Going solo. Roald Dahl. 1st edition. Jonathan Cape, 1986. Hardback in dust jacket (price clipped). VG condition, few scuff marks on dj.
In the autumn of 1938 Dahl sets off to work in Africa aboard a paint-peeling tub full of the dottiest fellow passengers imaginable. He falls in love with Tanganyika: a wonderful, beautiful, exciting country, plentifully covered with exotic wild animals - some of them best kept at a considerable distance. The green and black mambas, Dahl learns, make tricky opponents. Trickier still are the human predators, the Huns, who are trying to take over the world. Britain declares war on Germany and after temporary duty as an army officer, Dahl signs up with the RAF.It is impossible to imagine a more exciting or vivid account of what it was like to learn to fly a fighter plane and take it up to dice with the enemy. A disastrous detour delays him for six months, but then, with all six foot six inches scrunched into the cockpit like a pretzel, young Dahl eventually takes his place in the heavily depleted 80 Squadron, consisting of a mere fifteen fighter pilots and their Hurricanes who have been ordered to provide cover for the entire British Expeditionary Force in Greece. In Dahl's case this insanely doomed venture is undertaken with minimal flying experience and no combat training whatsoever. How close we came to never meeting Charlie and his Chocolate Factory, Danny, the BFG, and Uncle Oswald and others will soon be apparent.