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Four Flags, The Odyssey Of A Professional Soldier Part Two

Dan Barr
Dave Barr knew from 12 years old he wanted to be a Marine. Following a series of menial jobs - including working as a shoe shiner in a barber's shop and in service stations - at 17 he joined the Marines before shipping out to Vietnam. This was his dream come true - flying as a helicopter gunner - and he ended the war with an impressive 57 Air Medals, one Air Medal for every 20 combat missions.

After leaving the Marines, like many veterans, Dave found it hard to hold down a good job and stay out of trouble. It was then that he read about Israel. Always looking for a rush, Dave learned to skydive before deciding to take his chances - emigrating illegally to Israel. He was inducted into the Israeli Army and then the Paratroopers, where the training was difficult - involving long tough marches, as well as learning Hebrew. After serving his time, he left Israel - and back in the USA, Dave was stuck in a rut and ready for his next adventure.

This is the second volume of Dave's memoirs. Just as rich and colourful an account as the first instalment, the book portrays a professional soldier's view of the ‘sharp end' of war. Following on from his time in the Israeli Army paratroopers, Dave travelled to Rhodesia and fought alongside the Rhodesian Light Infantry. His next assignment was with the South African Defence Force in operations in South West Africa and Angola. Then came the fateful day and near fatal injuries as a result of a land mine explosion. Almost a year later following 20 operations and Dave was finally allowed back onto active duty and doing what he did best, being a soldier.

This man has done more, seen more and earned more decorations before breakfast. I particularly asked to review this book expecting this to be one of the best reads this year, however this was not the case; being a great warrior and a special human being does not unfortunately make you a great writer. The book was very flat and dull despite the tremendous amount of cool stories which could have been told to us by a good storyteller. I found this book flat, boring and sad. There were no rollicking descriptions that would force you to turn the pages over and suffer the highs and lows of four Armies with the author. Once I put this book down it was easy to forget to pick it up again. It's a crying shame that Dan didn't obtain the services of an editor or ghost writer because this is a story which needs telling with a fast pace narrative rater than the deadpan end of stag report that was served up to us . With deep regret Three and a half Mushroom heads.

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