Over the summer I’ve had the privilege of indexing two books by men who took part in World War II, and viewed their participation as a necessary interlude in their careers, not defining moments because they went on to forge careers in areas unrelated to the military. They were, perhaps, lucky to live at a time when the post-war period made opportunities for those who could seize them.
Nigel Buxton was travel writer for the Sunday Telegraph and a wine writer, and more recently appeared as BaaadDad in the Channel 4 comedy series The Adam and Joe Show. He tells of his wartime experiences and of how he came to work in Fleet Street and blog. This material has been gathered for a book that includes some of his favourite essays from the Sunday Telegraph. Nigel died at the end of November 2015 and the book makes a fitting tribute to his life.
Robert Harling was editor of House & Garden among many other things. He shared wartime experiences with Ian Fleming and became his friend, sharing holidays and meals with Ian on many occasions. Robson press published Ian Fleming: A personal memoir in October to coincide with the new Bond film Spectre. The book gives a unique perspective on an enduringly popular author and his personal life. However, as Ian Jack, writing in the Guardian, shows, Harling wasn’t entirely honest about his own life.
Both should be on the Christmas list of anyone interested in the post-war period in Britain.