Read 1923 a memoir lies and testaments by Harry Leslie Smith Online

1923-a-memoir-lies-and-testaments

To say that Harry Smith was born under an unlucky star would be an understatement. Born in England in 1923, Smith chronicles the tragic story of his early life in this first volume of his memoirs. He presents his family’s early history—their misfortunes and their experiences of enduring betrayal, inhumane poverty, infidelity, and abandonment. 1923: A Memoir presents the stTo say that Harry Smith was born under an unlucky star would be an understatement. Born in England in 1923, Smith chronicles the tragic story of his early life in this first volume of his memoirs. He presents his family’s early history—their misfortunes and their experiences of enduring betrayal, inhumane poverty, infidelity, and abandonment. 1923: A Memoir presents the story of a life lyrically described, capturing a time both before and during World War II when personal survival was dependent upon luck and guile. During this time, failure insured either a trip to the workhouse or burial in a common grave. Brutally honest, Smith’s story plummets to the depths of tragedy and flies up to the summit of mirth and wonder, portraying real people in an uncompromising, unflinching voice. 1923: A Memoir tells of a time and place when life, full of raw emotion, was never so real....

Title : 1923 a memoir lies and testaments
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 13011075
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

1923 a memoir lies and testaments Reviews

  • M.T. McGuire
    2019-05-17 18:02

    I downloaded this book because I like history and because I've run into the author on the Amazon forums on occasion and he's a lovely chap. Despite the very British nature of this story it is published by an American publisher. This means it has a few strange american quirks which jump out at you - more on that later. Otherwise, the standard of presentation is good. I spotted a couple of typos but nothing that would annoy me. First I should say that I am really impressed by the writing. It's lyrical and the voice of the character/writer is strong. I like that someone is attempting to write about the past the way it actually was; with rose tinted specs kept firmly in the box. It's an eye opener and it's a window on a world that was, harsh, unfair and which is thankfully gone, for the most part - at least in this country. It makes good points, too, that education is a privilege for starters; something that's worth remembering in an era of degrees for all when I can imagine it's easy for kids to see it as more of a chore. The book is about a very hard life but the author never goes for competition hardship, so to speak. So, if you are thinking of reading this book, then yes, I would recommend it. There is no doubt it's good. However I would be lying if I said I was enjoying it. My relationship is definitely love/hate and I'm not sure if I will be able to finish it. It's interesting, compelling and as I've said, the standard of the writing is excellent and I find myself sympathising more with the central character as it progresses and it was worth perservering.However, the Americanisms grate. Normally they don't but normally I'm reading American books by American authors. I found it strange to find someone, in a British autobiography, speaking in the vernacular of another country about mine. So for example at one point he told his sister he was 'pissed' in the sense that he was annoyed rather than drunk. I'm 43 and I've yet to hear that done by one of my fellow countrymen. It also feels strange when a Yorkshireman talking about his 'pants' turns out to be referring to his actual trousers rather than the things underneath. Other odd stuff; his mother went into labor and of course she was his Mom and not his Mum. All of that felt totally weird. In the book's credit that is an indication of how well the writer puts the Britishness and Yorkshireness of his personality across. I just wish there was a UK spelled UK version because while I don't usually notice the US/UK gap it does seem to matter here. Finally, there was a description of Epping Forest and Chigwell as being in Sussex. I'm from Sussex and I promise you, they're not there. They're in Essex. [edited Jan 2012 to add: this has been corrected in the latest edition]The narrator is very harsh in some places especially about his Mum. although I completely understood his attitude although I found I could sympathise with her, too, even if I could not like her very much. I did share the author's sense of social injustice at the position his family ended up in and the hardships they had to go through. The book is very amusing in parts and all of the opinions expressed are honest and forthright. Forthright is great but it is a two edged sword. I liked it mostly but there were a couple of sweeping generalisations about the south which had me scratching my head a bit. Then again, I suppose, for the last several hundred years, when people have made money, they've moved nearer to London and the City and yes, I appreciate that in Sussex, at least, while we've been blessed with some we've been lumbered with a good many others. So all in all recommended but it loses a couple of stars for the bits where the Americanisms grate and because, for me, it didn't quite connect. I would definitely have a look at more books by this author though.

