Cry Havoc by Simon Mann (Old Chikurubian) - How not to organise a coup!

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by kerryman, Nov 11, 2011.

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  1. John Crace in the Guardian (below) has an excruciatingly funny review of the book- well worth a read. And in the Telegraph review Tim Butcher is not very impressed either.

    Few reviews fail to mention that the gallant Captain is an "Old Etonian". He is of course now also one of an even more select band- an "Old Chikurubian"- one of a very small number of whites who attended this distinguished institution set amongst the kopjes a few clicks to the east of Harare.

    A couple of small points from me:

    The "Black Boots".

    The unit permanently based next door to Chikurubi Prison was the BSAP Police Support Unit which was the only unit to wear black boots in the old Rhodesian forces then and indeed today their successors the Zimbabwe Republic Police Support Unit is still described as such. Today they are used mainly for internal supression of the opposition by Mugabe. In the book Mann describes a unit known as the "Brown Boots"- no such unit exists. The Support Unit was-and is- sited next to the prison so that they could be called out at very short notice in the event of disturbances at the prison.


    One of the few Shona words Mann uses to describe his time in Chikurubi is "detende". No such word exists in Shona but the Shona word for "Thank you" or "We are grateful" is Tatenda. It looks like his language skills are not the greatest either- or, of course it might be that all his cell-mates had lisps.

    His story of course has an interesting twist that he does not mention-shortly before he was arrested 3 whites held in Chikurubi since 1988 were transferred to Harare Central Prison. It looks like the Zim CIO "saw him coming".

    The CIO.

    It also seems that his interrogation was done by black officers only of the CIO. He describes how his interviews were of about half an hour duration with breaks. This seems to suggest that his interviews were in reality being conducted by hidden watchers who did not want their well-spoken accents from parts of these islands to be identified.

    Interesting read-but as mentioned
    "How not to organise a Coup".

    Digested read: Cry Havoc by Simon Mann | Books | The Guardian

    Cry Havoc by Simon Mann: review - Telegraph

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  2. Got this for Christmas. Pretty interesting but as kerryman points out quite a few obvious inaccuracies. Mann's account of Executive Outcomes operations in Angola and Sierra Leone is also quite different to Eeeben Barlow's (read his book if you can). I'm sure neither are telling the whole truth though.
  3. Cutaway

    Cutaway LE Reviewer

    You skeem ?
  4. I was disapointed by the book, £6.99 on my kindle and not a single recipie for pies! Mercenaries, I shit em me.............
  5. Like a Walt but not a Walt?
  6. I should have added "to put it mildly"! Barlow's book does ring a bit more true though but of course I have no way of actually knowing. Neither is particularly well written, Mann's again worse in my opinion.

    One interesting thing in Cry Havoc was that their original plan, to land in rubber boats from a mother ship, probably would have worked. Bob Dernard did it enough times in the Comores. But through a convoluted set of circumstances (mostly to do with money) they decided to go with a plan rather similar to those that had failed Denard in Benin (IIRC) and Hoare in the Seychelles. Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it etc.