Bull$hit Alert - Books to Avoid?

I think the historical accuracy of Sven Hassel's offerings were perhaps questionable but they provided a good read back in the day.

I rather enjoyed Patrick Hennesey's Junior Officer's Reading Club for a quick read
Sven Hassel was great 35 years ago, I am not so sure I would want to read it now.
The junior officers reading club I gave up on half way through.
 

MrBane

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Reviews Editor
Accurate - Quartered Safe Out Here
B0llocks - Devil's Guard
QSOH is an excellent read however I was always a bit out out by his tone towards modern soldiering, felt a touch insulting
 
If you are looking at something slightly different there are a number of good EOD books out there:

Braver Men Walk Away.

A Special Kind of Courage

Bombs Have No Pity.

Painting The Sand.
OT
I really enjoyed Painting the Sand. I was more surprised to discover our paths had crossed at 8 Regt!
I thought it was perfectly pitched. For civilians I think you would give a real flavour of how the Army works, how we talk to each other (especially Officers and NCOs), without out all the bravado an BS.
From a military point of view, it amused and horrified in equal measure.
I have always had a great deal of respect for the trade (some of my best friends are ATOs etc), so the technical parts were very interesting, especially when you have a bit of your own background knowledge to add to.
Heartily recommend, one of my favs along with One Bullet Away, Fighting for Peace, In deadly combat, Chickenhawk).


As for the bad, I really struggled with Soldier Spy.
I enjoyed Operators, Fishers of Men, Bandit country, Fifty Dead men etc. So I wanted to like it and bought after hearing "Marcus" on Radio4.
But I just struggled with it. Its hard to articulate, it had that flavour of, "I'm a JNCO, I know best, the SNCOs are bullies and all Officers are clueless knobs".
It was a bit "I break the rules, but get the job done so I'm ******* ace". Which is a shame, because the job is undoubtedly interesting and challenging enough; it doesn't need jazzing up with guns and kicking doors in and "battering a policeman and pissing on him to preserve your cover".

To be honest I'd rather read The Glory Boys and Good Guys Wear black (about SO19), really good stories, cover the exciting and the mundane and some really funny bits.

Look we all read Rogue Warrior and enjoyed it, but in modern ops you can't just dash about being rogue,
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
But both very readable books.
Enjoyed it when I read it but I wouldn't bother with Devil's Guard knowing what I know now.
 
A couple i've read recently that didn't totally wiff of BS:

Pilgrim Days - Alastair Mackenzie
Across an angry sea - Cedric Delves
I recently read Gen Delves’ book and enjoyed it. However it was challenged by Major Guy Sheridan RM for accuracy.

 
Thank you.

I have Painting the Sand lined up on Kindle for when I finish my latest book review. It's rare that I have much time for "pleasure" reading these days.

I read a book a while ago about EOD - 8 Lives Down, I think it was called. Cracking book and able to generate tension like the best of movies.
Chris Hunter is a top bloke, if you watched the BBC program where they put volunteers through the SOE course, Chris was the Major instructing some of the unarmed combat and explosives.
 
Don’t bother with “Dead Men Risen“ by Tony Harnden. Annoyingly he quotes Oz Schmid as loving the Welsh Guards - he couldn’t stand them, he always wanted to support the Rifles BG.

The bastärd also credited some of my jobs to Oz.
 

Nemesis44UK

LE
Book Reviewer
I read The 13th Valley by John M. Del Vecchio as it was meant to be a brilliant Vietnam war memoir.

Unfortunately it turned out to be more of a gay porno, now that was surprising.
Couldn't stand that book. I went through a phase where I consumed every book I could find on Vietnam, but that one was skid-marked underpants.
 

sirbhp

LE
Book Reviewer
Enjoyed it when I read it but I wouldn't bother with Devil's Guard knowing what I know now.
i reviewed it a while ago in the book club , yes its dated a bit as I got older but apparently it was in the top ten of books taken to AFGAN by all sorts of troops . Its a yarn not a documentary .
 

Nemesis44UK

LE
Book Reviewer
Chris Hunter is a top bloke, if you watched the BBC program where they put volunteers through the SOE course, Chris was the Major instructing some of the unarmed combat and explosives.
Chris Hunter - that's the badger! His name escaped me from memory. His book reads like a film script and he comes across as a really down-to-earth guy, not up himself at all.
 

sirbhp

LE
Book Reviewer
Couldn't stand that book. I went through a phase where I consumed every book I could find on Vietnam, but that one was skid-marked underpants.
I bought it a year or so ago , when it was published it was brilliant however as time and our knoledge has moved on its not got the power that it once had .
 

exspy

LE
I read The 13th Valley by John M. Del Vecchio as it was meant to be a brilliant Vietnam war memoir.

Unfortunately it turned out to be more of a gay porno, now that was surprising.
I've referred to the book as being ponderous. It's over 600 pages long and the first 200 pages just cover the first day! Which takes place entirely in the base camp with no action at all. I'm of the belief that those who raved about it haven't actually read it. Especially the gay part.

I feel the same way about Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes. I gave up after 300 pages. It was cliche after cliche about the war. While Marlantes was a veteran and the book received rave reviews, I just couldn't believe the plot.
 

Buddy!

Old-Salt
If it were true, then the dit about him being the hero who thwarted a terror attack on a couple of bus loads of school kids on their return from France was missed by the press.

The 'fact' that the SAS supposedly hard stopped the bad guys car, smashed through the windscreen and pulled him out at gunpoint seems to have gone unreported.

As has the subsequent trial, verdict and sentencing of what would rate as a high profile terrorist incident.

Something smells fishy, and I'm not talking about the contents of Baldricks apple crumble.

A complete pile of dog doo.
Agreed, very interesting stuff. There's definitely been some changes to make it more appealing to the average reader I expect. His recent follow up, I SPY also contains some 'anomalies'. Fishy.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
i reviewed it a while ago in the book club , yes its dated a bit as I got older but apparently it was in the top ten of books taken to AFGAN by all sorts of troops . Its a yarn not a documentary .
It's a good read - it's just not what it purported to be and I certainly wouldn't want to risk coin of the realm betting on its veracity.
 

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