Skinback reviews…

What’s in a name?

A quirk of the publishing world means that because the title of Jan Needle’s acclaimed novel about the reality of life for the squaddie in the British Army changed, the reviews became ‘untransferable.’  We’re putting this right here by publishing the reviews of what was THE SKINBACK FUSILIERS – by and Unknown Soldier and is now KILLING TIME AT CATTERICK by Jan Needle.  (ed) 

Reviews of Killing Time at Catterick, (formerly The Skinback Fusiliers.)

Daring, immediate, painful, powerful. It’s the stuff we’ve got to confront in order to figure out what is being done in our name. There’s no point in delivering up sanitized stuff. It won’t tell us anything. (Michael Rosen)

An important book about how we lure our young men into the armed forces, how we train them, how we treat them while they’re there and how we treat them when they come out.  The occasional bits and pieces of bad behaviour that emerge on the news are, as always, the tip of the iceberg and this is a timely reminder that any organisation that trains people to be killers is going to have a dirty side – something which we all find it easy to forget when we want to go to war.  If this is the kind of thing we visit on our own forces, it’s worth asking what kind of damage we’re inflicting on the many equally innocent people who get caught up in our military adventures abroad.  Next time you see an ad on the TV suggesting the armed forces are like some kind of adventure playground for men, think again. (Melvin Burgess)

Reading this book gave me a feeling of inescapable immediacy. It’s so vivid and it really buttonholes you and the prose is so urgent and gripping. Envious. It’s bloody fantastic. (Frank Cottrell Boyce)

Very powerful, very tough, people should know this stuff. Loved that you could make room for the joy of a great curry, amidst all the violence and the bullying. Thanks. (Laurence Boswell, artistic director, Ustinov Studio Theatre, Bath; writer/ director Royal Shakespeare Co., Director on West End and  Broadway)

BRILLIANT. It’s one of the most startling, shocking, funny, tragic, and truly political books I’ve ever read about this country  (Carl Grose, writer, director at Kneehigh Theatre, actor/writer for National Theatre and Radio 3 and Radio 4)

 It was a little like watching a car crash, horrifying but compulsive viewing. (John Thompson (critic and legal draughtsman)

‘Reading it was like being back in the mob’. (Lance Corporal Joe Glenton, who served four months in jail for refusing to return to duty in Afghanistan. He told ten thousand demonstrators in Trafalgar Square that he thought the war was neither legal nor in Britain’s interests.)

I think you’ll agree, that whatever the title, this is an ebook that deserves your attention! (ed)  Jan Needle lifts the lid on Skinback Publishing on Aug 15 in @theFestival 

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