Military history and World War II buffs will enjoy this well written third installment in Jackson’s Sergeant George Yeoman series. I hadn’t read any of the others in the series, but it didn’t matter; it serves just fine as a stand-alone novel. Thanks go to Net Galley and Endeavour Press for the DRC, which I received free of charge in exchange for this review.
Yeoman is a pilot; Jackson served as a pilot himself in the Royal Air Force Reserve and flew many different types of planes, so he has personal experience with his topic. The story centers around the battle for Northern Africa before the USA has entered the war.
And did you know how hot the desert is? Those that are considering reading this need to know this one thing: have some water beside you as you commence. I don’t think any novel has ever made me this thirsty!
Those that are not native English speakers may find this too challenging, and so will high school students. The vocabulary, as well as the military and geographic references, calls for a solid literacy level, and those with some knowledge of World War II and the Mediterranean region will be happier reading it than those that don’t. The four star designation is for this demographic; for general audiences unfamiliar with the Africa campaign, I’d take it down to three stars.
The book would really benefit from a couple of maps and some photographs of the many different types of weapons and especially aircraft that are mentioned here.
I am slightly touchy about the racist term that was used during this time period for Japanese; I understand they were adversaries, and yet the ugly racial terms–which went so far further than anything that was said about European members of the Axis forces–turn my stomach. Because of this, I veer away from fiction that has to do with the Pacific theater of this war, because I just know it’s going to be there, probably in liberal doses. The “J” word pops up here just once. On the one hand, it really doesn’t add anything to the plot and could have been left out, but on the other, at least it is in quotation marks, reflecting a character’s mindset rather than the overall tone of the narrative. Given the nature of the story, I felt the author did pretty well in this regard.
Recommended for those with a strong interest in World War II history, this book is more of a novella in length; just 142 pages. It is available for sale digitally now.