  • Kati Bowditch
    2019-05-21 18:45

    This was a Goodreads First Reader free book. Sadly, I had written out a review and it's kinda disappeared sooooo... here we go again. I loved this book, the stark reality of poverty in the 20' and beyond was brought to life by real and honest portrayals of how an adult looking back sees his parents. The struggle of day to day life and the whispers and history that wove into how they found themselves barely eking out an existence was just a raw and pure look back at how life could be, and was. The soft lifting out of the extreme's as they grew up and reached for their escapes simply drew me in and I have since reread it just to watch them grow out of that hard scrabble beginning. I look forward to the second installment.

  • Donna
    2019-05-05 14:46

    This is my favourite genre of book so I was really pleased when this one was chosen for our 'read of the month' in our book club. It took me a little while to get into it but once I had I found it really interesting. The brutally honest account of Harry's life being brought up in poverty and deprivation was hard to read in places, extremely poignant and inspiring. I have thought about events in the book since I finished reading it and am looking forward to reading the next one.

  • Melanie Robertson-King
    2019-05-16 18:40

    Having never read a memoir, I wasn't sure what to expect. But from the moment I got involved with loveahappyending.com and selected my authors, I knew I would be a fan of the genre - at least this particular author's account of his early years.Just from the brief blurbs on the loveahappyending.com/harry-leslie-smith/ author page, there was a parallel resonance between Harry's life and my father's, although comparing the two, my father's life wasn't nearly so tragic and poverty-stricken. In their later years, they both fought in Europe during WWII.It must have been extremely painful for Harry to be able to put his childhood on paper for all to see yet cathartic at the same time.It's hard to imagine the type of childhood Harry experienced in 1920s and 1930s England. In that period, people did what that had to in order to survive, including digging through trash and stealing from others to obtain something to eat. His account of his father's years of working in the mines until he could no longer work below ground to being pensioned off and shamed out of the family home because of the actions of his mother, who only did what she had to in order to ensure their survival (such as it was).Even Harry's mates and later his RAF comrades had no idea what he had been through as a child, ***spoiler here*** although I suspected it would tumble out when he pulled his rifle on a fellow serviceman. ***end spoiler***. Harry had invented a happy reasonaby normal family life for himself.Harry is quick to credit his older sister, Mary, for his survival. When she finally leaves home, he's devastated. They remain close but it's not the same. When he talks about corresponding with Mary after he's enlisted with the RAF, you can feel the hurt in his words as he knows they've drifted apart.Harry's keen wit and way with words make for an spell-binding rollercoaster ride of emotions from the lowest of low to the highest of high. He doesn't pull any punches and is brutally honest when reliving his experiences.1923: A Memoir is available in Hardcover for $19.22 CDN and Paperback for $15.30 CDN from amazon.ca - in Hardcover for $24.28 US, Paperback for $16.46 US and for the Kindle for $1.19 US from amazon.com and through amazon.co.uk inHardcover for £20.94, Paperback for £13.66 and for the Kindle for £0.83.There are two more chapters forthcoming in this series. 1947: A Place For The Heart To Kip and the final book, tentatively entitled 1953: Empress of Australia.After reading his first, I'll definitely be purchasing the next two.

