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Going Solo

(Roald Dahl's Autobiography #2)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  19,032 ratings  ·  1,200 reviews
Superb Stories, Daring Deeds, Fantastic Adventures

Here is the action-packed sequel to Boy, a tale of Dahl's exploits as a World War II pilot. Told with the same irresistible appeal that has made Roald Dahl one the world's best-loved writers, Going Solo brings you directly into the action and into the mind of this fascinating man.

From book cover:
The second part of Roald Dah
Paperback, 209 pages
Published April 5th 2001 by Puffin (first published 1986)
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4.07  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,032 ratings  ·  1,200 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Whew! This man did more within a year than I have in my life.

And the giraffes would incline their heads very slightly and stare down at me with languorous demure expressions, but they never ran away. I found it exhilarating to be able to walk freely among such huge graceful wild creatures and talk to them as I wished.

This is the second half of Dahl's autobiography. What a wild life! Right after high school, Roald packed up his belongings, got a job for the Shell company and set off for Afri
Mar 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: boys (yep. I'm sexist like that)
Recommended to Malbadeen by: comes quietly back to thought
2). I'm giving this book 5 stars without having actually read it, but ya know what it's my review so I can do whatever I want (don't try and stop me)!
It's getting 5 stars because my 2nd grade son LOVES, LOVES, LOVES it!!! The other night he got sent to bed with no read aloud (the little bastard lied to me about brushing his teeth, I know I'm such a hard ass) but he didn't even care!!! He just said "OK", grabbed his this book and happily trotted off to bed.
Then last night I had to go into his roo
Wow, Roald was in some series air battles during World War II. I mean he could have easily died. It might not be true, but I think he came through all that mess so he could write these children's stories for the world. He should have died many times during the Battle for Athens and all the other times he went up in the air.

There was a time he was talking about flying 300 miles and hour so low to the ground to escape being shot down that he had to lift up to not hit cows and walls on the ground.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
“A life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones.” So opens the second and 'adult-based' portion of Roald Dahl's autobiography. He makes perfectly clear that this is not such a book, for autobiographies are full of useless and boring information. Dahl seeks to offer the reader some of the key memories he had during his early adult life, particularly serving in the Second World War. Accepting a job with the Shell Company, Dahl is soon shipped to the African ...more
Jul 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
First I read 'Boy' and then I read 'Going Solo'. This book is perfect. Roald Dahl tells the grown-up part of his life in such a way that made me crave more for his adventures in the Royal Air Force. It's like sitting in a cafe, listening to your date who's telling you amusing stories of his life. He's a hundred years older than you are, yet you still find him attractive!
Paul Christensen
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Roald Dahl’s funny and vivid second autobiography covers the 1930s and 40s.

It deals with his time in:

Dodging deadly black mamba snakes.

Fighting against the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Athens with only seven rickety planes.

As a witness to the prelude of the creation of the Zionist entity. This section is extremely creepy and deserves to be quoted:

‘Is this your land?’ I asked him.
‘Not yet,’ he said.
‘You mean you’re hoping to buy it?’
He looked at me in silence for a while. Then

Description: To celebrate the centenary year of his birth, a full dramatization of Roald Dahl's gripping autobiographical overseas adventure.

Beginning aboard the SS Mantola, Dahl sets sail for Africa at the tender age of 22. He experiences the remnants of colonial British life, filled with eccentric characters, and is thrown into a world as bizarre and surprising as any you will find in his fiction.

"Life is made up of a great number of small incidents and
Roald Dahl is not just a great writer - he's a wonderful human being, and that's what makes him so damn good at writing too.

He's observant and self-aware, matter-of-fact but wondering, curious and amazed at life, brave and charming in the way he writes and the things he's done, concise and generous and really fucking tall.
I'm pretty much in love with his soul.
Joey Woolfardis
A wonderful, harrowing and yet somehow light-hearted account of Dahl's time during the Second World War as a RAF pilot. Most fascinating, which one finds with the war poets, is, though it is obviously horrid and despicable, they all seem to bloody love war. Not nice when you nearly die, but jolly good fun otherwise. Camaraderie has a lot to do with it, but I think it's also just what you need to do when faced with such senseless, mindless stupidity.

