In large part I felt compelled to review this book because it seems to have been written about my childhood. Pearson is of an age similar to mine, and experienced many of the same loves and hates in the world of toys. He writes for example of playing with that boy-doll ‘Action Man’, and loving Airfix toy soldiers.
Achtung Schweinhund is the tale of the boys own adventure, all written in a light, funny, and accessible style. Pearson has a wry sense of humour he deploys to full effect describing the characters he failed to grow up with in 1960s and 1970s England.
Of particular interest though, and the main reason I wanted to put up a review, is his description of the sorts of comics read by British boys in during his childhood. Where in the US comics were (and are ) populated with fantasy heroes and unobtainable women, Pearson states quite rightly that British comics were not. Where the US were colour and seemed obsessed with muscles, but the difference was more fundemental. In particular:
the nature of the heroes differed wildly. The American kids had Spiderman, Daredevil, Batman and Thor. British kids had the Second World War… The men who saved our world didn’t have extraordinary powers, fancy gadgets or bizarre costumes (though Keith’s dad sometimes wore his old jungle hat when he pruned the roses and Mr Maynard who helped sink the Tirpitz owned a colour telly). Our superheroes were our dads, uncles, and grandfathers, and there’s something rather touching in that.
Personally, never a more true word has been written about my own childhood.
A great read if you are of an age, and have hobbies you’d prefer not to share with the world at large.