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Joys of War

Joys of War

John Paul Jordan
ARRSE Rating
3.5 Mushroom Heads
John Paul Jordan is an Irishman, an adventurer and a fighter; Still a young man, not yet 40 and he has seen and endured a lot in a relatively short period of time.

Following on from a happy childhood in Ireland, where his childhood activities included cross-border smuggling and the breakdown of his parent's marriage, he moved to London, taking a job in construction.

The events of the 11th September attacks in America moved this young man so much that he joined the French Foreign Legion. Now this may seem an odd reaction; why not the British or even Irish forces, but a sense of romanticism allied with an urge to explore the further world led to this decision.

Time spent in the Legion was hard and harsh and inevitably Jordan left - without permission, naturally. Eventually he returned to his building work whilst still trying to maintain the fitness he had built up in the Legion.

Eventually, Jordan made his way to 21 S.A.S where he fitted in nicely. His account of the training and ardour of selection matches most accounts. Selection completed, he is deployed and his relating of the actions he was involved in are graphic and notable.

Eventually he falls ill and his life descends into a morass of drinking and self-medication, his personal life dissolves into a car crash, his regiment lets him down and life becomes, in his own words, " a living hell". There is a happy ending - of sorts- and he seems to be back on track.

The author is not a professional writer, and I do not mean that as a criticism. This book is written as if one was just listening to the author chat. It presents as a transcription of an audio recording. That is not derogatory, it conveys an appealing honesty to the narrative, it is at times rambling, at others extremely coherent and always just in the author's own words.

The writer comes across as a likeable type, a pretty typical squaddy albeit a dedicated one. He likes a good drink, and obviously appeals to women although he maintains a decent discretion about this side of his life. His account of his illness is honest and graphic and the advice he offers is valid and helpful. A good book, if a slim one and well worth reading.

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