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Darkly funny, shockingly honest, Brothers in Arms is an unforgettable account of the brutal reality of war – every scary, exciting moment – and the bonds of friendship that can never be destroyed.
‘If you could choose which two limbs got blown off, what would you go for?’ Danny said. ‘Your arms or your legs?’
In July 2009, Geraint (Gez) Jones was sitting in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan with the rest of The Firm – Danny, Jay, Toby and Jake, his four closest friends, all junior NCOs and combat-hardened infantrymen. Thanks to the mangled remains of a Jackal vehicle left tactlessly outside their tent, IEDs were never far from their mind. Within days they’d be on the ground in Musa Qala with the rest of 3 Platoon – a mixed bunch of men Gez would die for.
As they fight furiously, are pushed to their limits, hemmed in by IEDs and hampered by the chain of command, Gez starts to wonder what is the point of it all. The bombs they uncover on patrol, on their stomachs brushing the sand away, are replaced the next day. Firefights are a momentary victory in a war they can see is unwinnable. Gez is a warrior – he wants more than this. But then death and injury start to take their toll on The Firm, leaving Gez with PTSD and a new battle just beginning.
'An adrenalin-fuelled, gritty story of heroism on the frontline in Afghanistan' Andy McNab
The rounds were single shot from the same two enemy positions, trying to pick me off. They were kicking up the dirt around me. Then all hell broke loose as the gunship's Gatling vomited ammo right over my head. The sound was deafening. It was now or never. I got up and ran.
A captain in 29 Commando, Johnny Mercer served in the army for twelve years. On his third tour of Afghanistan he was a Joint Fires Controller, with the pressurized job of bringing down artillery and air strikes in close proximity to his own troops. Based in an area of northern Helmand that was riddled with Taliban leaders, he walked into danger with every patrol, determined to protect them. Then one morning, in brutal close quarter combat, everything changed . . .
In We Were Warriors Johnny takes us from his commando training to the heat, blood and chaos of battle. With brutal honesty, he describes what it is like to risk your life every day, pushing through the fear that follows watching your friends die. He took the fight back to the enemy with a relentless efficiency that came at a high personal cost. Back in the UK, seeing the inadequate care available for veterans and their families, he was inspired to run for Parliament in the hope he could improve their plight. Unflinching, action-packed and laced with wry humour, We Were Warriors is a compelling read.
The Korean War was a major event in American history. It marked an abrupt end to the euphoria Americans felt in the wake of victory in World War II and turned out to be the harbinger of disaster in Vietnam a decade later.
Though three years of brutal fighting resulted in millions of casualties, the final truce line of 1953 corresponded almost exactly to the positions the opponents held when the fighting began. Back home, the returning veterans met with little interest in or appreciation of what they had endured. Consequently, literary responses to the Korean War did not find an eager readership. Few people, it seemed, wanted to read about what they perceived as a backwater war that possessed neither grand scale nor apparent nobility, a war that ended not with a bang, but a whimper.
Yet an important literature has come out of the Korean War. As we mark the fiftieth anniversary of the war, these writings are well worth our attention. Many of the twelve stories and fifty poems assembled in Retrieving Bones have long been out of print and are almost impossible to find in any other source. The editors have enhanced this collection by providing maps, a chronology of the Korean War, and annotated lists of novels, works of nonfiction, and films. In a detailed introduction, Ehrhart and Jason discuss the milestones of the Korean War and place each fiction writer and poet represented into historical and literary contexts.
Among the writers and poets are
- James Lee Burke
- Eugene Burdick
- William Chamberlain
- Rolando Hinojosa
- Reg Saner
- Vern Sneider
- Stanford Whitmore
- Keith Wilson
In 1942, with a black-market chicken under his arm, Leo Marks left his father's famous bookshop, 84 Charing Cross Road, and went to war. He was twenty-two and a cryptopgraher of genius. In Between Silk and Cyanide, his critically acclaimed account of his time in SOE, Marks tells how he revolutionised the code-making techniques of the Allies, trained some of the most famous agents dropped into France including Violette Szabo and 'the White Rabbit', and why he wrote haunting verse including his 'The Life that I have' poem. He reveals for the first time the disastrous dimensions of the code war between SOE and the Germans in Holland; how the Germans were fooled into thinking a Secret Army was operating in the Fatherland itself, and how and why he broke General de Gaulle's secret code. Both thrilling and poignant, Marks's book is truly one of the last great Second World War memoirs.
