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  • Vinen's clever and careful book is surely the definitive history. The era of national service now seems like ancient history, but from the routines of the parade ground to the horrors of Korea, Vinen restores it to life with a searching eye for detail and impressive human sympathy

    Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times BOOKS OF THE YEAR
  • Written with compassion and insight, Vinen's book brilliantly recreates the atmosphere of postwar Britain

    Tony Barber, Financial Times BOOKS OF THE YEAR
  • National Service may prove to be the most original social history book of 2014. The book is bigger than its ostensible subject, embracing class, masculinity, sexuality, compliance, rebellion, combat atrocities, petty crime, notions of national identity, group solidarity, the fallibility of memory and what it means to be a man

    Richard Davenport-Hines, Guardian
  • Vinen has given us the kind of book that every professional historian surely wants to write: not only with a mastery of its voluminous original sources but also a sensitivity to the rich human detail, by turns authoritative, thoughtful, poignant - and funny

    Peter Clarke, Financial Times
  • I can't recall ever having read so unexpectedly fascinating a book...every single page has something of great interest on it

    Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian

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