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ACCIDENTAL JOURNEY by Mark Lynton

ACCIDENTAL JOURNEY

A Cambridge Internee's Memoir of World War II

By Mark Lynton

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-87951-577-5
Publisher: Overlook

 A well-born German Jew's immensely appealing reminiscences of his seven-year odyssey as a guest and then an officer of the British Crown. When the UK declared war on Hitler's Third Reich in 1939, 19- year-old Chelton grad Lynton (nÇ Max Otto Ludwig Loewenstein in Stuttgart) was leading a sheltered, even sybaritic, existence as a second-year student at Cambridge. In his first book, he recounts how, thanks to the vagaries of Home Office policy, he was interned as an enemy alien. Shipped to a camp in a remote corner of Canada, Lynton was later allowed to work his way back to Great Britain as a deck hand on a merchant vessel. He joined the Pioneer Corps, a paramilitary outfit employed on construction and cleanup projects, and after a couple of years building public loos all over southwestern England was permitted to join the army, where he anglicized his name at the unofficial behest of the government and earned a commission. Posted to a tank regiment, Lynton and his comrades, most veterans of North Africa, were in the thick of the post-D-day fighting that liberated Europe. During the subsequent occupation, the author's fluent German landed him in the Intelligence Corps' Political Section, from which he helped restore Germany's democratic institutions with the aid of anti-Nazis like Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, and Helmut Schmidt. He was demobilized in 1947 with the rank of major. The irreverently recounted details of his youthful journey will prove rewarding for most readers--in recalling the proprietress of a popular nightspot in bombed-out London, for example, Lynton notes, ``She was a rabid Welsh nationalist and Francophile, a combination rarely met outside a production of Henry V.'' The engaging recollections of a keen observer who looks back in ironic bemusement at horrific times he survived in remarkably good humor.