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The Last Enemy (Classics Of War)

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  191 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
THE LAST ENEMY recounts Richard Hillary's experiences as a fighter pilot in the Second World War, in which he was shot down and spent months in hospital, undergoing operations to rebuild his face and hands. It was published in 1942, seven months before his death in a second crash.
Paperback
Published by Burford Books (first published 1942)
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Alex Kershaw
Jan 08, 2016 Alex Kershaw rated it it was amazing
DEEPLY DEEPLY MOVING ACCOUNT OF THE EGOTISTICAL FIGHTER PILOT TRANSFORMED TO AN ARTIST/WARRIOR OF AMAZING PROMISE, KILLED TRAGICALLY WAY TOO YOUNG IN WW2. Best book of Battle of Britain I have read by far...
Erika Schoeps
Jun 30, 2014 Erika Schoeps rated it liked it
This was a tricky war memoir for me to read, and now its gonna be a tricky war memoir for me to rate.

Sebastian Faulks is one of my favorite authors. He writes whirlwind romances set in a historical background, and personally, I think he's a genius. For a single novel, he recounted the lives of three men that he found monumental. One of the men he picked was Richard Hillary. Intrigued, I picked up this memoir, which is highly recommended by Faulks.

This book starts slowly, and continues slowly. Th
...more
Jim Coughenour
Jul 22, 2010 Jim Coughenour rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, world-war-2
This short memoir by a RAF pilot, which I read in an attractive new edition from Vintage UK (not yet on Goodreads), with an intro by Sebastian Faulks (best read as an afterword), impressed me much more than I'd expected. Richard Hillary was a golden boy, educated at Oxford, well-to-do, dashing, handsome, etc. He wrote The Last Enemy in the interval between between being shot down during the Battle of Britain in September 1940 (he was badly burned on his face and hands, and endured multiple opera ...more
Wendy
Jan 01, 2015 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book with no prior knowledge of who Richard Hillary was or what had happened to him after he wrote it. I'd found a copy of this book at a church book stall, a tattered and musty 1943 edition, which once I had read the first few lines of the Proem I was hooked by, I paid my 25p and wandered off to start reading.

After the captivating Proem, the book becomes an autobiographical novel which is broken into two parts. Book one begins with the authors charmed days rowing and occasionally st
...more
Alan Morris
Sep 01, 2010 Alan Morris rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone over 14
Probably THE classic amongst Battle Of Britain pilot autobiographies. Written by a writer who flew rather than a flyer who wrote, an accurate quote from his biographer. I'm glad this book has been reprinted to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the greatest air battle of all time. It is a pitty that no audiobook or ebook exists. I have created a Kindle ebook from my original 1942 1st edition and have offered it at no charge to the rights holder of the book so hopefully this option will be mad ...more
David Lowther
Oct 12, 2015 David Lowther rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Last Enemy is one of the best and best known memoirs of the Second World War. Hillary was a fighter pilot in the Battle of Britain who was shot down and badly burned in the Autumn of 1940. In his own words he tells of his final year at Oxford, his flying training, comradeship, his experiences fighting Germans in the air, his accident and his remarkable recovery under the auspices of the famous plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe.

During his recovery he hears daily news of the deaths of friends
...more
Annemariem
Jun 17, 2014 Annemariem rated it really liked it
Published in 1942, this is the autobiography of a fighter pilot shot down in WW II. He spent long and painful months in hospital recuperating from terrible burns and the subsequent operations to fix his face and hands. The book gives insight into the evolution of spoilt pre-war Oxford students to battle-hardened fighter pilots. It is funny, moving, shocking and well-written, though at times it drags on a bit.
His musings on love, peace, friendship and war are especially poignant once you realiz
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Endeavour Press
This book is published by Endeavour Press
Willis R. Cooke
Very confusing book. Not a combat story.

This appears to be an attempt to write by a severely injured Spitfire pilot. The first half of the book seemed to be an attempt to use every cliche from creative writing class to describe a bunch of jerks the author knew at Cambridge. The second half is a plea for pity because the writer was burned badly in a Spitfire crash. Very little about combat and a lot about personal feelings during treatment. Put this book near the end of your list.people
Zoltan Nagy
Mar 18, 2013 Zoltan Nagy rated it really liked it
Quite different from the majority of World War II memoirs, so don't expect massive descriptions of aerial combat scenes, or detailed account of a fighter pilot's life. There are of course some true details, but they aren't in the focus. The main theme is on the psychological transition from an easy-going selfish egoist to a person fighting for a much higher objective (a "greater good", be that religious, political etc.) than just himself.

