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About "Chocolate Soldier"
London. 1940. When World War II breaks out and men over eighteen are conscripted, Clarence Dover, a conscientious objector, refuses to go rather than compromise his principles. Instead he joins the Friend's Ambulance Unit. From the London Blitz to the far reaches of Asia, the war tests Clarence in the crucible of suffering. In the end will he be able to hold his head up as proudly as the rest and say, to save lives, I risked my own? One man will stand as God's soldier not the war's soldier.This compelling story tells the tale of a different kind of soldier: a conchie.
Customer Reviews For "Chocolate Soldier"Write Your Own Review
Too little is known about conscientious objectors' roles in the Second World War and Hazel Barker does a terrific job of bringing the story of Clarence Dover to our eyes. To stand in front of a judge at the tender age of 20 in the midst of war and tell him that you will not fight is such a courageous decision. Clarence did so, and by joining the Friends' Ambulance Unit, he went on to risk his life stretcher-bearing in the London Blitz. After this, he travelled to India and China where he helped transport medical supplies. This book is a true testament to his courage and convictions and I highly recommend it!
This is a war story with a difference. Hazel Barker tells the story of Clarence Dover, an English conscientious objector during the Second World War, who met opposition from members of his family as well as from others. Dover's stand was from a strong Christian belief that killing was wrong, yet he did not shirk his duty. He joined the Friends Ambulance Unit, and served in London during the grim days of the Blitz, and later in India and China. The story is dramatic and engaging. One is left with great respect for a man who made a difference, though in a different way.
This book didn't work for me as a novel. There was no overall plot, just a series of events. There was no great character growth or change in Clarence-he acknowledges towards the end that while he has a greater appreciation of different cultures and beliefs, he remains a Christian and an Englishman. The writing focused on the retelling of facts rather than inciting the reader's emotions (I never really felt the horror of the situations Clarence found himself in). Much of the story read more like a diary than a novel, while other parts read more like the author than Clarence. Despite those faults, I enjoyed The Chocolate Soldier for the historical detail. Big details, like London in the Blitz and visits to tourist attractions like the Taj Mahal. And little details, like the fact soldiers received only six weeks of training before being sent into battle, trucks running on charcoal because there was no petrol, and the Chinese eating watermelon seeds for protein. Those snippets made the story. Recommended for those looking for a first-hand look at life in London during the Blitz, life in Colonial India and wartime China. Thanks to Rhiza Press for providing a free ebook for review.