Prunes for Breakfast: One Man's War Based on a True Story Kindle Edition
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Prunes for Breakfast: One Man's War Based on a True Story is a memoir by John Searancke. This memoir gives readers a heartfelt glimpse into the life of the author's father, Eddie Searancke, during the war years of 1940-1945. Eddie had led a leisurely life while working in his father's construction company, but that changed after joining the army. Although he was not an officer, that did not stop Eddie from becoming one by unconventional standards. He assumed the war would be short-lived with acceptable amounts of casualties, but nothing prepared Eddie for the horrors that he experienced, especially after the Germans captured him. Despite the hardships, Eddie managed to keep his wry wits about him while writing letters to his indulged bride, Elizabeth, and his father.
John Searancke did not know his father very well and often heard how the war had changed him. It was only after Eddie died that he began to connect with him through a packet of letters that Eddie had written to his wife. These expressive letters, which are included in the memoir, give insight into Eddie's daily thoughts and activities while enlisted. Food and basic items were scarce, yet it surprised me to see how Eddie procured them for his family, and how he managed to conduct family business during the war. John Searancke's writing captures his sentiments as well as his father's experiences very nicely. Prunes for Breakfast: One Man's War Based on a True Story is a poignant military memoir that I highly recommend reading. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B015SNYARW
- Publisher : Matador (September 24, 2015)
- Publication date : September 24, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 487 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 297 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,139,599 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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A quality narration. It brings life to the story without getting in the way.
What did you like best about this story?
A soldier's love for family, country, and his comrades.
Which character – as performed by Nicholas C Jermyn – was your favorite?
The story is about Edward's experience as told by Edward, and he is a very likable and admirable person.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
I would never listen through an entire book at once but I always looked forward to my next opportunity to start it up again.
Any additional comments?
I thoroughly enjoyed the story and give it my highest recommendation.
various courses and eventually qualifies for officer candidate training. As a junior officer he is able to have his auto on base and also his golf clubs which prove an excellent way to make friends and pass the time between his weekend leaves to visit his wife. Life in the army becomes somewhat monotonous until his Unit partakes in the D Day invasion of France and the reality and shock of warfare against the Germans. Quite to their despair his unit is overrun and he is taken prisoner of war. The discomfort, illnesses and hunger become his daily life. Truthful and well .written
Life in the army is easy at first as Eddie trains and rises through the ranks from private to officer. He's allowed weekend rendezvous with his wife and even has his golf clubs and a fancy auto on base for short excursions. But by the time John's unit is called upon to join Allied Forces and bring an end to Hitler's dream of Nazi domination (in the largest air, land, and sea operation on D-Day, June 6, 1944) Eddie's life changes to one of anguish, hunger, and illness. When taken prisoner of war, John keeps his stiff upper 'British' lip. He continues to write letters home but glosses over his his dire situation.
How fortunate for the author, to be able to piece together this insightful and intimate story of his father's war years.
Top reviews from other countries
Eddie Searancke was a young, newly married and well to do business man when war was declared. He and his friends hurried off to enlist to do their bit for ‘King and Country’ However for a long period he spent most of his time completing a whole range of courses in various places around the country, including the Isle of Man and Ireland. This training wasn’t always easy though and Eddie’s stoicism and strength of character are apparent throughout, as were his leadership skills. He eventually rose to the rank of Captain which was quite an achievement. These skills were put to the test when he and his fellow soldiers were sent to Normandy following the D Day landings. Nothing can prepare a person for the horrors and atrocities of war and his letters at this point reflect his desire to shield his wife from knowing the truth of his situation.
He was captured with the few remaining men in 8 Platoon in an apple orchard in Normandy from where he was eventually sent to Oflag 79 near Brunswick. Even while in captivity he continued to write his letters home describing in detail his daily activities. I then discovered where the Title of the book was arrived at! It was a hard and difficult time and I did have a tear in my eye when he described having to eat turnips as they were ‘the main element of every meal’ My own father was also a prisoner of war and this was about the only thing he ever spoke about! I found it a tremendously moving memoir and it’s such a terrific tribute to his father. It’s a wonderful family history about an extraordinary time in British history.
The skill of this marvellous book is the combination of real-life letters, written to and from ‘Eddie’ and Elizabeth, and straight ‘imagined’ narrative as meticulously crafted by their son, John (aka “JE”). The frustration of the two lovers, as Eddie is shunted from pillar to post, from the Isle of Man to St Albans, from Ireland to Kent, and finally to France is brilliantly evoked: what marriage could have had a harder start, when every time they try to meet, a last minute extra duty or a politically important game of golf (I laughed at this, Elizabeth didn’t!) manages to keep them apart. I scanned the letters a few times to work out how they managed to conceive young John!
I also scratched my head over where the Prunes for Breakfast of the title might be – halfway through the book and not a prune in sight – but then Eddie gets captured by the Nazis and banged up in a POW holding camp for officers. What’s for breakfast? Oh yes, it’s prunes, and Eddie becomes a very regular soldier indeed. How glad, however, he is to exchange this meagre repast for steak and chips upon his release by the Yanks – he hasn’t seen a chip in years!
At times hilarious, at others a stern reminder of how Britain kept the great in Great Britain, this is not just the story of how an ordinary man performed extraordinary things in times of war. It is a paean to the virtues of hope, courage and the love of two people whose pens were mightier than the sword. Kudos, John, for interpreting their love and penmanship so beautifully – this is a wonderful read.
Prunes for Breakfast focuses on the experiences of the author’s father, Eddie, when he signs up to join his local reserve regiment in the 1940s. What immediately sets it apart from many others on the subject is that much of the story is told through letters sent by Eddie to his wife. Letters that were so important at the time for the recipient, and which have been cherished and faithfully preserved.
I was fascinated by his commentary on day-to-day activities as the regiment wait for the call-up, some of which seemed humdrum and therefore challenging in their own way. But it doesn’t last forever. They starkly contrast to the horrors of war, which are then related in a very different way to protect his wife from the harsh reality of the situation. Latterly his capture and incarceration in a prison camp lends yet another dimension to his wartime experiences.
Without doubt I would recommend this book to anyone who has a special interest in World War 2 and the social history that surrounds it. The intimacy of the letters, in particular, gives the reader a direct insight of how one serviceman coped with being apart from his new wife, and latterly child. That, coupled with John Searancke’s excellent, clear writing style, makes this a compelling read
Did I enjoy it? Without any doubt, yes I did. It was an intimate and fascinating account of one man's WW2, cleverly told through a bunch of letters written by the author's father to his young wife. I even found myself paying attention to the Notes on Military References, important to read if you want a real understanding of the numbers of men who went into battle.
Thank you John Searanke for sharing your father's war with us. We really do owe his generation an enormous debt of gratitude. By the way, if my husband had a prolonged absence from home, and returned for a weekend, he too would arrive with his golf clubs!