THE THOUSAND YEARS' WAR
In the 1950s I was a small boy. My father was in the navy, so I lived in Plymouth and Malta. Bomb sites - the rubble of buildings destroyed by bombs - were everywhere. My parents had lived through the war, and both my grandfathers were killed at sea, but I never really thought much about it. You don't, when you're a child, unless you have to live through it. The time before you were born is all but meaninglessly remote. You cannot readily imagine your house destroyed, your whole village burned, no food to eat, no shelter, your parents dead, your twelve-year-old sister raped, her arm broken with the bone protruding through the skin, your baby brother too weak to cry as he dies from starvation and cold. It is as well that you cannot. But this is what war is like.