  • Malcolm
    2019-05-13 19:00

    my review from http://thecurrentreader.comCreating a great memoir is a delicate matter. When relying so heavily on personal recollection, it is easy to mire the story in detail and bring the focus down to street level. The mark of a great memoir is to bring the sense of elevation, especially when the story told is one of sweeping historic events that framed one life. The selection of details and the areas of focus are the most important elements in the telling of a life, and these elements are also the most difficult portray effectively while still allowing freedom of imagination. Harry Leslie Smith’s elegiac and moving memoir, 1923: A Memoir: Lies and Testaments, is a sweeping narrative with startlingly accurate characterizations and dialogue. The reader is elevated to the best vantage point, and a new dimension is created to witness the writer’s life in its fullest scope.Mr. Smith’s life is told in this memoir from his birth in Bradford, England in 1923 until the end of the war in 1945. Born to a family of rapidly declining fortunes that lead to extreme poverty, Mr. Smith tells his tale of survival during a time of social upheaval and strife caused by the First World War. At times, his life story becomes almost unbearably grim, but it is mercifully buoyed by Mr. Smith’s deftness at keeping the momentum of the story at pace. The heartbreaking, steady parade of misfortunes that befall the author and his sister are hard to read, but never does the story become sentimental or maudlin. Dickensian in its description of daily survival, his tale is one of personal loyalties and sheer determination against great odds.The story continues to follow the author from his childhood through his early career, and on to his enlistment in the Royal Air Force. Again, in the recollections of his service in England and then of his time in occupied Germany, the story avoids cliché by remaining true to the events recalled, in addition to the personal feelings associated with those events. Throughout the second half of the book, I felt that the acceleration of events happening at the close of the war perfectly mirrored the fast pace of Mr. Smith’s life as another chapter of his life came to an end. My only complaint is that I wished that he had continued on to include his post-war life story as well. This is a book that succeeds in two ways with ease, both as a personal memoir of a life lived in a volatile age and as a record of that age for all time.

  • Grace
    2019-05-17 18:08

    This review originally appeared on my book review blog Feeding My Book Addiction: http://feedingmybookaddiction.blogspo...Smith's coming of age memoir takes readers on a journey of poverty and heartbreak that is the author's childhood and young adulthood growing up between the first and second world wars. Smith stays true to himself and his inner voice as he recounts the events of his early life. The narrative flow develops and ages, if you will, as he does throughout the book. It's incredibly powerful to see a precocious child harden under his circumstances and age into an adult set on escaping the ever looming workhouse and empty stomach that seemed to define his childhood. This is one of those memoirs that will stay with you long after you finish reading it because of the author's ability to put his life onto the page without holding back or sugarcoating the details. He digs deep into the infidelity of his mother, the shunning of his father, and the relationship he has with his sister that falls apart once they survived childhood and struck out on their own. I heard the sounds of dishes shattering on the kitchen floor and felt the weight of Smith's mother as he and his sister dragged her drunken and limp body from the curb into the house after a night spent at the bar. While reading, I did notice a few typographical and grammatical errors; however, Smith's life story was so powerful that I registered the errors and kept right on reading. Typically, typos, misspellings, and other grammatical mistakes jar me from the narrative and make me lose credibility in the author, but not in this case. I kept on reading, immersed in Smith's poignant and heartbreaking life to see if and how he would overcome every obstacle imaginable for a child. 1923: A Memoir is a compelling read that I would recommend to memoir and history lovers alike.

  • Nikki Bywater
    2019-05-08 22:39

    In the first volume of Harry Leslie Smith’s memoir, we learn a first account about what it was like growing up in Yorkshire, England in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Born into poverty and the depression after the First World War in 1923, Harry does not get the best start in life. Harry and his father become distant and Harry takes his first job at only eight years old to help support the family. Not only is the family so deep in poverty but Harry is also starved of love and affection from his mother and neglected. Abandoned by his father Harry only companion is his older sister Mary, they dream of escaping their terrible lifestyle and for a better life.The second part of the memoir Harry tells us about life in the RAF and about World War II Joining the RAF takes Harry away from Yorkshire and he shares his experiences about life at war and his life in the RAF. From Barnsley, Bradford and Halifax to Hamburg this is a fascinating memoir. It is an honest account of what life was like for Harry. If like me you are interested in social history then this book is an interesting read. The book covers from Harry’s birth to him becoming a young man serving with the RAF. The book ends with you wanting to know what happens next and I can’t wait to read the next volume to find out what does happen next, and that hopefully things improve from the tragic life Harry has had so far.

