The British bombing of Caen beginning on D-Day in particular was stupid, counter-productive and above all very close to a war crime.
It was only after five years in the army, when I was having to do a very boring job in a very boring place, that I thought: ‘Why not try writing a novel?’ partly out of youthful arrogance and partly because there had been a long line of writers in my mother’s family.
I can’t envisage stopping writing.
I just write the sort of book that I would enjoy reading myself, a book that is both scholarly and recreates the experience of people at that time.
The majority of soldiers and officers of the Soviet Army and the allied armies treated the local population humanely.
I am not someone who believes I am going to find a historical scoop.
I joined the Army in 1965 and served with the 11th Hussars, which I loved. The regiment was so relaxed – a salute was more like a friendly wave.
Go, forget me – why should sorrow, O’er that brow a shadow fling? Go, forget me – and tomorrow, brightly smile and sweetly sing. Smile – though I shall not be near thee; Sing – though I shall never hear thee.
A woman is more beautiful than the world in which I live; and so I close my eyes.
I was in Estonia when a professor asked me if I was aware that making any criticism of the Red Army during the war was now an imprisonable offence. I was quite shaken.