Sunday, June 13, 2010

JonnyB has written a book!

This is a picture of its cover here, but don't click on it to order a copy, which you will definitely be wanting to do when you've read this review, oh yes, it's a pretty impressive review, click on this link instead:

"Sex & Bowls & Rock & Roll"

For this book, JonnyB has taken on the pseudonym 'Alex Marsh', which is fair enough.

The most important fact about this book is that I was the first person in the entire world to receive a review copy, which (disclaimer) warmed me to it enormously before I even cracked open its cover, six months later. The crisp five pound note that slipped out when I did so and fluttered to the floor warmed me to it even more, as did the note from his agent that said 'seriously, just read the first few pages or so, that'll all professional reviewers do. If you're really pressed for time, you can just do a search and replace on another review and put JonnyB's name in instead, everyone does it, seriously don't worry about it'.

And so I can reveal that after the first sentence "Are you sure that we're meant to be here?", the book deviates, not into a sweetly funny exploration of what happens when a chap decides to abandon his dreams to be a rock star and takes up life as a househusband in rural Norfolk, as you'd expect from the back cover, but instead covers the years from JonnyB's birth in 1880 until America's entry into World War II in 1941. JonnyB, the son of a Medal of Honor winning Union officer during the Civil War, is himself a brilliant, egotistical, vainglorious man who is his father's equal as a military leader. After graduating first in his class from West Point, he rises from relative obscurity in the Army during the years before World War I. During the "war to end wars" (1917-18), JonnyB proves himself a brilliant strategist and tactician, and an uncommonly brave field officer. He is promoted from Captain to Major General during the war, and wins several decorations, including the Distinguished Service Cross.

Between the World Wars, JonnyB continues his steady rise in rank. By 1941, when he is 61 years old, JonnyB has retired from the Army and has decided to remain in the Philippines, where he has served for several years as America's military governor. On the eve of America's entry into World War II, with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor having already been completed, JonnyB is found impatiently awaiting the expected attack on Manila.

Alex Marsh, the author of this masterful three one-volume "Sex & Bowls & Rock & Roll," is widely recognized as the foremost authority on the life of this brilliant and controversial army general. These volumes are well researched and written and highly readable, although they lack the narrative flair of William Manchester's "American Caesar."

(obviously all the above is nonsense, and I did read the book, which I liked a lot, and I should say that despite being given a free copy, I have pre-ordered another one from Amazon so I can give it as a birthday pressie, so there, I did really like it, that is evidence, the end).


Jayne said...

A wonderful review - lyrical, insightful and completely and totally accurate...

JonnyB said...

The chapter on American military isolationism in the years from 1935 was a bastard. Thanks for the encouragement - I really did think that it might be a little dry for a non-specialist audience.