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How I Dropped In on Vladimir Putin (and Other Stories): The Drills, Spills and Thrills, Japes, Scrapes and Escapes of a Royal Navy Russian interpreter

11 Jul 23

by Lt Cdr ALAN PEARCE RN (Rtd)

(Independently Published – £12.95)

ISBN 979 8 787 424363 5

364 pages

This is the most enjoyable book about life in the Navy that I have read for many years, and it is a delightful recommended read for anyone who served in the RN during the 20th century. The author, who spent 38 years in the Service, is 10 years astern of me and the Navy he describes is exactly the Navy I remember, and his own challenging career must match those of so many of us. Either he kept a diary, or he has superb powers of recall, but certainly he is a master wordsmith. Every page a gem and almost every page a laugh. Our Navy was a fun Navy and we made it so. But, as is well documented in the book, the Navy’s duty always embraces its serious and its tragic moments.

Do not be put off by the title. Like so many of us, given extensive training and then to find much of it seldom put to use, but at least he did get to Russia in the end and these later chapters offer a glimpse of yesterday’s calm before today’s storm, each overlaid by the Russian psyche. For the most part this autobiography is the autobiography which we could all write if we made the time and had the talent. The Amazon blurb provides a good taster. Certainly, as Amazon suggests, in this book I met people I knew; his own un-named difficult Captains (and I guess we all served with at least one – usually Drivers with sticks rather than Leaders with carrots) and yes too, the naïve and arrogant Midshipman: And others besides. And so will you! So, is this also a book for 21st century NR members? Only if they might crave to know that fun can also form part of a rewarding life in the Royal Navy and engender some themselves.