The Salamander and the Fire

Dan Davin
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ISBN 9780571272792 Format Paperback
Published 19/08/2010 Length 228 pages

About Book

First published in 1986, these collected war stories are told in the order of the Middle East campaigns that provide their settings. The characters are mainly men from the New Zealand Division seen in battle, and in the intervals between battle, sometimes scared, bored, drunk, and disillusioned, like soldiers everywhere. One story, 'The General and the Nightingale,' gives a vivid picture of General Freyberg, the man Churchill called 'the Salamander of the British Empire'. The men of the 2NZ he described as 'a ball of fire'. The author of these stories was one of them.
  • About Dan Davin

    Dan Davin (1913-1990) was a scholar, soldier, writer and publisher. Born in New Zealand, he came to England as a Rhodes Scholar. In the Second World War he fought with the New Zealand expeditionary force, writing as a result the highly regarded Crete volume in the Official History of New Zealand in the Second World War.

    Much of his post-war life was devoted to the Oxford University Press where he ended up as deputy secretary and academic publisher. It has been nicely said of him that he had 'an uncommon gift for enjoying his own aversions - parties, dining out, travel, committees, formal social occasions, other people's problems. No man who longed so much for the quiet of his own fireside has been so often out.'

    In this busy life he still managed to write seven novels as well as collections of short stories. The best of his Second World War stories were gathered in The Salamander and The Fire, which along with Closing Times, is being reissued in Faber Finds.

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