I have just finished this book and was not able to put it down - a thouroughly riveting read.
Armstrong starts by giving a history from the development of private security companies from the murky days of Bob Denard and David Stirling through to the Iran/Contra and Sandline affairs with a nod to Simon Mann.
The bulk of the book is crammed full of personal stories from Iraq. The reader gets a pretty clear picture of who the proffesional players are, and who are the cowboys. The plot thickens with old tories such as Nicholas "Fatty" Soames and Sir Malcolm Rifkind playing a large role.
The book tells of efforts to smarten up the industry, by bidding for contracts such as London 2012, and the specialisation into G2 (Diligence) and G4 (KBR) of some firms. The underlying feeling of the book, though, is the regret that there is no framework for the legal, contractual, or compensation side of this 'highly pervasive and rapidly expanding industry'. Hopefully, this G1 gap will be plugged by the BAPSC.
Overall, a bloody good read for anyone interested in international security, and an essential read for anyone considering this line of work.