This is a good, if rather brief, book covering operations by the Australian Commandos in M and Z Force in SE Asia in WW2. M Force were the Coastwatchers, while Z Force were more guerilla / commando type activities.
- Good overview of all the operations and men / units involved
- Good coverage of the support offered by US Submarines (the primary method of insertion in most of the operations)
- Large numbers of personal recollections included (including a great description of the Dyaks celebrating with a smoked Japanese head) - and some lovely little stories as to the effectiveness of the Dyak warriors in fighting the Japanese, and their excitement at being allowed to once more collect heads.
- Interesting backgound snippets here and there - where the British had ruled, the Commandoes were welcomed enthusiastically, where the Dutch had been the colonial power, the locals would betray them to the Japanese immediately they were spotted.
- The books to brief for the subject to my mind, and the author overweights the content towards repeating first hand accounts (interesting) while not providing any in depth commentary or analysis (disappointing)
- While there's a number of maps, the level of detail is poor (they're more outline maps rather than anything else)
- The details on the two ops against Japanese shipping are very light (for better coverage on these Ops, see McKie's THE HEROES, an excellent and detailed account of these ops accompanied by a number of good photos)
- Limited number of photos
- As another reviewer noted, until the last chapter the book did not discuss how Z Force units operated and what they actually did in their war against the Japanese
For the interested, there are a few other books on the subject (Coastwatchers / Z Force)
- the aforementioned THE HEROES
- New Zealand's Secret Heroes: Don Stott and the "Z" Special Unit - New Zealand Army members of Z Force
- Lonely Vigil: Coastwatchers of the Solomons (Bluejacket Books)
- "Locust", "Whiting" and New Britain: Guy Black's covert war with M and Z Units.: An article from: Sabretache[[ASIN:0811733297
- Alone on Guadalcanal: A Coastwatcher's Story (Bluejacket Books)
- Coast Watching in World War II: Operations Against the Japanese in the Solomon Islands, 1941-43 (Stackpole Military History)]]
- THE WEWAK MISSION - Coastwatchers at War in New Guinea
- Timor 1942: Australian Commandos at War with the Japanese
- Death of a General - this one's interesting. As WW2 was drawing to a close, Australia's secret commando unit, 'Z Special Force', had bungled a number of operations trying to rescue 2,500 Australian and English prisoners of war held by the Japanese in North Borneo. At war's end, only 6 of those prisoners would survive. When the Commanders of 'Z Special Force' realized that they were too late to save any of the prisoners, in a last desperate act of bitter frustration, they dispatched agents behind enemy lines by US submarines to assassinate the Japanese commanders in Borneo.'Death of a General' is based solidly on fact, but because of the oath of secrecy taken by members of this unit, details of the battles and missions, and names of those involved have been fictionalized.