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'This is the only book from the Second World War comparable with the first-war narratives of Sassoon, Blunden or Graves . . . When the battle of El Alamein began, the poet Keith Douglas was in Cairo with Divisional HQ. Eager not to miss the action, he took a truck and, against orders, drove to re-join his regiment. He served as a tank commander throughout the whole of the allied advance across North Africa, and Alamein to Zem Zem (1946) is his story. Boyishness and inexperience give it flash-bulb immediacy . . . Scenes of ...

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