I found it quite ironic, that he fights only for his own
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Rachel Brand
Read for EN4413: Reading the 1940s, 2011-2012.

This was one of the set texts on my Reading the 1940s course, and I wasn't entirely sure what to expect in reading the auto-biography of a WWII RAF pilot. When I was discussing this course with my family my dad brought out my Grandpa's first edition of this book, which was a nice surprise! My dad loved this book, but me and my dad don't always share the same taste in books, so it was pleased to find that I enjoyed this book a lot more than I had exp
...more
creig speed
A good first hand account of one man in the battle of Britain

This is an introspective account of a raf pilot during the early months of England's valiant stand against the Luftwaffe.
Very moving story of one young Oxford university student and how it affected his perspective on the living and dying of his friends and how his own injuries were perceived by him.
Barbara Mader
Oct 23, 2011 Barbara Mader rated it liked it
Shelves: wwii
One of three books read recently that were all written by Spitfire pilots who flew during the Battle of Britain.

This was the most uneven of the three. Much of the book was fairly straightforward reminiscence leading to with a relatively brief account of the medical treatment he received for burns received when his airplane was hit with gunfire and he had difficulty bailing out from the burning plane. (Brits may spell it "baling" out!) But in and among this narrative is some ruminating on the mea
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iain meek
Jan 24, 2015 iain meek rated it really liked it
Classic autobiography of a Battle of Britain pilot from birth, through school, Oxford and into battle until shot down in flames and his recovery from his injuries to the final realisation that he must write. A wonderfully traditional mindset.
Fred S
Jan 28, 2016 Fred S rated it it was amazing
To say I enjoyed this book would be an understatement. Richard Hillary tells a true story of himself and his schoolmates and friends, who after college joined the RAF in 1940. They flew Spitfire aircraft in aerial combat to fight the Nazi invaders. Each day they would strap in and go fight knowing they may not return. I learned about courage in this book whether facing death under fire, or the courage to come back and fight again after devastating injuries. The only way to understand courage is ...more
Helen
Nov 05, 2015 Helen rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary and vitally important book. One we should all read and recommend to others. I'm giving it to everyone I know this Christmas.
Bas Kreuger
Feb 10, 2012 Bas Kreuger rated it really liked it
Interesting book by a young fighter pilot who recalls his coming of age in the Oxbridge culture of the UK in the 1930's (rowing, traveling through Europe) and the way he experienced the war in the air. During the Battle of Britain he was shot down and heavily burned his hands and face.
Half the book is about his recovery proces and the way this affects his life and thoughts. An interesting philosofical read.
In 1941 Hillary took to the air again, as a nightfighter pilot, but according to contempor
...more
Jennifer Barraclough
May 31, 2015 Jennifer Barraclough rated it it was amazing
This classic memoir from a World War Two fighter pilot, who sustained horrendous injuries when he was shot down over the English Channel, impressed me tremendously when I first read it during my teens. It had lost none of its impact when I rediscovered it many years later. The chapters about Hillary's experience in the RAF, and in the plastic surgery unit at East Grinstead, are written with style and a complete lack of sentimentality. Interwoven with the factual material are hints of metaphysica ...more
Kate
Mar 28, 2014 Kate marked it as to-buy
Referred to in the Ettie Desborough biog
Chris Archer
A brilliantly written autobiographical account of a battle of Britain pilot coming to terms with the psychological trauma of severe burns. I have read this a number of times and it never fails to both move and inspire me.
Allison Anderson
Mar 16, 2013 Allison Anderson rated it really liked it
At the urging of my daughter, I stopped before the last chapter, but the intro by Sebastian Faulks rather gave away the ending. Lovely, selfless prose, unflinching, pitiless in the face of adversity.
Ian Donnelly
Ian Donnelly marked it as to-read
Feb 07, 2016
Marcus
Marcus marked it as to-read
Feb 05, 2016
Francesca
Francesca rated it liked it
Feb 04, 2016
Spotszilla
Spotszilla rated it it was amazing
Feb 03, 2016
Ryan Birch
Ryan Birch marked it as to-read
Feb 02, 2016
Vern LaRue
Vern LaRue rated it liked it
Feb 02, 2016
JOANNE TAYLOR
JOANNE TAYLOR rated it did not like it
Feb 02, 2016
Davo
Davo rated it it was amazing
Jan 31, 2016
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Hi, I want to know how many headwords does he book have? 1 8 Apr 24, 2012 09:27PM  
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