Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Achtung Schweinehund! Voice of a Generation

Retirement hasn't brought the free time I anticipated, but a bout of insomnia gave me a chance to start on a recent second-hand book acquisition. Harry Pearson's Achtung Schweinehund! was published in 2008 and has been discussed on TMP but it was new to me.

It's essentially the personal odyssey of a wargamer, and for men of a certain age and inclination it's all so true: the cultural stimuli of the early post-WW2 era, the compulsion to collect, the oppressiveness of having to paint, house and play with a large and diverse collection, and the discretion with which one treats a hobby/obsession which is simultaneously seen as puerile, geekish and belligerent.

The book doesn't purport to be a comprehensive history of wargaming but I learnt things I didn't know and was reminded of things I'd forgotten. The author is rather harsh on fantasy gamers and LARPists, but being of a certain age myself I can appreciate his frustration at the way historical gaming has been crushed by the fantasy juggernaut.

4 comments:

  1. A splendid book. If only I could remember who borrowed my copy......

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    Replies
    1. Hi Tim

      If you lend a book you might as well assume you have given it away!

      If I was optimistic about getting books back, I'd add a 'Lent To' column to my database of books owned...

      Kind regards

      Richard

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  2. I read it yesterday, from start to finish in one sitting..I couldn´t put it down. The section about Action man and how useless it was is hilarious.
    I was hoping he would go back to what happend to the guy living in the house full of minis, sounded like his mate had found the nearest Thing to heaven on earth :-D

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    Replies
    1. Hi Paul

      Yes, it's full of entertaining anecdotes and gossip. Gossip isn't my thing but it helps to put some flesh on people who would otherwise just be names. I'm not convinced that wargamers in general are any more eccentric than any other hobby group, but come to think of it I have encountered a few eccentric model soldier shop owners in the days when such shops still existed.

      Best

      Richard

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