Books: Derring-Documentary

THE GUNS OF NAVARONE (320 pp.)—Alistair MacLean—Doubleday ($3.95).

Early in World War II a character called Alistair Digby-Vane-Trumpington (in Evelyn Waugh's Put Out More Flags) asked his wife if she would mind if he joined the Commandos: "They have special knives and Tommy guns and knuckle-dusters; they wear rope-soled shoes."

"Bless you," said Sonia.

"They carry rope ladders round their waists and files sewn in the seams of their coats to escape with. D'you mind very much if I accept?"

"No darling. I couldn't keep you from the rope ladder. Not from the rope ladder I couldn't. I see that."

Like Digby-Vane-Trumpington, many writers cannot...

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