NEW - from Derek Robinson
Short, highly readable, inexpensive - this brisk non-fiction account stands out from the flood of lengthy, costly, hardback books on the Great War. Here, in only 200 pages, is a shrewd analysis of a human disaster: why Europe hurried into a conflict that went massively wrong from the start. The narrative is written with the insight and gusto you'd expect from this author. Price in the UK: under a tenner, including post and packing. Signed copies available - just ask when ordering.
In U.K. £8
In Europe £10
Rest of World £12.50
Preferred payment method - PayPal
Why 1914? is a grand slam for American fan.
Initial reactions from readers have been very favourable - here are some of the first in:
through the causes and effects of the Great War is not only informative
immensely interesting. Not to mention readable and entertaining. You've
home run, as we say on this side of the pond. Perhaps even a grand
don't know where and when (and how) you did all your research, but you
with some gems of historical detail. I loved reading about the sailing
between Kaiser Bill and Bertie; about Willie's "strategy of lunacy"
in South Africa; about the provenance of "Huns;" about the
murder trial of Henriette Caillaux, playing out against the lead-up to
outbreak of the First World War; about the "expiry" (what a
delightful word) of Britain's ultimatum to Germany and the bumbling
danced by Sir Edward Goschen, Lancelot Oliphant, Harold Nicolson,
Lichnowsky and the unknown butler; about the desire of German farmers
margarine blue (I'd prefer magenta, personally); about the sacks
of mail sent to Paris awaiting German soldiers who never got it;
about the Phantom Army with "snow on their boots"
(never heard about that one); about "Servia" and why its name was
changed to "Serbia" . . . . . and all the rest.
WW1, as you make so clear, was both a very chancy affair - multiple wise and flakey personalities coming together at just the wrong moments - and also virtually inevitable: the will for war was so widespread throughout many areas of society on all sides.
Much popular history now is accessible either through TV
programs, where I feel availability of archive movie footage may play too big a
part in deciding the over-all thrust and emphasis of the programme, or through
the seriously fine, seriously detailed, seriously long, nothing-left-out
heavyweight tome. (I'm too old!) So many thanks for your book, which so successfully avoids
these two put-offs - and I do definitely know now that the Sarajevo Assassination no longer rates!" Paul Maskell,
|Mentioned in Despatches|
Robert Allison puts A Good Clean Fight in his top 10 of desert warfare novels, saying, “Well above genre standards, thanks to its energetic storytelling, its wealth of factual detail , and the author’s trademark gallows humour." Click to read the full article.
Reviewing A Splendid Little War, Nick Lezard writes: "Robinson has pulled off a remarkable coup. It's as bleakly intelligent as anything he has done but he has
also increased our historical understanding."
Click to read the full review.
Describing Derek Robinson's war novels, Antonia Senior said: "No one writes about war quite like Robinson, despite attempts to shroud him in echoes of other writers, such as Joseph Heller or Norman Mailer. He writes with a bleak savagery, in controlled, precise prose. There is humour – and it is dark and painful. There is love – and it is inadequate and messy. Most of all there is death. It comes from clear blue skies and grey clouds, from enemy fire and friendly mistakes. It hovers, unseen, at 15,000 feet."
Click to read the full article.
The low-flying submarine,
Hairy bridges, and...
The Vulcan attack
on the airfield at
How far and how fast Splendid sailed on that day didn’t alter the
Vulcan achievement, but it made a difference to me. An author needs to
make only one big factual mistake and he’s lost the reader’s confidence. I
research my stuff very thoroughly, and it’s good to hear from Steve in
The locals called it
When someone at a party asks what I do, I say I write Ripping Yarns. It's a quick answer but a very incomplete one. I'm best known for my novels about the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Air Force in the two World Wars and some might say the books are highly readable adventure stories. Nothing wrong with that, but there's more than combat in the high blue yonder - there's also memorable characters, there's unexpected twists and turns of warfare, and there's aircrew humour. Especially the humour. I did my National Service in the Royal Air Force. I was never airborne; I was in a Ground Control Interception Unit, deep underground in a concrete bunker. But I learned a lot about the special humour of flying people, and it emerges naturally and unavoidably in my novels. Humour is one of the essential colours in the spectrum of life. You don't make a story more serious by removing the humour; you just make it less true.
