Be a man my son Is thirteen year old Richard Fell a casualty of the World War? His father, a sergeant in the Parachute Regiment, was lost presumed killed during the Normandy D Day invasion. His mother is ill. Richard seems to exist in a vacuum, a vacuum of questions. Peace had been declared, rural England was trying to get back to work but Richard was angry with an unforgiving world that takes but doesn't give. At the beginning of the school summer break, he encountered a deserter from the army, an officer, so damaged by his war experiences, he was unable to fit back into rmal life. A relationship between the adolescent boy and the man developed as they both attempted to find reason within an apparently senseless world. With the help of Kipling, they both ask If? The story is set in 1948 rural England. A disillusioned population was struggling t only with loss but with ongoing hardship. Food rationing was as bad as it had been during the war. Young men returning from conflict found re-integration difficult. Attitudes were at odds with the fighting spirit engendered by five years of war. People longer seemed to be on the same side. Nature didn't help. Extreme weather created the longest and coldest winter on record thus hampering the recovery, only to be followed by a very hot summer leading to hurricanes across the East of England. Amongst this chaos were German Prisoners of War, kept in Britain to do reparation work. Within the village, news was scarce, still mainly gathered from radios powered by portable wet batteries charged in the local garage. It was a world away from devastated London, which was hosting the first post-war Olympic Games. It seemed inexplicable that the RAF was flying an air bridge to feed Germans in Berlin, whilst people were starving in Britain. Within this small rural community, love and hate seemed to blossom in equal measure. Hardship, violence and death were still daily realities. Was the Captain the first adult male this adolescent boy could trust? Neither survived the summer break untouched. We are left with the question 'if?'.
Jon Choppin Jon was born and grew up in rural Essex during the second World War. He was educated at King Edward VI School, Chelmsford and London University and also has a degree from The Open University. A synopsis of Jon Choppin's past would include headings such as army officer, teacher, youth leader, residential centre warden, industrial consultant, lecturer, writer, councillor, small business advisor. He has worked in Europe and Tanzania. However throughout his career he has been a concerned people watcher. He now lives a tranquil life with his wife in the Andalucian Mountains. Previously he has written works concerned with Total Quality Management but he now finds fiction a better expression of reality.