Special Force by Alastair MacKenzie

Discussion in 'The Book Club' started by Alec_Lomas, Nov 18, 2011.

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  1. This author is a respected member of the former military family. As a Kiwi he served in Vietnam then onwards to UK where he joined the Parachute Regiment, spent a period a a troop commander at 22 SAS before eventually joining SADF.
    He subsequently spent a few years in the commercial arms industry, gained a Ph.D in politics, set up his own consultancy and has since returned to the Land of The Long White Cloud.

    I got wind of his book as it was going through the washing machine of edits and re-writes at MOD. Work, relating to the history and development of 22 SAS tends to catch the eye of the bureaucrats and Alastair was obliged to wind his neck in appropriately, even though several of the personalities mentioned in his book are authors and relatively very public figures in their own 'write'. I mean, whoever could the author be referring to with the initials DLB? I was wary of his topic and what 'new angle' he could enlighten us on in the use of special forces in wars and actions post WW2. The bibilography cited at the rear of his book covers 10 pages alone, thus assuring the student of such subjects of the wealth of material in the public domain on 22 SAS alone. As a cheap throwaway remark, Alastair's book is a broadening of the 'Ghost Force' tome and is the book Ken Connor should have produced.

    As for the book itself, it's a forensic turning over of the soil of the development of 22 SAS to current times. Alastair splits his chapters, initially from an overview of 22 SAS, then onto the wars and actions individualised in each chapter, the use of the Regiment in BATT and counter-terrorism roles. Each chapter has a 'Conclusion' on the aforementioned topic. The written style is clinical and academic in content, more suited to a RUSI article. I surmise he has produced his tome for a future researcher or military staff college potential graduates. It's not a 'lie on the couch / beach' read, more of a sat at the table having a notebook and pencil close at hand book.
    Alastair isn't afraid to criticise in his conclusions. For the un-initiated, 22SAS is the most self-critiquing unit in UK forces. Aspects of Borneo and The Falklands come in for some very harsh words. You judge (if you were there)

    Criticisms? Only in the quality of the paper and photographs. The photographs especially, they are very indistinct, black and white and contribute nothing to the narrative. The content is gold dust.
















































    Should you buy it or hire from the local library? Buy it! It will lead many to review previous SF actions. It's a researchers dream.

    Published by I.B. Tauris. ISBN - 978.1.84885.017.2

    In concluding one of our very own moderators has two of his books listed in the bibilography. Just demonstrates the quality of Alastair's material and research.