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Book Review

Book Cover

If I Don't Come Home
Letters From D-Day
The Bannerman Letter


Author: Alastair Bannerman
Publisher: ITV Studios Global Entertainment
RRP: £1.49
Publication Date: 06 June 2014

When the Second World War broke out, Alastair Bannerman, who had previously worked as an actor in London, examined his Christian beliefs and his naturalistic pacifist morals and balanced the threat that Hitler represented to his way of life, as well as his wife and children, and joined the army. Years later he found himself fighting up the beaches of Normandy as part of the D-Day invasion of France...

If I Don’t Come Home: Letters From D-Day - The Bannerman Letter (eBook - 76 pages) written by Alastair Bannerman is a record of his time during the period of the invasion. Although kept as a journal, it is written as if he were writing to his wife. The book is released to tie in with ITV’s dramatization of the journal for the commemoration of the seventieth anniversary of the landings.

The book's lengthy preface is written by one of Alistair’s sons, Tim Bannerman, who not only places the journal in its historical setting, but also explains some of the literary references used by his father. The book also has a selection of photographs, maps and sketches. The book contains a chronology of events and annotations explaining various terms.

One of the things which set the journal apart from some I have read, is the love he held for his wife, which shines out from his descriptions. In great detail he takes us through the initial preparation to the landings. But this is not what makes the book such a poignant read.

His background as an actor allows Bannerman to inject his prose with a poetic underpinning, something which is especially evident in his descriptions of his wife, whether he is talking about their love making or his sense of loss for not being by her side.

The journal covers a huge number of subjects, including the nature of the war, what comradeship really meant when facing death. As he and his men cross the beach and head inland the journal takes the form of a travelogue, describing the places and people he met.

The journal is interrupted by his capture by the Germans, but continued in retrospect to detail his escape.

There’s something very moving reading the actual words of a man who fought and nearly died almost seventy years ago; a voice across the ages illuminating an important event in history. Although the journal is more novella, it’s still worth reading. In the end it’s a well written, poetic story.


Charles Packer

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