Tale of a reluctant conscript

2009-11-18 00:00

BOOK REVIEW

Stand At Ease

Gary Green

Reach Publishers

FINALLY here is a book that pokes a light-hearted stick at national service and the South African Defence Force during the conscription years. Many books have been published over the years that describe the hell of the ­border war and the nightmare that was national service, but few have done it with a sense of humour.

Private Green’s goal in the army is to do as little as possible, and hopefully get posted down to his hometown Durban and secure a cushy job at ­Natal Command. Instead he is ­banished to the red sand of the Army Battle School, Lohatlha, with a bunch of slegtroep misfits.

So ensues a hilarious journey of avoiding any possible work detail or responsibility as he attempts to get through his two years of national service by doing as little as possible. There are crazy times, hard times and some nights of pure madness. Though it all Green and his friends laugh, dodge duties and try their hardest to get back to the warm waters and fun waves of Durban.

From the time his call-up papers arrive, to the eventual ending of his army camps stint, this is a montage of funny stories, wild characters, those hardened Permanent Force monsters and life in Lohatlha.

Anyone who did national service, anyone who had a family member or friend who went to the army, and even anyone who enjoys a rollicking good tale and a good chuckle will enjoy this book. Green’s style of writing is easy going and light-hearted. He tells a good story. He can be found on standatease2009@gmail.com.

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