Vietnam. November 1965. 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, are dropped by helicopter into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley and immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. Three days later, only two and a half miles away, a sister battalion is chopped to pieces in a similarly brutal manner. Together, these actions at the landing zones X-Ray and Albany constitute one of the most savage and significant battles of the Vietnam War and set the tone of the conflict to come.
Now a major motion picture starring Mel Gibson
Rupert Wieloch has seen more than his share of front-line military action, having served as a platoon commander during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, before leading a squadron during the Gulf War in 1990. Deploying to Bosnia with the United Nations, his troops became renowned by the press as "Saviours of the Children" after he planned and executed the largest defensive battle fought by a Commonwealth combat force for 20 years. Having worked as a spokesperson for the Army Board, Wieloch's role moved to planning and strategy at the highest level. He played a key role in Operation Veritas, the UK's response to 9/11, as part of the team which developed the UK's campaign against international terrorism. With this wealth of experience, he went on to command the British contingent in the NATO mission to Iraq and later to serve as the Senior British Military Commander in Libya following the fall of Gaddafi. As the author puts it: "I hope this book opens eyes to a few unheralded escapades and adds colour to some historic events".
Made into the award-winning film 'Schindler's List'. In the shadow of Auschwitz, a flamboyant German industrialist grew into a living legend to the Jews of Cracow. He was a womaniser, a heavy drinker and a bon viveur, but to them he became a saviour. This is the extraordinary story of Oskar Schindler, who risked his life to protect Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland and who was transformed by the war into a man with a mission, a compassionate angel of mercy.
A riveting story of American fighting men, Outlaw Platoon is Lieutenant Sean Parnell's stunning personal account of the legendary U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division's heroic stand in the mountains of Afghanistan. Acclaimed for its vivid, poignant, and honest recreation of sixteen brutal months of nearly continuous battle in the deadly Hindu Kesh, Outlaw Platoon is a Band of Brothers or We Were Soldiers Once and Young for the early 21st century-an action-packed, highly emotional true story of enormous sacrifice and bravery. A magnificent account of heroes, renegades, infidels, and brothers, it stands with Sebastian Junger's War as one of the most important books to yet emerge from the heat, smoke, and fire of America's War in Afghanistan.
The extraordinary stories of ten fighter pilots, told in their very own words during the Second World War.
First published by Collins in 1942, this utterly compelling collection of first-hand accounts of ten fighter pilots experiences at the helm of the Spitfires of 66 Squadron paints one of the most realistic depictions of the battle for the skies over wartime Europe.
Offering incredible personal insights into the wartime experience both in the air and on the ground the stories are told with unaffected zest, by men who were living in the constant presence of death.
Five of the original contributors were killed before the book was originally printed, including the books editors, Wing Commander Athol Forbes and Squadron Leader Hubert Allen. Jimmy Corbin, the last surviving contributor and author of the foreword, passed away in December 2012.
Written right in the middle of the war, in the pilots own words, Ten Fighter Pilots is a truly original and unique account of a terrifying time."
A brilliantly vivid Second World War memoir by one of 'the Few' Spitfire fighter pilots. Following the D-Day landings, Battle of Britain hero Tom Neil was assigned as an RAF liaison to an American fighter squadron. As the Allies pushed east, Neil commandeered an abandoned Spitfire as his own personal aeroplane. Erasing any evidence of its provenance and stripping it down to bare metal, it became the RAF's only silver Spitfire. Alongside his US comrades, he took the silver Spitfire into battle until, with the war's end, he was forced to make a difficult decision. Faced with too many questions about the mysterious rogue fighter, he contemplated increasingly desperate measures to offload it, including bailing out mid-Channel. He eventually left the Spitfire at Worthy Down, never to be seen again. THE SILVER SPITFIRE is the first-hand, gripping story of Neil's heroic experience as an RAF fighter pilot and his reminiscences with his very own personal Spitfire.
In the last days of the Vietnam War, more than 130,000 South Vietnamese were saved from their otherwise dire fate by the heroic acts of ordinary Americans. This groundbreaking account by New York Times-bestselling author Thurston Clarke uncovers a previously untold story of bravery and honour.
1973. US participation in the Vietnam War ends. As troops withdraw, President Nixon pledges to assist the South in the event of invasion by the North.
1975. North Vietnam begins a full-scale assault on the South. Congress does nothing. Hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese face execution or life in concentration camps. An iconic photograph is taken of the Fall of Saigon, depicting desperate Vietnamese people scrambling to board a helicopter evacuating the last of the American soldiers. It is an image of US failure and shame. Or is it?