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May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, nonfiction
My WORD. This was an eye-opening combination of humorous "Englishman abroad" and hair-raising WWII memoir! Starting out with his time, just out of school, as a Shell Oil employee in Dar es Salaam, the story moves right into the outbreak of WWII and Dahl's becoming an RAF pilot, because that is exactly what happened. He was never able to go home, and for three years his only contact with his beloved mother and sisters were the letters that they managed to send each other. Dahl's trademark humor a ...more
Mariah Roze
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Mariah Roze by: Matt
This is the second autobiography of Roald Dahl's life. The first book was Boy: Tales of Childhood. I suggest reading them in order, but it wouldn't be the worst thing ever if you didn't!
Here is my review on the first book:

This book starts at the age of 18 (and the first book goes up to the age 18). I really enjoyed this book! BUT, it only focused on him fighting in the war. I was hoping it would cover more than that. The war only lasted for a couple of y
Jul 01, 2016 rated it liked it
'Going Solo' is the second instalment of Dahl's autobiography. Whilst interesting, informative and entertaining this may be - it isn't anything like as compelling as the first book covering Dahl's earlier years - 'Boy'. Still definitely worth reading - for all fans of Dahl and anyone with an interest in his pre-literary life.
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book. I still can't believe that Roald Dahl experienced so many thrilling adventures before he became an author. This book had crash landings to green mamba attacks. If I were him I would have never left his thrilling life. I really loved the middle of the book because that's when the book started to become interesting. 10/10 great book. I recommend it to anyone who likes a thrilling and adventurous book.
Sarah Grace Grzy
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 15+ for language and mild violence
Recommended to Sarah Grace by: Mary
3.5 stars.

First off, I am once again shocked that this is considered juvenile fiction. I could see this being for the older range of juvenile fiction (15-18), but I would NOT give this to my little siblings (ages 12-14). There was quite a bit of language, which made me uncomfortable. Yeah, I get it; it's real life, but nonetheless.

Anyway, besides that, I really enjoyed this book! It took me 5 or so chapters to really be interested in it, but after that I was hooked. Dahl's slightly humerous an
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
A sequel to Boy, this picks up with Dahl’s journey to East Africa to take up a position with Shell. The journey there is as joyous as anything he’s written: he takes such delight in his fellow passengers’ dotty behavior, like the major and his wife who jog the deck naked; the female coffee farmer who has a horror of fingers and toes; and the cabin mate (a Mr. “U.N. Savory” – literally!) who goes to great lengths to hide his baldness. Once in Tanganyika he has some alarming snake and lion encount ...more
Nada Majdy
This is probably the most exiting autobiography I've ever read. I feel as if I'm friends now with the author eventhough there's a 73 year gap between us. The book gives you a glimpse of how it was like to live in the British Empire or The many many countries occupied by Britain, I should say. out of the many odd events and characters Roald had seen, the German Jewish/Zionest setteler near Haifa was by far, the creepiest, most twisted and disturbing in the intire book.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC Radio 4 - Drama:
To celebrate the centenary year of his birth, a full dramatization of Roald Dahl's gripping autobiographical overseas adventure.

Beginning aboard the SS Mantola, Dahl sets sail for Africa at the tender age of 22. He experiences the remnants of colonial British life, filled with eccentric characters, and is thrown into a world as bizarre and surprising as any you will find in his fiction.

"Life is made up of a great number of small incidents and a small number of great ones
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this better than I thought I would, but I still think he was better at children's books.
Shinichiro Sato
Sep 18, 2014 rated it liked it
The book Going Solo by Roald Dahl was a real experience of what happened to him during World War II. Before WWII he went to Africa to work for the Shell Oil Company. During WWII he became a pilot in England. Roald Dahl wrote 48 books in his life. This book is interesting and I would recommend it.

The strength of this book was its excitement. Dahl seemed crazy he talked to animals. One time he talks to the giraffes, “Hello, giraffes! Hello! Hello! Hello! How are you today?” (Going Solo p79). The
Nov 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable account of a remarkable portion of a remarkable life. Rereading this as an adult, I left with a much greater appreciation for my late grandfather's WW2 air force service and the ghastly "waste of life" he, too, was lucky enough to survive.
Liz V.
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1938, Dahl embarks on a ship to his new job in Africa, experiencing his first, eye opening encounters with British civil servants. Once established in his job, having successfully mastered sufficient Swahili, Dahl travels extensively with vivid descriptions of elephants, giraffes, lions and snakes--big, bad, deadly snakes. Nonetheless, Dahl is having the time of his life, although everyone knows war is coming.

