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On 24th September, 1970, Alan Herbert celebrates his eightieth birthday. During these eighty years he has been celebrating life itself, taking and giving with joyful gusto and versatile vigour. As might be expected of a man who starts his life story with the sentence 'My first cry, the doctor said, was "I told you so."
The second was, "No speeches, I hope?"', this is no solemn chronological account marching through the years to age and honours. It is a gathering together .of interest, experience, enthusiasm and dislike, stimulating plain speaking and some very funny stories. The author has never been bored nor bored anyone else.
Growing up in the world of horse buses, penny buns (he was addicted to both), bathing machines and home-made entertainment, Oxford followed Winchester, and Gallipoli and France followed Oxford. The world that came later was greatly changed. APH joined the staff of Punch in 1924 and has written for the paper for sixty years - ' .... five editors of Punch shot under me, and I am still hanging about the premises .... '.
Articles, books, plays and musicals, poetry and polemics and still he has always found time for a multitude of other occupations - a fighter and reformer in the House of Commons whose Marriage Bill passed into law in 1937, a Thames Conservator (the Thames runs past his garden, and is not kept sweet enough) with a passion for sailing.
There is more than a touch of the universal man about Alan Herbert - a great Englishman. Outspoken patriot, spirited denouncer of injustice, Bumbledom and humbug, tenacious defender of a good cause, he never loses his sense of fun - a very English attribute. APH will bring great pleasure to every reader. The zest with which it is written shows how much the author enjoyed preparing his birthday treat for his friends.