According to Spike Milligan Books
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War (and Peace) Memoirs Books
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The Nation’s Favourite Poems Books
Terence Alan Milligan, also known as Spike Milligan, was a multi-talented Irish-English actor, playwright, poet, musician, and writer. He gained fame through his comical autobiographical works, which depicted his time as a soldier in the British Army during World War II. Additionally, he was renowned for his children’s poetry and his involvement in the popular TV show, The Goon Show. Born in India to an English mother and an Irish father, Milligan later moved to the UK. He earned the nickname “Spike” after hearing the Spike Jones and his City Slickers band on Radio Luxembourg.
Milligan’s most famous work is his seven-volume war memoir. The first book in the series, “Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall,” provides an autobiographical account of his experiences during WWII. Alongside his success as a writer, he also wrote humorous verses, primarily for children. Following his time on The Goon Show, Milligan was involved in creating and performing in a surreal sketch show called Q5, which greatly influenced Monty Python’s Flying Circus.
Despite applying for British citizenship in 1960 and 1961, Milligan’s refusal to swear allegiance to the United Kingdom resulted in his rejection. Instead, he opted for Irish citizenship. However, he maintained a close friendship with the Prince of Wales, who was a great admirer of his work. Milligan received numerous prestigious honors, including an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, the Commander of the Order of the British Empire, and the 1994 British Comedy Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. He was passionate about the environment and actively campaigned against unnecessary noise, domestic violence, and animal cruelty.
Milligan’s poetic works are often classified as literary nonsense. Comedian Stephen Fry claims that Milligan’s poetry is timeless, comparing it to the works of Edward Lear. In 1998, Milligan’s poem “Ning Nang Nong” was voted the UK’s favorite comic poem in an online poll, surpassing the works of Lear and Lewis Carroll. The popularity of the poem led to it being adapted into a musical for the Australian children’s program Playschool. Additionally, Milligan’s comical novel, Puckoon, and his War Memoirs series received recognition for their unique format and storytelling.
In his first novel of the War Memoir series, “Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall,” Milligan recounts events from the declaration of war between Britain and Germany to his arrival in Algeria to fight the Axis forces. The second book, “Rommel?” “Gunner Who?” A Confrontation in the Desert,” covers the five months Milligan spent in Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco during Operation Torch.
Spike Milligan was married three times and had three children. He struggled with severe bipolar disorder, experiencing episodes of serious mental depression that could last up to a year. Despite his challenges, he believed that his depression fueled some of his deepest and most profound poetry. Milligan passed away in 2002 at the age of 83 due to kidney failure.
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