The longer I do this job, the luckier I know I am. For a start, I'm English and the English language is global. That's pure luck of birth. I might have been born in Hungary. There are good Hungarian writers, but it's a lot easier for me to find readers throughout the English-speaking world. And I was lucky to have literate parents. When I grew up there were always books and magazines about the house, unlike some other kids' homes. There was a good public library at the end of the street. And there was the 1944 Education Act which created State Scholarships for bright lads and helped me get into Cambridge.
That's where I learned to write boringly. I was writing to impress, not to inform. Twelve years in advertising agencies (London and New York) kicked the crap out of my style. Every word had to work hard. I wrote ad copy and commercials for everything from Esso petrol to The Wall Street Journal. Always I knew I wanted to move on, to be a fulltime writer - but I had nothing to say. Nothing worth reading, anyway. (I was a late developer.) I wrote two bad and unpublishable novels and finally got it right with a story called Goshawk Squadron. Might have won the Booker Prize if Saul Bellow, one of the judges, had had his way. Not important. "The most readable novel of the year," Nina Bawden said of Goshawk in the Daily Telegraph. "I laughed aloud several times, and was in the end reduced to tears." That's worth more than any prize. The first novel bought me enough time to write the second, and so it goes. Lucky me..
MacLehose Press (an imprint of Quercus Books) has published all of my flying novels - four Royal Flying Corps books and four Royal Air Force books. Here are the new covers:
Click here to go to the MacLeHose website. where you can click on their individual covers for purchase options, including e-books.
This will be the first time that all my flying titles are in print from the same publisher: something that gives me great satisfaction. Equally satisfying is the work of Tony Cowland, who has painted the cover illustrations for all the books. Each cover looks dramatically different, yet together they have a family likeness. They form a splendid collection, and they appeared at The Mall Galleries (near Admiralty Arch) in the Aviation Paintings of the Year Exhibition by the Guild of Aviation Artists. The standard was high. My congratulations to Tony on a memorable achievement.
Artist and Author
Photograph: Chris French
FIRST TIME IN PAPERBACK
RED RAG BLUES
He's a heel, bless him.
Luis Cabrillo rides again in this "dashing tale of Nazis and Mafiosi", as The Observer called it.
In fact, Nazis and Mafiosi play second fiddle to the real dynamo in this story. It's 1953, and Senator Joe McCarthy's witchhunt for Reds under beds is scaring America witless.
Cue Luis Cabrillo, ex-double agent, now con artist supreme. Dollars flow, hotly pursued by bullets. Luis doesn't know it, but FBI, MI5, KGB and CIA have him firmly in their sights. Not to mention Stevie, the only three-times married virgin in New York City. This is a rich, fast and very black comedy.
(To read the full Observer review, click here.)
CopyrightMacLehose Press (an imprint of Quercus Books) owns the book rights to all my RFC and RAF novels. Sam Goldwyn Jr owns the screen rights to Goshawk Squadron. In 1988, LWT made a six-part television series of Piece of Cake and they own the rights to that production. I own the screen rights to any remake of Piece of Cake. I own the screen rights to all my other novels. Quercus Books owns the e-book rights to all my fiction backlist, available through Amazon/Kindle. Derek Robinson
Contact I welcome comments and views about my books, though as a working writer I can't guarantee to have sufficient time to answer everyone.
Main publications Click any group heading to see details.
The RAF Quartet (WW2)
All my fiction is available as e-books. Maclehose Press publish (in print) all eight of my flying novels, available from any good book seller (who may have to order a copy). Or you could try the websites listed below, often useful for tracking down both new and used books.
The two Bristle books, and A Darker Side of Bristol are published by Countryside Books .
Finally, I have a few copies of Pure Bristle, available at £2 each.
Other websites you may find of interest:
1973 Rotten with Honour
1977 Kramer's War
1979 The Eldorado Network
1983 Piece of Cake
1987 War Story
1991 Artillery of Lies
1993 A Good Clean Fight
1999 Hornet's Sting
|2002 Damned Good Show
2002 Kentucky Blues
2005 Invasion 1940
2005 Red Rag Blues
2008 Hullo Russia, Goodbye England
2009 Operation Bamboozle
2013 A Splendid Little War
2014 Why 1914?