  • Valentina
    2019-05-04 15:39

    It is always interesting to see eras, such as World War II, through the eyes of one single individual. This is a well written memoir that follows the author’s life through his difficult childhood in the Great Depression, showing how his mother slowly began to give up her ideals to put food on the table for her children, while Harry turned to library books for solace.The writing is simple and to the point, making the events the most important aspect. Sometimes turning brutally stark, the writing tears away until the truth of those years shines through. There are not many books out there that show the life of a pilot during those years, and I was surprised at how moving many of the sections were. There was no real dull moment in the book’s entirety, which is something to compliment the author about. Writing a memoir is not an easy matter, there is always the danger of maudlin scenes or descriptive minutia that might mean a lot for the author but not for the reader, so this is one of those books that should be read, not only for the incredible life resting in its pages, but for the skill with which it was handled. I can easily recommend it to lovers of memoirs and of history.

  • KyBunnies
    2019-04-27 15:07

    This book was a goodreads.com first read contest win.While reading memoirs is not really my thing. I really did like this book. The author give's insight to something a younger person does not know anything about. Just thinking that my parents and/or grandparents had to go though something like this makes me love and respect them more.The author talks about how he lived through a depression and WWII. One or the other is important in its self but to go through both is something amazing. There are so few people willing to talk let alone write a book about events and happens during this tragic time. The author portrays the events like they happened yesterday.While I enjoyed this book someone else might not like it. Please remember that the events in this book are events that actually happened and not just something that the author made up. This is a good read for the current generation to help them understand what grandparents and even great grandparents suffered and went through with out cellphones, internet and sometimes even the basic items to get through everyday life.the bunnies and I give this book 4-Carrots.

  • Terry Tyler
    2019-05-15 14:47

    This memoir of Harry Smith's early life in the poverty-stricken north of England was gripping, from the start - a short history of his family and how he came to be born into the situation he did - to the end, which was an account of the war from an average Joe's point of view.I liked the early part best - it's so hard to believe that such hardship could have existed in this country, in the the last century, not so many years before I was born. I found the perceived difference between the starving north and the wealthy south most interesting, too. I kept being amazed over and over again that so many people had to live in the way they did, before the Welfare State. I know we all know about such things because we've been told about them, but to read someone's personal account of such a life brings it homes much more soundly.I was engrossed in this book and read it very quickly - when the Kindle started saying '92%', and upwards, I was thinking, no, no, I want to read more! Better go and buy the next one, then....Highly recommended, fascinating.

  • Harry Smith
    2019-04-28 15:38

    To say that Harry Smith was born under an unlucky star would be an understatement. Born in England in 1923, Smith chronicles the tragic story of his early life in this first volume of his memoirs. He presents his family's early history-their misfortunes and their experiences of enduring betrayal, inhumane poverty, infidelity, and abandonment.1923: A Memoir presents the story of a life lyrically described, capturing a time both before and during World War II when personal survival was dependent upon luck and guile. During this time, failure insured either a trip to the workhouse or burial in a common grave. Brutally honest, Smith's story plummets to the depths of tragedy and flies up to the summit of mirth and wonder, portraying real people in an uncompromising, unflinching voice.1923: A Memoir tells of a time and place when life, full of raw emotion, was never so real.

