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Sunday, 1 March 2015


For You, The War Is Over
by Sam Kydd
Futura Publications paperback 1974

Let me start with a link to a post on this blog in which I profiled Belfast-born actor, Sam Kydd.
When I was researching his life and work, I discovered that he had written a book, a memoir of his time (nearly five years) as a prisoner-of-war. (Note, the story stops in 1945, so Kydd's screen acting career is not covered, except for recollections about several prison camp productions.)

I have read several books about war but nothing like this one.  It is a pacy account of some very harrowing experiences in various prison camps in Germany and Poland as detainees fought to survive as best they could.

Everything from starvation to boredom to hard labour to hopelessness is covered and no punches are pulled in writing about the challenges of incarceration. But, the book is brimming with humour and cheer that should be at odds with the grimness and despair of the core subject matter.  The odd couple blending of tragic accounts and funny stories give the book honesty and heart and allows the reader to understand the horrors of prison camps whilst hearing the chirpy voice of someone who chose to recall his POW experiences with more than a fair dose of retrospective lightheartedness.

I suspect some of the yarns about capers here and there to dupe German guards are exaggerated but I found the book to be emotional, entertaining and an informative insight into the man who would eventually become the jobbing and busy actor Sam Kydd.

Kydd wrote in a lively way, as if he couldn't wait to get the words down on paper. It works a treat. Sadly, he did not get round to writing about his cinema and television career. It would have been a great autobiography, I'm sure.

For You, The War Is Over is out of print but can still be found on Ebay and other sites.

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