> Skip to content
Play sample
  • Published: 14 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9781804940655
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $30.00

Great-Uncle Harry

A Tale of War and Empire




Michael Palin recreates the extraordinary life and tragic death of a First World War soldier - his great-uncle Harry.

'I cannot remember the last time I read a book so immediately absorbing and affecting. Michael Palin has never been better – which is, of course, saying a great deal.' BILL BRYSON
__________________________________

From the time, many years ago, when Michael Palin first heard that his grandfather had a brother, Harry, he was determined to find out more about him.

The quest that followed involved hundreds of hours of painstaking detective work. Michael dug out every bit of family gossip and correspondence he could. He studied every relevant official document. He tracked down what remained of his great-uncle Harry's diaries and letters, and pored over photographs of First World War battle scenes to see whether Harry appeared in any of them. He walked the route Harry took on that fatal, final day of his life amid the mud of northern France. And as he did so, a life that had previously existed in the shadows was revealed to him.

Great-Uncle Harry is an utterly compelling account of an ordinary man who led an extraordinary life. A blend of biography, history, travelogue and personal memoir this is Michael Palin at his very finest.

'An important historical record and a well-paced story in its own right, Great-Uncle Harry is also much more than that: a tremendous act of love.' Guardian

  • Published: 14 May 2024
  • ISBN: 9781804940655
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 336
  • RRP: $30.00

About the author

Michael Palin

Michael Palin has written and starred in numerous TV programmes and films, from Monty Python and Ripping Yarns to The Missionary and The Death of Stalin. He has also made several much-acclaimed travel documentaries, his journeys taking him to the North and South Poles, the Sahara Desert, the Himalayas, Eastern Europe and Brazil. His books include accounts of his journeys, novels (Hemingway’s Chair and The Truth) and several volumes of diaries. From 2009 to 2012 he was president of the Royal Geographical Society. He received a BAFTA fellowship in 2013, and a knighthood in the 2019 New Year Honours list. He lives in London.

Also by Michael Palin

See all

Praise for Great-Uncle Harry

Palin has packed in an astonishing amount of detective work here, digging through work records, photographs and different people’s diaries. Harry might have been what his great nephew calls "a very small fish in a very big war", but with this book he has finally been given a voice. An important historical record and a well-paced story in its own right, Great-Uncle Harry is also much more than that: a tremendous act of love.

Guardian