  • Desiree reilly
    2019-05-26 18:38

    i read this book today and it a great e book it will tell you that the war and the things it to the people in the era he had to suffer and then he become a man at 14 and had to help with money to come and go and the erathey had to live were they could his mom would live with who ever and sheended up 2 boy not by her husband by other they lived in house that were not meant to live in so harry and his one sister would live there life harry in listed in the milatary and served is time he stayed in Germany because the place were he was form did not have any work or food he wrote about what he gone through his live and i really in joyed the book and would recomemend to all

  • Karen (Kew)
    2019-05-03 22:46

    This makes uncomfortable but compelling reading. The author grew up in grinding poverty and appalling conditions but with a determination to better himself. I actually found this an inspiring read in the end. Although I was shocked and horrified to read what this young boy and his siblings had to put up with, I admired his determination to better himself by finding escape in reading. His childhood was dreadful and his youth in the RAF tedious. Although bitterness shows through in his writing at times; it is perfectly natural given the circumstances but this is not a wallow in self pity. I found the ending very optimistic and hope to read the next installment of his memoirs soon!

  • Tim
    2019-05-17 18:02

    Harry Smith has shared with the reader a very personal and poignant story of a time that we often want to recall as "the good old days." And they aren't always good old days when one considers the reality. Harry is a solid storyteller and will allow you to experience a different time through different eyes. If you're a history buff or you simply like hearing stories about what's important, the people, then you owe it to yourself to read this exceptional book.

  • Brian Deegan
    2019-05-20 20:01

    I am not a fan of Non-Fiction, normally I like books I can escape into! but as it was a book of the month I was forced, kicking and screaming to read it. I struggled for the first 15% but then I found it was getting more and more interesting and in the end I wanted to know more about Mr Smiths interesting life. Don't tell anybody but I have even added the next book to my wish list.

  • Judie
    2019-04-28 19:02

    This memoir truly touched me. Harry you're an extraordinary man to have started life in such proverty and neglect and now at 87 still enjoying your loving family. I read the book in one day. I couldn't put it down and will read your other books as well.I received this books with complients from Goodreads First Reads for my honest review.

  • Pauline Barclay
    2019-05-05 22:57

    1923: A Memoir is a beautiful read. A true story set during the great depression and the second World War. If you enjoy social history, you will love this book. I look forward to reading the next book from Harry Leslie Smith.

  • Martha
    2019-05-26 19:05

    This was a hard book to read, must have been hard to write and incredibly hard to live through. I grew up very poor so can identify with parts of his early life. His is an amazing story and I look forward to reading his next book.

  • David Makinson
    2019-05-07 20:55

    A wonderful, poignant, honest memoir - heart rending at times, humourous at others but with an underlying resiliance from the author in telling his own story that I found both compelling and admirable.If you like books about 'real' people then you should, in my humble opinion, read this one.

  • Katharine
    2019-05-04 22:00

    An honest, raw, and interesting portrait of those people who are rarely remembered by history, the working poor. I truly hope Harry found happiness after the war.

  • Cynthia L'Hirondelle
    2019-05-18 14:50

    Very well written, fast moving social history that reminds of Angela's Ashes.

  • Sarah
    2019-05-21 19:01

    I won a free copy of this book through the Goodreads first-reads program. I'll update when I'm done reading it. :)

  • Jocco
    2019-04-30 20:39

    As ever, Harry Leslie Smith proves himself a beautiful writer & a beautiful soul. One of my heroes.

  • Mary
    2019-05-03 17:42

    1923: A Memoir by Harry Leslie SmithThe author, Harry Smith, describes his birth as coming into the world with no fanfare, no glad-handing in February 1923. He was born into poverty, abuse, and alcoholism during the Great Depression in England. The matriarch in the family, Lillian, had abandoned Harry’s father, Albert, to put food on the table. She fled numerous places called home, and accepted another man only to feed her kids. Lillian was hardly the loving mother; however, Harry did love her as he did his father. But not for Harry’s sister, Mary, he never would have survived. She provided the emotional and physical stability for Harry even though she was only three years older. Harry discovered a library where books offered him much solace in his chaotic life. He read and dreamed of escaping the place he called home. He took a bicycle ride to York and after observing a beautiful medieval cathedral he experienced an epiphany; he would someday escape from King Cross, Halifax, and Yorkshire. There was another world out there and Harry would find it.Harry did see more of the world, but not always in a good way. He joined the Royal Air Force during WWII. He experienced the horrors of war that every man and woman in the service should never have to experience. Harry tells his stories of home and war like a good novel. He describes his family and war buddies as if we were family and kin. There are many books written about WWII and The Great Depression, however written in a memoir creates a different read. If not for the true to life language of Harry’s experiences, this story could be on school book shelves for students studying history. I am hoping for a sequel as the ending leaves the reader intrigued. Glad you survived, Harry, to write this memoir. Hope to read more about you and Elfriede.