In Honourable Exit, Clarke revisits the last days of the Vietnam War to uncover the previously untold story of a life-saving mass evacuation. During those final days, a number of Americans ― diplomats, businessmen, soldiers, missionaries, contractors, and spies ― risked their lives and disobeyed orders to help their translators, drivers, colleagues, neighbours, friends, and even perfect strangers to escape. By the time the last US helicopter left Vietnam on 30 April 1975, these heroic Americans had helped to spirit over 130,000 South Vietnamese to resettlement in the US and life as American citizens.
Groundbreaking, page-turning, and authoritative, Honourable Exit is a deeply moving history of Americans in one of their little-known finest hours.
An unforgettable memoir of growing up in Syria under al-Assad's regime, surviving a gas attack, and rallying worldwide support to break the siege of cities across the country, with a foreword by Janine di Giovanni Chosen for the Big Issue's Best Summer Non-fiction 2018 Born to Palestinian refugees, Kassem Eid grew up in the small town of Moadamiya on the outskirts of the ancient city of Damascus. The streets that he and his many siblings played on were perfumed with jasmine. A precocious child, he excelled at school, and had a natural gift for languages. But it didn't take long for Kassem to realise that he was treated differently at school because of his family's resistance to the brutal government regime. When Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father in 2000, hopes that he would ease its severity were swiftly crushed. When the 2011 Arab Spring protests in Syria were met with extreme violence, it was yet another blow - and as Kassem reached young adulthood, life in Syria became increasingly precarious, as the country spiralled into civil war. Then, on 21 August 2013, Kassem nearly died in a sarin gas attack that killed hundreds of civilians. Later that day, he would pick up a gun for the first time, to join the Free Syrian Army as they fought government forces. For Kassem, this marked the moment that he and his country changed forever. A searing account of oppression, war, survival and escape, My Country is both a brave and deeply felt memoir of one man's life, as well as a compelling indictment of a world that turned its face away as a nation fell apart.
A vivid social history of Europe, as the Nazi menace casts a shadow over the continent. The Rise of the Third Reich is a poignant and powerful portrait of the years 1939 to 1941, which witnessed the march towards the greatest manmade catastrophe the world has ever experienced. The narrative follows events from 3 September 1939, when Britain and France declared war on Germany, to Pearl Harbor and America's declaration of war in December 1941. It is told from the fresh perspective of expatriate Americans caught up in the exploding conflict. Uniquely, the book uses their contemporary accounts, to record a time when British and other nationalities were barred from Nazi-occupied territory, but US citizens could travel and report what they saw. They describe the foreboding, fear and suffering caused by the Nazi invasions. These were years of increasing calls for American intervention, as Britain faced its darkest days, and held off the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain, yet remained vulnerable. Meanwhile, European nations fell one after another, and Hitler's power extended from the Mediterranean to the Baltic. Acclaimed historian Robert Lyman brings together a wide range of encounters, conversations and memories. The individuals range across the social spectrum, from the great singer, dancer and activist Josephine Baker to young volunteers in the RAF, such as aces James Goodison, Art Donahue, and the wealthy playboy Billy Fiske - the first American volunteer in the RAF to die in action during the Battle of Britain. The story unfolds as the war drags the whole of Europe and a reluctant United States into the maelstrom.
** BBC RADIO 4 BOOK OF THE WEEK ** ** A SUNDAY TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR ** **Marie Colvin is the subject of a major biopic starring Rosamund Pike** 'A stunningly good biography' WILLIAM BOYD Marie Colvin was glamorous, hard-drinking, braver than the boys, with a troubled and rackety personal life. She reported from the most dangerous places in the world, going in further and staying longer than anyone else. Like her hero, the legendary reporter Martha Gellhorn, she sought to bear witness to the horrifying truths of war, to write `the first draft of history' and to shine a light on the suffering of ordinary people. Marie covered the major conflicts of our time: Israel and Palestine, Chechnya, East Timor, Sri Lanka - where she was hit by a grenade and lost sight in her left eye, resulting in her trademark eye-patch - Iraq and Afghanistan. Her anecdotes about encounters with dictators and presidents - including Colonel Gaddafi and Yasser Arafat, whom she knew well - were incomparable. She was much admired, and as famous for her wild parties as for the extraordinary lengths to which she went to tell the story, including being smuggled into Syria where she was killed in 2012. Written by fellow foreign correspondent Lindsey Hilsum, this is the story of the most daring war reporter of her time. Drawing on unpublished diaries and interviews with Marie's friends, family and colleagues, Hilsum conjures a fiercely compassionate, complex woman who was driven to an extraordinary life and tragic death. In Extremis is the story of our turbulent age, and the life of a woman who defied convention. *Marie Colvin is remembered in two films: Under the Wire, a drama-doc about Marie's last trip to Syria, and A Private War, a feature film about her life, starring Rosamund Pike*
Best known for his role in helping to establish the Singapore Armed Forces Commando Formation and as the unit's first commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) Clarence Tan was born on his family's rubber plantation, just ten months before the Japanese invasion of British Malaya in 1941. As with those of his generation, his life spans the dramatic, often tumultuous years of Singapore's evolution from a primarily rural British colony to the world class cosmopolis it is today. From leading a platoon during racial riots in Singapore to searching for communist insurgents and Indonesian infiltrators in the jungles of Malaysia during the Emergency and the Confrontation, LTC (Rtd) Tan was part of both the British and Malaysian armies before becoming a pioneer officer in Singapore's defence force. For as surely as there are makers of history, there are those too who are made by history. Always A Commando is at once a compelling chronicle of one man's life from kampong kid to red beret and a rich evocation of the country he served through turbulent and uncertain times.
