There have been plenty of books written and released in recent months about the battles and operations in Afghanistan. There have been equally vociferous, sometimes difficult, often uninformed and active media campaigns raging in our press and television. What is addressed only rarely in a book, is the so called loneliness of command,difficult decision making, the constant pressures of all natures, the never ending risk assessments and the endless demands for flexibility and response. This book has it in spades!
As an ex-commanding officer myself, I empathise entirely with what Stuart Tootal is trying to convey and his Epilogue is a first rate summation. While no book on such a conflict can in any way be described as "enjoyable", the writing is taught,difficult situations portrayed in easy language,the sheer frustrations of an under-resourced operation, interference by MoD and Whithall mandarins, all coupled with the incompetence of our politicians, make for an very interesting book, and I commend it.
After commanding such a battalion as 3 PARA, he had to move on and find pastures anew. A brave decision, a huge loss for the army but fully understandable. This book should be compulsory reading for all Staff College candidates,civil servants and politicians about the pressures of command.