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The Last Enemy
 
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Richard Hillary
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The Last Enemy

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  116 ratings  ·  14 reviews
The Last Enemy is the story of Richard Hillary, one of Sebastian Faulks' three 'fatal englishmen'. In this extraordinary account, the author details his experiences as a fighter pilot in the Second World War, in which he was shot down, leading to months in hospital as part of Archibald McIndoe's 'Guinea Pig Club', undergoing pioneering plastic surgery to rebuild his face a ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published December 23rd 2010 by Vintage Digital (first published 1942)
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Erika Schoeps
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
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
Alan Morris
Sep 01, 2010 Alan Morris rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
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
Annemariem
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
...more
Wendy
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
Zoltan Nagy
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
...more
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
Barbara Mader
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
...more
iain meek
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.
Bas Kreuger
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
Endeavour Press
This book is published by Endeavour Press
Kate
Mar 28, 2014 Kate marked it as to-buy  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Steve Archer
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May 24, 2015
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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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