Bowlby, Alex 1924–

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BOWLBY, Alex 1924–

PERSONAL: Born 1924.

ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Orion House, 5 Upper St. Martin's Ln., London WC2H 9EA, England.

CAREER: Writer and editor. Military service: British armed forces, served in World War II with Royal Greenjackets; later served with 21st Special Air Service regiment.

WRITINGS:

Recollections of Rifleman Bowlby, Italy 1944 (memoir), Leo Cooper (London, England), 1969.

(Editor) R. L. Crimp, The Diary of a Desert Rat (memoir), Leo Cooper (London, England), 1971.

Order of the Day (novella), Leo Cooper (London, England), 1974.

Roman Candle (novel), Weidenfeld and Nicolson (London, England), 1983.

Countdown to Cassino: The Battle of Mignano Gap, 1943 (history), Leo Cooper (London, England), 1995.

SIDELIGHTS: Editor and author Alex Bowlby spent much of his early career serving in the British Armed Forces, first as a member of the Royal Greenjackets during World War II and then as a member of the 21st Special Air Service regiment. He later drew on his military experiences to write a number of books, including a memoir and a novel. Bowlby also edited the memoirs of another British World War II soldier in The Diary of a Desert Rat.

Bowlby's first literary contribution was the 1969 memoir Recollections of Rifleman Bowlby, Italy 1944. In this work he documents the time he spent with the Royal Greenjackets in North Africa and Italy. Bowlby's battalion struggled in Italy when their specialized role was diminished and they were used as regular infantrymen. In that position, the battalion experienced many defeats and morale plummeted. Bowlby writes about the daily stress and struggle of that time from an intimate perspective that only a participant can provide.

In 1995, Bowlby published Countdown to Cassino: The Battle of Mignano Gap, 1943. The author tells the story of the overlooked but pivotal and grisly World War II battle of Mignano Gap in Italy. Through interviews with the battle's veterans, he interweaves first-person accounts of the fighting with a detailed overview of the campaign history. In fact, he explains the battle from both Allied and German perspectives, keeping an objective point of view. Critics reacted positively to Bowlby's efforts, in particular his unbiased perspective. "It is a grim story, but one in which Bowlby, unlike far too many historians of this and other campaigns, does not look for scapegoats," observed Times Literary Supplement contributor Michael Howard.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Bowlby, Alex, Recollections of Rifleman Bowlby, Italy 1944, Leo Cooper (London, England), 1969.

PERIODICALS

Times Literary Supplement, September 8, 1995, Michael Howard, review of Countdown to Cassino: The Battle of Mignano Gap, 1943, p. 26.

ONLINE

Orion Publishing Group Web site, http://www.orionbooks.co.uk/ (April 19, 2005), "Alex Bowlby."