SEVENTEEN SECONDS by Ivan Southall

SEVENTEEN SECONDS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

First published in Australia in 1960 (as Softly Treat the Brave), these non-fiction sketches are from the pen of the old rough and tumble Southall, not the reincarnated ""quality"" writer. Thus, the documentary account of how Aussie sub-lieutenants Mould, Syme and Kessack served as volunteer mine dismantlers during the blitz is launched with the following conversation: ""Jerry's a cad."" . . .""He's dropping magnetic mines on London."" ""Balderdash! No naval officer would tolerate such a thing."". . .""It's not cricket,"". . .""Those beastly huns are dropping magnetic mines on London."" . . . ""Poppycock."" The situations are gripping, the pace staccato, the dialogue -- ""I'll be at the barricade. There's no disgrace; it's not every man's cup of tea. . .Good luck, old boy. . . ."" -- makes it beastly hard to keep a stiff upper lip. The day when this could be taken straight has passed.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1974
Page count: 140pp
Publisher: Macmillan