The balance of the book recounts Dahl's enlistment in the RAF, the pitiful training
Aug 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Following on from Boy, Going Solo was another tremendously important book to me as a child. Where I could relate to his boyhood tales in some way, the next part of his life was a complete window to another world. Read then it was extraordinary and magical; read now I appreciate it on different levels entirely.

Dahl mentions how lucky he felt to have witnessed the later days of colonial Britain and the people that made the empire. All negative issues relating to Colonialism aside (I'm not going to
Emrys Elkouh
Sep 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In English class, we read the autobiography Going Solo by Roald Dahl. The book is all about his adventures in Africa while working for the Shell Oil Company, and while flying for the Royal Air Force in World War Two. The book also contains some of Dahl’s encounters with animals. He wrote it to tell the reader what it was like to live and explore in the African Savanna.

This book had some strong themes. The language can take a while to decipher, and can be quite annoying at times. At other times,
Mar 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: q4
I wish I could say I have been all over the world, have crashed landed a plane, or have shot-down German aces, which is why I really admire Roald Dahl. Dahl leaves England at age twenty one to work for the Shell oil company in Africa. Dahl worked in Africa until the outbreak of World War II, when he enlisted in the RAF and learned to fly warplanes. After becoming a pilot officer, Dahl fought in Greece as it was overtaken by the Germans. Dahl’s book “Going Solo” tells all about his adventures wit ...more
Many years ago, I read this book, which thoroughly captivated me. Before earning a worldwide reputation as a writer of exciting and wildly imaginative children’s books, Dahl had served as a fighter pilot in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Here he relates his experiences of undergoing flight training in Southern Africa. He conveys with touching clarity the stresses, joys, and pain any pilot trainee experiences in coming to grips with flying. As someone who is fascinated with avia ...more
Leif Fosse
Apr 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The book Going Solo is full of exciting, breathtaking, suspenseful, and defiantly worth reading. This book is about a young mans life and all of his adventures. The one thing that I really like about this book is that the fun never stops. First they talk about his adventures traveling with the Shell Oil company, and how he went to Africa and ran into many obstacles on his way.
The second half of this book gets even better. Roald Dahl enter the Air force and encounters many different situations
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dang, this guy had a crazy life! I really enjoyed the stories of his time in Africa, although the ones about snakes kind of freaked me out at times. It was interesting to get a snapshot of late British colonialism in Africa as well - it's easy for me to forget that it wasn't that long ago that Europe was sticking its fingers everywhere on that continent and elsewhere. Dahl's adventures in World War II, especially in Greece, were seriously intense, with numerous close shaves and narrow escapes. I ...more
heh. recommended to me by Miriam, who noticed that it wasn't on my Flying shelf. That's because I read it long before I set up my Goodreads account! Dahl's account of the Battle of Athens is one of my touchstones - the desperation and exhaustion of the RAF pilots, their relative cluelessness about what's going on everywhere else, the hands that shake too much to hold a cigarette when you're back on the ground - it's incredibly vivid and has influenced my own writing. The rest of the book is jaw- ...more
Aug 24, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
I liked it, but didn't love it as much as Boy. Going Solo is from when he was 22 and further on. It basically tells his story from when he was working for Shell and then fought against the Germans. Mostly it was about fighting against the Germans and is one of the reasons why I didn't like it as much. I think it mostly had to to do with the fact that he described the planes etc. too much and the events as well, so the story felt flat to me. Maybe I would have liked it more if he described more f ...more
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I was a teenager this felt like an epic read.
Now all grown up(some might disagree)
it doesn't feel as long as I thought it was but it doesnt change how great it is to read Dahls representation of the world around. His way with words and what he picks up on and presents to the reader lead to such an interesting and fun read. All in all the book only represents a small portion of his fascinating life but it draws you in.
His aerial battle scenes are so well written, never glamourising but stil
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Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, who rose to prominence in the 1940's with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world's bestselling authors.

Dahl's first published work, inspired by a meeting with C. S. Forester, was Shot Down Over Libya. Today the story is published as A Piece of Cake. The story, about his wartime adv

Other books in the series

Roald Dahl's Autobiography (2 books)
  • Boy: Tales of Childhood (Roald Dahl's Autobiography, #1)
“I was already beginning to realize that the only way to conduct oneself in a situation where bombs rained down and bullets whizzed past, was to accept the dangers and all the consequences as calmly as possible. Fretting and sweating about it all was not going to help.” 90 likes
“What a fortunate fellow I am, I kept telling myself. Nobody has ever had such a lovely time as this!” 20 likes
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