Dusty Warriors - well recommended

#1
Just finished Dusty Warriors by Richard Holmes
Extremely vivid and interesting factual account.
I would say that this is a must for all of us aged old farts with no idea what today's Army is all about. Details the changes since "our days"
Review from Amazon says it better than I can. Well worth the money - but then, all of his books are.

Synopsis
Our foremost military historian offers us a compelling and at times terrifying account of what it means to be a contemporary soldier, written in the words of the men and women of his regiment who are currently completing a dangerous and bloody six-month tour of duty. In this remarkable book, Richard Holmes draws on the testimonies of the 700 soldiers of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment to capture in vivid detail the average soldier's day-to-day experience of war. Embroiled in a conflict often too dangerous for reporters to cover, these part-time soldiers - most of them young, many without any previous experience of warfare - have kept ongoing records of the drudgery, anxiety and horror involved in fighting a violent and increasingly unpopular war against a ruthless and resourceful enemy. All have risked their lives, and many have died. Others have been recognised and awarded for their courage, resourcefulness and gallantry - Private Johnson Beharry recently became the first man to be awarded the Victoria Cross in 23 years. With these intimate and revealing glimpses of life in the modern army, Richard Holmes paints a sweeping portrait of a new generation of soldiers - grunts, gallants and heroes - and the sacrifices their decision to fight for their country entails
 
#2
Some of this was in the Sunday Telegraph last weekend - it looks good. I think I will be getting it
 
#4
What has just soaked in a bit is how much this book differs from what I remember of the press reports of that time. I followed the well-merited VC of Pte Beharry here and in the papers - broad and tabloid. However, in the book there are a number of instances where things very very nearly went totally down the river. There were a number of very lucky troops out there and a great deal of bravery and attention to lessons from training. None of this came through in what would be available to "the general public"
So - was there any formal down-playing as to how serious things did get? Were there insufficient press embedded or were they crap at reporting anything more serious than a Buck House garden party? Obviously, Brig Holmes as Colonel had good access and he is a damn good writer but his account gave me a much better idea of just what fine work was done out there than I gained from "the media".
This selling short our troops - if that is what it is - did them no favours when it comes to the coverage given along lines of "troops run riot" etc.
 

Auld-Yin

ADC
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#5
My copy arrived Friday and I will get down to it seriously tonight, but if the book is as honest and open as Holmes introduction then it should be a great read. He admits to writing as an historian but that he is not following the usual historians way in that he is only giving one side of the story and that from a small group within that one side.

Flicking through the pics (plenty in colour plate and B&W) there seems to be a certain WO2 who likes having his photo took!!! I will wait to see if that is justified as I get further into the book :wink:

Still, looking forward to reading something which shows what a good British battalion can and does do.
 
#6
Just ordered two from Richard Holmes, 'Sahib' & 'Dusty Warriors'. My father read both and said that they were a 'must read' ASAP. 8)
 
#7
The book is written very well and uses a lot of peoples personal accounts of what went on.
It is a totally truthful picture of what went on during Telic 4 within 1 PWRR and other unit / capbadges that were attached to them.
 
#8
Picked my copy up from Waterstones on Saturday.
 

Take2

Old-Salt
#9
Just finished reading it the other day.
With regards to the press during Telic 4 they only seemed to report when someone was killed. Im not really sure if this was because of the higher powers "down playing" the situation on the ground or not? as it was suppost to be a quite time in the build up to the power being handed back to the intrim Iraqi government.
The media coverage only really caught on towards the end of the tour during the second major uprising/the capture and release of the british reporter/ ken Bigleys death and the movements of the Blackwatch going to Camp Dogwood.
It was a good account and hopefully an eye opener to the general public, although it was very much seen only through the eyes of PWRR, which was explained by Brig Holmes and understandable, but a mention for the other soldiers who lost their lives and were injured during this tour wouldnt have gone a miss.
 
#10
Take2, Homes wrote an account of 1 PWRR's experiences on TELIC4, not the whole deployment. Bit of a cheap shot to take him to task for concentrating on his subject!

A hell of a book, by the way. Should be made compulsory reading for all politicos.
 
F

fozzy

Guest
#11
Themanwho said:
Take2, Homes wrote an account of 1 PWRR's experiences on TELIC4, not the whole deployment. Bit of a cheap shot to take him to task for concentrating on his subject!

A hell of a book, by the way. Should be made compulsory reading for all politicos.
My copy arrived this afternoon from Amazon. That's Easter taken care of, then..
 
#12
fozzy said:
Themanwho said:
Take2, Homes wrote an account of 1 PWRR's experiences on TELIC4, not the whole deployment. Bit of a cheap shot to take him to task for concentrating on his subject!

A hell of a book, by the way. Should be made compulsory reading for all politicos.
My copy arrived this afternoon from Amazon. That's Easter taken care of, then..
have just orded Dusty Warriors
cant wait
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
#14
Bought it this morning, just finished it - a good read. Very well structured for the 'ignorant' civvy reader (with plenty of explanation of terminology, ethos, etc.) and soldier alike. Necessarily parochial, but will strike a chord for many. Ditto what Themanwho said: Tony and pals - read and understand.
 
#17
my copy arrived thursday and i finished reading it friday evening what an excelent read i found it good that he wrote about the attached arms and RWF in the BG brilliant book
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
#18
Who are you "rain man?"
I'm a very fast reader (and a very good driver).
 
#20
I'm reading this right now and it's compelling stuff. Thoroughly recommended - he writes really well, and incorporates the words of the guys on the ground without stooping to the sometimes cloying sentimentality of chaps like Stephen Ambrose (the Band of Brothers guy). Whether this is because he's a TA soldier himself is an interesting question.
 

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