Squaddie: A Soldiers Story by Steven McLaughlin

#3
A very good read,joined RGJs at 30yrs old.Book is about his training and subsequent tour on Telic 2 followed by a stint in Crossmaglen.Tells it as it is/was for a Greenjacket at junior level on OPs-stagging on,fatigues and getting p*ssed about.
My hat off to him for joining up at 30 and being the oldest man to complete the CIC,says it all for me.
 
#5
Although it may be a good read and true to life, I am a little worried at a number of factors, first off is motivation, he joined VERY late becuase of his brother, why not earlier ? As he was older his perspective must of been greatly different, I was 18 in basic nad he had a couple of 25 yr olds, one was spot on but the other whinged constantly. And my last issue is Crossmaglen, He went AFTER Telic 2 ? Not exactly a hive of terrorist activity really

OK I'm being cynical, I just struggle to warrant the comments of a short tourer with an agenda thats al
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
I think these days tyo write a military book you need to have an "angle" to base it on. A book of a 17 year old squaddie who joins up in the infantry and serves 8 years while not actually achieving much does not sell books....or not many anyway. Instead you have this one (oldest recruit at CIC etc) that one about TA in telic 1, or the various SF books...
 
#8
High_Voltage said:
Has anybody read this book yet? If you have, true too life or just "another" Chris Ryan type book?

Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1845961455/?tag=armrumser-21
Just finished reading this - not a bad book, all in all, and certainly better written than the McNab/Ryan types (i.e. the language flows, fits together properly, etc).

Others pointed out that with three years service, how much can there be to write about? But it gives a pretty good look at the Private soldier's view of Iraq and service in the current NI situation.

My only real complaints:
- lots of harping on about how complex, fiddly, etc the SA80 is and how the M16 is better.
- the issue of his motivation as mentioned in other posts.
- some slight inaccuracies that you'd expect anyone with any length of service to understand - perhaps an overzealous editor.

Other than that, worth a read! Definitely a different angle (the age thing) than most recent books, where the author simply tries to prove he's the next McNab :)
 
#9
It has got good reviews in Amazon - maybe I will give it a look-see.

No, feck it - I will buy a copy. After all - if a squaddie has given the time to write a book then I will support it. Its nice to see a book about real soldiering and not the super hero SF books that quite frankly need to be read with a pinch of salt!
 
#10
From the harsh realities of basic training to post-war chaos in Iraq
He joined after 2000? The training is hardly harsh in basic these days.
 
#13
Speedy said:
From the harsh realities of basic training to post-war chaos in Iraq
He joined after 2000? The training is hardly harsh in basic these days.
To be fair, he comments that the training does seem softer than he'd expect, especially when he joins an All-Arms platoon at the ATR.

Couldn't say whether this difference is an actual fact or not though - to my mind, a standard is a standard!
 
#14
wellyhead said:
Although it may be a good read and true to life, I am a little worried at a number of factors, first off is motivation, he joined VERY late becuase of his brother, why not earlier ?
In fairness, he DID join at an earlier age (RM), but was kicked out on medical grounds: had laser surgery for eyesight problems (which had already led to rejection by the Army) and concealed the fact when he enlisted - busked it with an elderly medic who wasn't au fait with the latest techniques in opthalmology, but was caught out a month into training during a routine check by a younger doctor who recognised the laser scars for what they were.

Little bro's untimely death propelled him into having another go, but he says that he'd always wanted to soldier, and I think it very creditable that he went ahead despite advancing years. Think he only did 3 years because once in he realised that his age was going to be a major problem in terms of career progression, plus - as he openly admits - the life of an infantryman is "a young man's game". Even if he did only do it to furnish material for a book (IMO a bit far fetched; taking "method" research to the extreme! 3 years is still a long time out of your life.), at least he bothered to find out the hard way before so doing.

The book is clearly written, and he is very precise in making the distinction between fact and his opinion - again, IMO, very creditable. His maturity/ general life experience also provides him with a more balanced/ broader perspective than is often the case in such books. Also, as others have noted, it's refreshing to read the infanteer's perspective; so many of the SF type memoirs tend to write off the "ordinary Army" as somehow second best - there are exceptions, eg Pete Scholey, but they're relatively rare. In reality, without good line infantry (plus all the rest, esp support arms!) you have no army worth mentioning, whilst it is quite possible to have an excellent army without any "special forces" per se.

I think this a very sound book - certainly worth reading.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#15
Have just read and would recommend it to anyone as an engaging read, but especially to Seniors in the Army as the author articulates with clarity and logic, the frustrations that many junior ranks feel.

This is well depicted when he describes a conversation he has with his OC in Iraq upon receiving a sentance for getting in a scrap with another soldier. The author tells the OC why he did what he did and lays bare a few home truths about how the army real works, for the officer:
My little speech went down like a lead baloon, and I could see the OC was upset about what I had said. The picture I had painted bore no resemblance to the army he fondly imagined, and as he dismissed me, I sensed my words had struck an unhappy chord with him.
All in all it's refreshing to read an account of soldiering that most of us recognise and can relate to.
 
#16
wellyhead said:
Although it may be a good read and true to life, I am a little worried at a number of factors, first off is motivation, he joined VERY late becuase of his brother, why not earlier ? As he was older his perspective must of been greatly different, I was 18 in basic nad he had a couple of 25 yr olds, one was spot on but the other whinged constantly. And my last issue is Crossmaglen, He went AFTER Telic 2 ? Not exactly a hive of terrorist activity really

OK I'm being cynical, I just struggle to warrant the comments of a short tourer with an agenda thats al

Yes I agree, then after all that he leaves after 3 years!!! I got about half way threw it then had to bin it I couldn`t stand it any longer. Total and utter inane dog pooh!!!!
If your a civvy thats never been in the Forces then its proberebly a very good book. But to me it didn`t really keep me interested, I got bored. I`m sorry.
 
#17
If you take the book as a sort of diary then its not bad at all. Ok, its not B20 but then again we need to balance the books (no pun intended) in regards to accounts from the men on the ground who account for 99% of our armed forces.

I found this book to be well written and easy to read. I didn't agree with all of his statements, but they were his and not mine so how can I say they were wrong? I was impressed by his work ethic and found it interseting that he didn't take the easy option when offered.

We need to record soldiers lives on tour and in barracks for history's sake, so that the media or government cannot make it up to suit their own spin on things.

We need more books like Squaddie, Picking up the Brass, Amongst the Marines, Winter Warriors, The Quiet Soldier, Weekend Warrior, etc
 
#18
It's worth a read. Nothing really special, but is interesting in it's own right.
 
#19
I agree, this is a very goo read. It was interesting comparing another soldiers life to mine, especially as no two soldiers service is alike.

To all the whingers out there - get a copy (buy it or go to your local library) and read it for what it is - a soldiers story
 
#20
Rifle-Green-Sex-Machine said:
I agree, this is a very goo read. It was interesting comparing another soldiers life to mine, especially as no two soldiers service is alike.

To all the whingers out there - get a copy (buy it or go to your local library) and read it for what it is - a soldiers story
Good book, should at least wake up support arms basic recruit instructors.
:brilsmurf:
 

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