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  Book review

An Element of Luck

Michael Crouch

The Radcliffe Press

Michael Crouch’s book is a very personal odyssey that covers most of his working life, but is ninety per cent about the nine years he spent as a political officer in almost every corner of south Yemen.

Starting light-heartedly and entertainingly, the book develops later on into an emotional and very moving account of the despairing final days of the British in Aden and more particularly, the British Residency in Mukalla. It is well written and easily readable. Michael Crouch is extremely critical both of government policies and of many of his colleagues, often with good reason, but one does sometimes get the feeling that everybody was out of step except the author.

As a personal picture of a dramatic and latterly traumatic piece of history, it is extremely vivid and describes very well the heights and depths of spirit to which that strange and all absorbing occupation exposed one.

JAMES NASH, November 1994