Twice a Hero is the true story of George Adamson, a young Irish patriot and rebel, who started his quest for freedom by joining the Irish Volunteers in Moate, Athlone, in the Irish Midlands. Then, on the promise of Home Rule for Ireland at the war's end, he enlisted in the British Army and fought in two forgotten conflicts, the Great War, Salonika & Palestine. Decorated for bravery, he returned home to Ireland after four years of war to find that Home Rule was not forthcoming. He rejoined the National Volunteers, which later changed its name to the Irish Republican Army. Now a wanted man, he went on the run, living off the land during the two years of the Irish War of Independence. Following the signing of a treaty with Britain, he joined the National Army with the rank of Commandant. During the Irish Civil War that followed he was promoted to Brigadier General in command of the Midland Division of the Irish Army. His life came to an end when he was murdered on a street in Athlone. He died from his wounds on his 25th birthday. The title of the book reflects the fact that he was a decorated hero in the Great War and again in the Irish War of Independence, where he was promoted to Brigadier General in the Irish Army. The book cover reflects the end of 700 years of conflict as the Irish National flag was raised over Athlone Castle, a national monument to, and a concrete symbol of, the centuries of tyrannical imperial rule. My research uncovered the history of conflict, ethnic cleansing and oppression denied to me by the educational system in Ireland during my school days. I would encourage my fellow Irishmen, the Irish of the great Diaspora and in particular Irish/Americans, to read the book and be proud of their ancestors who fought and died for the freedom and prosperity that Ireland now enjoys.
A lieutenant writes of digging through bodies that have the consistency of Camembert cheese; a mother sends flower seeds to her son at the Front, hoping that one day someone may see them grow; a nurse tends a man back to health knowing he will be court-martialled and shot as soon as he is fit. Edited by the bestselling author of Birdsong and Dr Hope Wolf, this is an original and illuminating non-fiction anthology of writing on the First World War. Diaries, letters and memories, testaments from ordinary people whose lives were transformed, are set alongside extracts from names that have become synonymous with the war, such as Siegfried Sassoon and T.E. Lawrence. A Broken World is an original collection of personal and defining moments that offer an unprecedented insight into the Great War as it was experienced and as it was remembered.
A precursor to the modern SAS the Raiding Support Regiment fought alongside the commandos and Tito's partisan in Yugoslavia. Based on the Island of Vis in the Adriatic they provided heavy weapons support to British and partisan forces trying to drive the Germans out of Yugoslavia. Later they served in Albania and Italy. This is a brutally honest account of one man's service with the Regiment and a neglected period of European history. It documents the transformation of a young man into a combat veteran as he witnesses the effects of bombing, the deliberate killing of POWs and partisan savagery against those who transgress the partisan code.
Navigating the Seven Seas is an account of the leadership
experiences two high-achieving African-Americans in the U.S. Navy.
This father and son duo both achieved leadership ranks in the
service of their country by following certain precepts than can
applied for success in any profession, both military and civilian.
