Monday, December 20, 2010

Achtung Schweinhund!

By Harry Pearson

This is a book about the authors experience of playing war games, from childhood until late middle age, when the book was written. It begins with Pearson's experience with various toys and comics, set against the back drop of growing up in post war Britain. Even though I grew up ten years after Pearson, a lot of the things he remembers hadn't changed in the mean time and it was an interesting comparison with my own early years.

The author attempts to make light of his memories, interjecting a lot of humour, but I wasn't really all that amused as I found the jokes to be rather clumsy. I did laugh out loud on occaision, but not often enough for me to consider this a humorous book. What amused, and impressed me the most was Pearson's knowledge of the history of wargaming and the many small anecdotes from history he added to the book, especially in the middle chapters. These really help his memoir become more than just a whimiscal view of one wargamer's past and I couldn't but help think that this was what the book should have been about. There were just so many funny stories of the insane lengths to which war gamers have gone in order to pursuse their hobby.

The book also acts as an invitation to introspection on behalf of the reader. People who play games of war might benefit from asking themseles why they do so, after all, what is the fascination? I'm not really sure and I've been pondering this for a long time. Pearson offers his own views on the subject, but I won't spoil the book by repeating them.

On the whole this was a welcome break from the tedium of reading 'Little Big', which had kept my enthusiasm so far at bay as to be put aside for the time being.

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