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Dirty Combat: Secret Wars and Serious Misadventures [Paperback]

David Tomkins
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

4 Sep 2008

From the bloody plains of Angola to the jungles of Colombia, David Tomkins' career as a safe-breaker, arms dealer and mercenary spans five decades. A permanent fixture on the watch lists of intelligence agencies across the world, including the CIA and Interpol, he has served prison sentences on both sides of the Atlantic, most recently for conspiring to kill Colombian drug baron Pablo Escobar.

Dirty Combat is a no-holds-barred account of Tomkins' life, candidly told in his own words. Born in London during the Second World War, he was hospitalised for a time in a psychiatric ward and sent to reform school after he was deemed 'beyond parental control'. Later, following a spell in the Merchant Navy, he graduated from safe-blower to demolitions expert with a notorious mercenary army in Angola. From intrigue in Mayfair offices to the wild Tribal Areas of Pakistan, from guerrilla training camps in South America to solitary confinement in a US jail, Tomkins lets us in on the secrets of his life as a soldier of fortune.

Tomkins' story reads like a real-life version of a Tom Clancy thriller. It is a shocking account of crime and corruption, and the scope of his activities will amaze and intrigue.

Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing (4 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184596389X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845963897
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 15 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 382,075 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"One man's security operative is another man's mercenary and this book is a colourful journey into the world of the latter" (Soldier)

Book Description

The memoirs of Britain's most successful safebreaker and armed mercenary

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mercenary 23 Mar 2009
By P Kart
David Tomkins is not your typical mercenary. He's got no formal military training, he's not as physically built as what you'd expect and nor does he seem to have a lot of luck. From a troublesom childhood to becoming a safe blower, he's managed to get himself mixed up with ex-SAS guys runnig wild in African civil wars. At a later point he even finds himself plotting political assassinations in South America which don't seem to work out too well for him.

It brings an interesting insight into the life of a criminal adventurer. At times I felt it ran dry, it got a bit confusing as to who was after what and why and how he even got involved with the situations. I didn't quite like the fact that he kept going on about being a great family person and wanting to see his children and what not, but there was very rare mention of his family at all. I understand this is more of a macho military type book but it just stuck out to me.

Overall it was easy to ready and fairly fast paced. Funny at times but in general showing the dark cold truths about war and what comes with it all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Misadventures is an understatement! 9 Mar 2009
By GP1966
This is a book that I really just couldn't put down!
One mans autobiography of what appears to be his key life events, that seem too unreal to be true. From safeblowing in the 60's, mercenary warfare, to attempted assasinations on drug barons and political leaders. Amazing he's still here to recount the events.
This is one life account that requiring little to nothing added to it to make it a Hollywood hit. If you like Dry humour, warfare, action, crime and arms dealing you will enjoy this.
An enlightening and absorbing read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars no fear 7 Mar 2009
Its clear Mr Tomkins has a devil may care attitude to life. How he's still alive is a tribute to learning the business skill in arms dealing to the business end of a rifle. with out formal military training .
The book its self is very readble especially the exploits in Angola
most of the rest are deals that "almost" happen and action that "almost" happens
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4.0 out of 5 stars DIRTY COMBAT 12 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting but slow some parts funny some boring !! But I stayed with it till the end and was glad I did
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The unknown world 19 May 2009
By Lukasz Czeszumski - Published on Amazon.com
This book takes the reader to hidden world of crime, war, and cartels. Author can be seen as controversial by some... but he's writing about his experiences from his point of view. He was not an angel, ether. And his story show us the real face of international politics and mechanisms working "behind the scenes". Great read.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars David Tomkins is one of the most interesting people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting 17 May 2009
By Mark Bettencourt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I spent some time with the author during the early stages his writing. His stories were amazing to listen to and read about, even in the books roughest and earliest drafts. The author has led a most extrordinary life. His stories rival even the ones spun in the minds of the greats like Tom Clancy or Robert Ludlam. I highly recommend this book to anyone with a taste for adventure. Tomkins is not likely to disappoint even the most discerning of adventurers!
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Look away, look away you coo-coo bird...." 18 Jun 2011
By thomas bleming - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The author's reputation as a mercenary/soldier of fortune is without question. He wrote a pretty good book. I can attest to his Togo adventure, seeing how I played a part in the unloading of the plane on the runway at Lome's international airport in early 1977.
The author leaves out much of the total story about what exactly went on in Togo (during our time on the ground), as well as our time in neighboring Ghana, where those of us spent the last part of this whole affair, prior to getting arrested by the police, in Denu,Ghana, then being released several hours later.
His writing about the planned assassination of a prominent Togolaise exile in Paris, France is very detailed as well as totally correct, seeing as I knew about this from the late Dave 'Darkie' Davidson, the individual who alerted Gilchrest Olimpio about what was being planned.
His Colombian operation, is totally true in every detail.
Mr.Tomkins, in his efforts to write about his exploits as a soldier of fortune, does just that, in no uncertain terms. Truly, he like myself have lived a pretty interesting/dangerous lifestyle.
The only difference is that he is retired and others (like myself), continue on in this occupation, hoping (against the odds) to strike pay dirt from our efforts, wherever on the globe they may be.
As a fellow merc/soldier of fortune/revolutionary (as well as an author) I congradulate him on a job well done.
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