, by Sandy
is a delightful novel-style history of modern Israel and Palestine told
through the eyes of a thoughtful protagonist from either side, with a
household lemon tree as their unifying theme.
But it's not
entirely honest in its subtle pro-Palestinian bias, and therefore needs
to be read in conjunction with an antidote, such as
This examines events which led to BP's 2010 Macondo blowout in
the Gulf of Mexico.
BP's ambitious CEO John Browne expanded it through adventurous
acquisitions, aggressive offshore exploration, and relentless
cost-reduction that trumped everything else, even safety and long-term
Thus mistakes accumulated, leading to terrifying and deadly accidents in
refineries, pipelines and offshore operations, and business disaster in
The Macondo blowout was but an inevitable outcome of a BP culture that
had become poisonous and incompetent.
However the book is gravely compromised by a
litany of over 40 technical and stupid
errors that display the author's ignorance and
It would be better
to wait for the second (properly edited) edition before buying.
As for BP, only a
wholesale rebuilding of a new, professional, ethical culture will
prevent further such tragedies and the eventual destruction of a once
mighty corporation with a long and generally honourable history.
nonagenarian Alistair Urquhart’sincredible story of survival in the Far
East during World War II.
After recounting a
childhood of convention and simple pleasures in working-class Aberdeen,
Mr Urquhart is conscripted within days of Chamberlain declaring war on
Germany in 1939.
From then until the
Japanese are deservedly nuked into surrendering six years later, Mr
Urquhart’s tale is one of first discomfort but then following the fall
of Singapore of ever-increasing, unmitigated horror.
After a wretched
journey Eastward, he finds himself part of Singapore’s big but useless
Taken prisoner when Singapore falls in
1941, he is, successively,
part of a death march to Thailand,
a slave labourer on the Siam/Burma
railway (one man died for every sleeper laid),
regularly beaten and tortured,
racked by starvation, gaping ulcers
and disease including cholera,
a slave labourer stevedoring at
shipped to Japan in a stinking,
closed, airless hold with 900 other sick and dying men,
torpedoed by the Americans and left
drifting alone for five days before being picked up,
a slave-labourer in Nagasaki until
blessed liberation thanks to the Americans’ “Fat Boy” atomic
distraught and traumatised on return to Aberdeen yet disdained by the
British Army, he slowly reconstructs a life. Only in his late 80s
is he able finally to recount his dreadful experiences in this
There are very few
first-person eye-witness accounts of the the horrors of Japanese
brutality during WW2. As such this book is an invaluable historical
“Culture of Corruption:
Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies”
This is a rattling good tale of the web
of corruption within which the American president and his cronies
operate. It's written by blogger Michele Malkin who, because she's both
a woman and half-Asian, is curiously immune to the charges of racism and
sexism this book would provoke if written by a typical Republican WASP.
With 75 page of notes to back up - in
best blogger tradition - every shocking and in most cases money-grubbing
allegation, she excoriates one Obama crony after another, starting with
the incumbent himself and his equally tricky wife.
Joe Biden, Rahm Emmanuel, Valerie Jarett,
Tim Geithner, Lawrence Summers, Steven Rattner, both Clintons, Chris
Dodd: they all star as crooks in this venomous but credible book.
ACORN, Mr Obama's favourite community
organising outfit, is also exposed for the crooked vote-rigging machine
This much trumpeted sequel to
Freakonomics is a bit of disappointment.
It is really just
a collation of amusing
little tales about surprising human (and occasionally animal) behaviour
and situations. For example:
Drunk walking kills more people per
kilometer than drunk driving.
People aren't really altruistic -
they always expect a return of some sort for good deeds.
Child seats are a waste of money as
they are no safer for children than adult seatbelts.
Though doctors have known for
centuries they must wash their hands to avoid spreading infection,
they still often fail to do so.
Monkeys can be taught to use washers
as cash to buy tit-bits - and even sex.
The book has no real
message other than don't be surprised how humans sometimes behave and
try to look for simple rather than complex solutions.
And with a final
anecdote (monkeys, cash and sex), the book suddenly just stops dead in
its tracks. Weird.
A remarkable, coherent attempt by Financial Times economist Alan Beattie
to understand and explain world history through the prism of economics.
It's chapters are
organised around provocative questions such as
Why does asparagus come from Peru?
Why are pandas so useless?
Why are oil and diamonds more trouble
than they are worth?
Why doesn't Africa grow cocaine?
It's central thesis
is that economic development continues to be impeded in different
countries for different historical reasons, even when the original
rationale for those impediments no longer obtains. For instance:
Argentina protects its now largely
foreign landowners (eg George Soros)
Russia its military-owned
businesses, such as counterfeit DVDs
The US its cotton industry
comprising only 1% of GDP and 2% of its workforce
The author writes
in a very chatty, light-hearted matter which makes the book easy to
However it would
benefit from a few charts to illustrate some of the many quantitative
points put forward, as well as sub-chaptering every few pages to provide
natural break-points for the reader.
This is a thrilling book of derring-do behind enemy lines in the jungles
of north-east Burma in 1942-44 during the Japanese occupation.
The author was
a member of Britain's V Force, a forerunner of the SAS. Its remit was to
harass Japanese lines of
command, patrol their occupied territory, carryout sabotage and provide
intelligence, with the overall objective of keeping the enemy out of
is admirably yet brutally frank, in his
descriptions of deathly battles with the Japs, his execution of a
prisoner, dodging falling bags of rice dropped by the RAF, or collapsing
in floods of tears through accumulated stress, fear and loneliness.
He also provides some fascinating insights into the mentality of
Japanese soldiery and why it failed against the flexibility and devolved
authority of the British.
The book amounts to
a very human and exhilarating tale.
Oh, and Irwin
describes the death in 1943 of his colleague my uncle, Major PF