In this extraordinary account, the author details his experiences as a fighter pilot in the Second World War, in which he was shot down, leading to months in hospital as part of Archibald McIndoe's 'Guinea Pig Club', undergoing pioneering plastic surgery to rebuild his face and hands.
Published in Vintage for the first time to coincide with the anniversary of the Battle of Britian THE LAST ENEMY recounts Richard Hillary's experiences as a fighter pilot in the Second World War, in which he was shot down and spent months in hospital, undergoing operations to rebuild his face and hands Richard Hillary was one of the members of Archibald McIndoe's famous 'guinea pig club' of aircrew who had been very badly burnt and underwent pioneering plastic surgery. THE LAST ENEMY was published in 1942, seven months before his death in a second crash. THE LAST ENEMY features an introduction by Sebastian Faulks as Richard Hilary is one of the three 'fatal Englishman' Sebastian Faulks writes about in his book of the same name
Richard Hillary was born in Sydney, Australia, in 1919. He was sent to boarding school in England and went to Trinity College, Oxford in 1937. He was still at Oxford when the Second World War broke out and, with other members of the R.A.F Volunteer Reserve, was immediately called to duty. He blew Spitfires in the Battle of Britain before being shot down and horribly burned. He underwent several operations by the great plastic surgeon, Archibald McIndoe. After a slow and very painful recovery, Hilary begged to be allowed to return to flying. He was killed, at the age of 23, when his plane crashed in a night training operation.
"The Last Enemy rapidly acquired the aura of a book that says something vital, whose importance goes beyond what it literally describes" Sebastian Faulks "This slim volume of Hillary's seems to have a weight which makes it sink into the depths of one's memory, while tons of printed bulk drift as flotsom on its surface" -- Arthur Koestler "One of the classic books of World War Two" -- Philip French London Review of Books "Rivetingly well told...It will still speak to anyone who cares for the romance and tragedy of a lost hero." -- Godfrey Smith Sunday Times "Elegantly affecting memoir" -- David Horspool The Times
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