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& Bullets

Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.


With reviews of books that cover these topics


Buy it here

I haven’t previously reviewed an e-book, but the author is a friend, so I have made an exception. Just as well really, as Clare is not a woman one would want to cross!


AMMM is the book of the blog of the same name. Most blogs, mine included,  are topical and to a degree reactive, so I am not sure they are therefore the natural raw material for a book.  However Clare’s blog has certain recurring themes, and which therefore provide some sort of thread for this slim e-volume.


The main theme is the lot of the 21st century mother with young children, who is trying also to sustain a career. The subsidiary theme is the increased aggravation caused by one’s husband having a career in the military. And Hagar, for that is his nom de plume (de sa femme) has no ordinary career. He is a Wokka Jockey – a Chinook pilot, moreover one who does plenty of SF work.  Whilst the Chinook force need no one else to blow their trumpet (given the tone of this book that is perhaps an unfortunate turn of phrase!),  for those who do not know, they work exceedingly hard by the standards of today’s RAF. Whilst fast jet jockeys struggle to maintain currency, except when they are conducting short skirmishes like the Libyan escapade, or when on deployments, the Wokka men have been doing very frequent tours in Afghan. So separation from their families is frequent.


Clare relishes living life to the max, and the book appears to hold little back. On occasion the provocation is overt. So this is perhaps not one to buy for your Great Aunt Maude’s Christmas stocking (assuming she is sufficiently progressive to own an e-reader!).  There is a liberal sprinkling of fruit in the vocabulary – Viz readers will feel at home. Clare’s children being of that age,  there are plentiful references to bodily functions. As an avowed feminist, her stance on issues is predictable, and her book will no doubt appeal a lot more to a female audience.  Risking the wrath of the sisterhood, I can sympathise with Hagar if he breathes a sigh of relief (albeit  muted with much sadness) every time he closes the garden gate ahead of several weeks at Bastion.


Clare has spent much of her career in and around the offshore sailing world, and clearly relishes the company of alpha males (with all its masochistic implications). Hagar fits that mould. As a much overblown book of a few years back was entitled, Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus. And it is perhaps worth remembering that Mars was the God of War.


The book alludes to an extraordinary escalation in tension within the household (the reader can do her own research), which helps to explain why much of the prose is underwritten with taut emotions. Macnaughton wears her heart on her sleeve, writes with vim (and the odd dose of vitriol when needed), and the book will resonate with sisters enduring their own agonies in keeping a household together with scant help from a male.  

A Modern Military Mother

Clare Macnaughton, 2013

chionook shawbury
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