Prunes for Breakfast

Prunes for Breakfast

by John Searancke

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'Many years after the deaths of my parents, my aunt handed me a box filled with letters that my father had written to my mother over the period from 1940 to 1945. This was the starting point of a journey for me to rediscover the father I?had never really known...'

This is the story of John Searancke's parents, told mostly from the side of his father, Eddie Searancke, from the time of his calling up in early 1940 to his release from a prisoner of war camp in Germany in 1945, thence his return to England to try to pick up the pieces of his old life. Nothing could ever be quite the same afterwards.

The letters take readers through five captivating years, telling of the ups and downs, the plots and counterplots, as Eddie rose through the ranks to end his war as a captain, elevated to that rank in the field as his troops faced the formidable might of the SS Panzers. The letters also reveal where his battle came to an abrupt end, in an orchard surrounded by the enemy and captured after a series of bloody skirmishes as the British army spearheaded its way from the beaches of Normandy. The journey as a prisoner across France and Germany in a truck, with comrades dying each day, may be as hard to read as it is to tell, particularly when a new life and new harsh rules had to be learned and rigidly enforced in a prison camp in northern Germany, the final destination.

This is written as part memoir, part fictionalised retelling and partly in letter format; John draws together all sources to recreate the five years of war and hardship that the letters span.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940157849412
Publisher: Matador Publishing Ltd
Publication date: 12/24/2015
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 200
Sales rank: 847,655
File size: 1 MB

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Prunes for Breakfast 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers' Favorite Prunes for Breakfast: One Man’s War Based on a True Story is a memoir by John Searancke. This memoir gives readers a heartfelt glimpse into the life of the author’s father, Eddie Searancke, during the war years of 1940-1945. Eddie had led a leisurely life while working in his father’s construction company, but that changed after joining the army. Although he was not an officer, that did not stop Eddie from becoming one by unconventional standards. He assumed the war would be short-lived with acceptable amounts of casualties, but nothing prepared Eddie for the horrors that he experienced, especially after the Germans captured him. Despite the hardships, Eddie managed to keep his wry wits about him while writing letters to his indulged bride, Elizabeth, and his father. John Searancke did not know his father very well and often heard how the war had changed him. It was only after Eddie died that he began to connect with him through a packet of letters that Eddie had written to his wife. These expressive letters, which are included in the memoir, give insight into Eddie’s daily thoughts and activities while enlisted. Food and basic items were scarce, yet it surprised me to see how Eddie procured them for his family, and how he managed to conduct family business during the war. John Searancke’s writing captures his sentiments as well as his father’s experiences very nicely. Prunes for Breakfast: One Man’s War Based on a True Story is a poignant military memoir that I highly recommend reading.
RukiaReader More than 1 year ago
Prunes for Breakfast which may be perceived as a WW2 memoir from its synopsis, is very much more that that. It is a personal, detailed and touching memoir and as such it will appeal to memoir readers across a wide range of interests. The WW2 descriptions and facts as portrayed to the author from letters written by his father, Eddie during that period, articulately depict the horrors of war, but also clearly reflect love, honour and commitment. The superb use of vocabulary and the diarised style of collating this story, even when there must have been missing elements, is carefully and skillfully crafted and the author deserves credit for achieving this. Even though it is a memoir, there is a true sense of anticipation and almost plot development in that it keeps the reader captivated and eagerly awaiting the next episode.
musics More than 1 year ago
The author gives us a wonderful account of his father’s life and times. I’s in the form of a memoir,a and with a judicious use of military historical research and his father’s letters, he gives us a pretty good idea of what it must have been like for most of our fathers and grandfathers during WW II. Reading the account the reader is shown that for most of the time, the majority of the army didn’t really have anything to do except wait and prepare, and so his father (and mine), like most serving officers, spent their time drilling and practicing until four years later. Then with the Americans on our side we finally had enough muscle to stage the Normandy landings in the last year. The book is compilation of the father’s letters to his wife and skilfully told narrative, and through this, we follow his life on various army bases. More than anything else, the account is an good example of quintessentially English stoicism. There is hardly a whisper of complaint, and certainly no Latin-like romantic declaration of love as our hero sucks his pipe and writes to his beloved at home. Occasionally an affectionate word is written, or a caring enquiry is made as to her well-being or the health of his son, but emotion barely breaks the surface as he details the minutiae of daily camp life. (One pictures Leslie Howard square jawed and pipe clamped firmly between his teeth in the flickering light of a kerosene lamp, penning a stoic missive.) Eventually the Normandy landings take place, and once in France, he doggedly writes home despite the fighting , but again, hardly a mention is made of the horrors – although at one point he does let on that things had recently been ”not too pleasant at all” and he’d “lost a few men”. (We are indeed a remarkable people!) Then within about a month of the Normandy landings, he is taken prisoner to spend the last few months of the war in a POW ‘Oflag’, where again he continues to write home, and this gives a very good insight into the frustration and the drudgery of camp life before he is repatriated at the end of the war. It’s a remarkable achievement to have created a book out of it, and I’m very glad I read it – a true document of its time.