Venter s choice of military events is eclectic. He has four chapters on Afghanistan, three on Somalia, several on how Lisbon fought its desperate rearguard colonial wars in Angola, Mozambique and Portuguese Guinea as well as several on the Rhodesian War. These include a tribute to his old friend Ron Reid-Daly, founder-commander of the Selous Scouts, a vivid profile of the RLI Incredibles in a cross-border strike on enemy positions in Mozambique as well as a chapter by Colonel Brian Robinson, longest serving commander of the Rhodesian SAS. Venter also draws heavily on his experiences as a military correspondent for Britain s Jane s Information Group in the Middle East: he accompanied the IDF when it went into Beirut in 1982.Neall Ellis who flew helicopter gunships against the rebels in Sierra Leone and is currently flying support missions in Russian Mi-8s in Afghanistan, Al Venter going into combat with a bunch of South African Parabats in a strike against enemy positions in Angola (where he was subsequently wounded), Mike Hoare s aborted invasion of the Seychelles a quarter of a century ago, an American mercenary in Iraq as well as a United States Navy rescue mission in Somalia are among more than 30 chapters that appear in this new book. The book is illustrated with more than 100 photographs and follows the publication of his earlier military titles "War Dog" (2006) and "Barrel of a Gun" (2010), both published by Casemate in the US and Britain."
Over 120 first hand stories of life at sea with the Royal Navy from both men and women who served All taken from the Imperial War Museum's audio archive Major UK publicity and marketing campaign
Almost two million volunteers served the Indian army in the Great War, always under British regimental officers, high commanders and staff. 150,000 of them were long-serving pre-war professional soldiers; most of the remainder were wartime recruits, drawn from across South Asia. Half of the Indian soldiers were sent overseas, and those who returned did so with a very different outlook on life. In most histories of the war, the Tommies, pals and poets have dominated the tales - but what of the war as experienced by their Indian counterparts? George Morton-Jack's remarkable, fresh take on the First World War sets this right, telling the Indian army's story of 1914-18 through the voices of the service's officers and ranks, and of the princes, priests, prostitutes and others who encountered them across the continents. It reveals their journeys to the greatest battlefields mankind had ever seen, their experiences as prisoners of war in Germany, Romania and elsewhere, and their missions as secret agents that took them down rivers, across deserts and through mountain ranges from Transylvania to Afghanistan and beyond. The Indian Empire at War is a fascinating, necessary book that illuminates a central part of the Great War that has too often been overlooked.
A riveting collection of thirty-eight narratives by American soldiers serving in Afghanistan, "Outside the Wire" offers a powerful evocation of everyday life in a war zone. Christine Dumaine Leche--a writing instructor who left her home and family to teach at Bagram Air Base and a forward operating base near the volatile Afghan-Pakistani border--encouraged these deeply personal reflections, which demonstrate the power of writing to battle the most traumatic of experiences.
The soldiers whose words fill this book often met for class with Leche under extreme circumstances and in challenging conditions, some having just returned from dangerous combat missions, others having spent the day in firefights, endured hours in the bitter cold of an open guard tower, or suffered a difficult phone conversation with a spouse back home. Some choose to record momentous events from childhood or civilian life--events that motivated them to join the military or that haunt them as adults. Others capture the immediacy of the battlefield and the emotional and psychological explosions that followed. These soldiers write through the senses and from the soul, grappling with the impact of moral complexity, fear, homesickness, boredom, and despair.
We each, writes Leche, require witnesses to the narratives of our lives. "Outside the Wire" creates that opportunity for us as readers to bear witness to the men and women who carry the weight of war for us all.
Deng Adut was six years old when war came to his village in South Sudan. Taken from his mother, he was conscripted into the Sudan People's Liberation Army. He was taught to use an AK-47 then sent into battle. Shot in the back, dealing with illness and the relentless brutality of war, Deng's future was bleak. A child soldier must kill or be killed. But, after five years, he was rescued by his brother John and smuggled into a Kenyan refugee camp. With the support of the UN and help from an Australian couple, Deng and John became the third Sudanese family resettled in Australia. Despite physical injuries and ongoing mental trauma, Deng seized the chance he'd been given. Deng taught himself to read and, in 2005, he enrolled in a Bachelor of Laws at Western Sydney University. Songs of a War Boy is the inspirational story of a young man who has overcome unthinkable adversity to become a lawyer, refugee advocate and NSW Australian of the Year. Deng's memoir is an important reminder of the power of compassion and the benefit to us all when we open our doors and our hearts to those fleeing war, persecution and pain.
This is the gripping story of the five Munich university students who set up an underground resistance movement in World War II, featured in the award-winning Oscar-nominated film, Sophie Scholl - The Final Days. This 75th anniversary edition commemorates the 75 years since their arrest & execution in 1943. This updated edition includes a new preface and more photos
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