  • Nikki Bywater
    2019-05-22 22:50

    In the first volume of Harry Leslie Smith’s memoir, we learn a first account about what it was like growing up in Yorkshire, England in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Born into poverty and the depression after the First World War in 1923, Harry does not get the best start in life. Harry and his father become distant and Harry takes his first job at only eight years old to help support the family. Not only is the family so deep in poverty but Harry is also starved of love and affection from his mother and neglected. Abandoned by his father Harry only companion is his older sister Mary, they dream of escaping their terrible lifestyle and for a better life.The second part of the memoir Harry tells us about life in the RAF and about World War II Joining the RAF takes Harry away from Yorkshire and he shares his experiences about life at war and his life in the RAF. From Barnsley, Bradford and Halifax to Hamburg this is a fascinating memoir. It is an honest account of what life was like for Harry. If like me you are interested in social history then this book is an interesting read. The book covers from Harry’s birth to him becoming a young man serving with the RAF. The book ends with you wanting to know what happens next and I can’t wait to read the next volume to find out what does happen next, and that hopefully things improve from the tragic life Harry has had so far.

  • KyBunnies
    2019-05-01 20:02

    This book was a goodreads.com first read contest win. While reading memoirs is not really my thing. I really did like this book. The author give's insight to something a younger person does not know anything about. Just thinking that my parents and/or grandparents had to go though something like this makes me love and respect them more. The author talks about how he lived through a depression and WWII. One or the other is important in its self but to go through both is something amazing. There are so few people willing to talk let alone write a book about events and happens during this tragic time. The author portrays the events like they happened yesterday. While I enjoyed this book someone else might not like it. Please remember that the events in this book are events that actually happened and not just something that the author made up. This is a good read for the current generation to help them understand what grandparents and even great grandparents suffered and went through with out cellphones, internet and sometimes even the basic items to get through everyday life.

  • Wendy
    2019-05-24 23:05

    I'm not a great fan of non fiction but this was chosen by a little online book group I belong to as their April read so I had to give it a go. I struggled with the start of the book, it didn't really flow and I wasn't captured however I'm really glad I read on through to the end as I gained some sympathy and understanding for Harry and his life. I've bought the next installment and looking forward to reading it. My grandparents were born at the start of the first world war so they must have been of a fairly similar age so interesting to hear about social conditions at the time and the tales of RAF disorganisation were also enlightening

  • Miriam Wakerly
    2019-04-25 20:07

    I found this Memoir very touching indeed. Written by an elderly man, the recall of detail is fascinating, especially of his early life and way he conveys to the reader such dire poverty. I love books that are about social change and this certainly posed all kinds of questions about society in the first half of the last century. It needs a bit of polishing, but this really did not detract at all, in fact it seemed to add to the authenticity and the voice from the heart, that is Harry's. For me the book matured as the child grew into the man who fought for his country. Loved it.

  • Rita
    2019-05-12 17:49

    I had to stop reading this book because I didn't like it at all. I thought it would be more of an inspirational - 'I had a hard life but got over it' but this book is full of resentment.Sorry Harry that you went to the trouble of sending it to me.If anyone else on Goodreads would like it then contact me.

  • Hannah Tantillo
    2019-05-03 15:51

    I was hooked on this story from the beginning. I feel so lucky in my life after reading the story of Harry's childhood and the hardships he and his family suffered. This was a great read and really illustrates life in England in the time period between the two World Wars.