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From SAS to Blood Diamond Wars [Kindle Edition]

Hamish Ross
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Even by SAS standards this is the story of an outstanding warrior.

On the point of being demobbed from the SAS, Fred Marafono was recruited by David Stirling for his private security company. After Stirling’s death, Fred found himself in the midst of Sierra Leone’s Blood Diamond wars, and formed an unbreakable bonding with the country’s champion of democracy, Chief Hinga Norman, whose leadership and tragic death are integral to the story.

Fred was recruited by Simon Mann for the finest of all private military companies in Africa, Executive Outcomes. Fewer than two hundred of them defeated the rebels in their strongholds. Through political weakness, Executive Outcomes were made to leave the country, and chaos ensued. Committed men like Hinga Norman and British High Commissioner Peter Penfold saw that in the absence of military commitment from the west, only high caliber mercenaries would win the fight to restore democracy: three of them kept a vital air bridge open ? ‘What God abandoned, these defended’. Fred’s final action was supporting the SAS in their brilliant hostage release, ‘Operation Barras.’

Peter Penfold sums it all up in the book’s foreword, writing of the, ‘confidence, trust and admiration I have for this remarkable man.’

Product Description


"By so eloquently telling the story of Fred Marafono and his kinship with the principal defender of Sierra Leone, Sam Hinga Norman, Hamish Ross has told our story and the story of the “Land that we love, our Sierra Leone”. It may well be the first and perhaps only detailed account of the war from the points of view of those who fought on the side of the people and government of Sierra Leone. The book is as inspiring as it is informative.  It leaves us with the question we have all asked ourselves over and over: What if?  What if there had been no Fred Marafono, no Peter Penfold, no Hinga Norman?  Would there be today a place called Sierra Leone?" -- Alfred Munda SamForay, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.


"Hamish Ross’s excellent book, ‘From SAS to Blood Diamond Wars’, reveals the exploits of Kauata ‘Fred’ Marafono, the Fijian ex-SAS soldier who became involved in the 11year rebel war in Sierra Leone. In the SAS one talks of ‘crossing the river’ for someone. Throughout his time in Sierra Leone, Fred Marafono established a close bond with Sam Hinga Norman. He was someone Fred crossed the river for and Hamish Ross’s book is as much about Sam Norman as it is about Fred Marafono." -- Peter Penfold Former British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1923 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pen & Sword (12 July 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007AT1LZC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #308,310 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the Horse's Mouth. 5 Jan. 2012
By hazzers
Having not expected too much from this tome when it dropped out of my Xmas goodie bag I ended up being pleasantly surprised by it. It wasn't what I had expected. I expected a one sided commentary style narrative by an ex-soldier turned mercenary who was only in Sierra Leone for 6 months or so but instead got the inside story from a man who was there pre and post coup as well as being an individual who, having outgrown and surpassed his original role as a paid member of a private security firm, stayed and played his part admirably, together with amazing characters like Juba the South African chopper pilot, during the toughest fighting the country saw. And who proved himself to be an invaluable cog in the slim mechanism that helped to prevent the collapse of Freetown and, God only know what, apocalyptic scenes that that would have brought. The testament of men like Chief Hinga Norman, Sir Peter Penfold and many others to Fred's courage and dedication is impressive. Equally impressive is his honesty and candour which seems to be without ego. I have found that that rare quality is almost always one held by members of the Special Forces rather than those who never quite made the grade. Easy to understand why the British Military hierarchy specifically requested Fred and his colleagues assistance with the UK government sanctioned Op Barras in 2000, the joint Special Forces and Para operation to rescue the Royal Irish Regiment soldiers captured by the West Side Boys, an operation which brought the belated intervention of the British government and helped finally restore lasting stability to the region. Read more ›
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2.0 out of 5 stars This book is not about F.Marafono 16 Dec. 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book was supposed to be the biography of Fred Marafono. It isn't. At all. It is really an account, quite detailed at that, of the Sierra Leone's recent history. With a little Fred Marafono in it. But only a little. And nothing about his SAS past. There is far more (and more substantial) information about Chief Norman and Peter Penfold than Fred. So, if you're into the history of that area and/or some African or British political backstabbing, this is the book for you. If you're after Fred's biography, better look elsewhere. For what it is, it is fairly ok written - but could be better (say without the typo errors).
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DILIGENT AND FACTUAL 20 Dec. 2011
I have read a number of books by Hamish Ross and found them all to be factual and well written. I have also been a guest at the Special Forces Club in London when he spoke about Paddy Mayne prior to the publication of the book. Hamish Ross is a diligent and softly spoken Scotsman who spent hours sorting through old SAS and Mayne Family records to unearth some new and interesting angles. He spoke clearly and with impressive detail. The Mayne family were equally impressed with the results.

With this book Hamish has the advantage of Fred still being alive and sound of mind, a bonus when trying to eek out the facts of recent military history.
Fred is an SAS legend and was involved in Operation Barras in Sierra Leone.

I think these two men have no axe to grind or no point to prove.

It is simply a factual and historical record on an extraordinary man in a little known profession and I would recommend it to anyone.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Poor memorial to a great soldier 9 Feb. 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a soldier who knows Sierra Leone well (having served there for 2.5 years) and knowing many of the characters in this story, I was much looking forward to this read. It's a great story, but what a shame that it's so poorly written - not Fred's stuff, which is taken directly from contemporaneous notes, but Mr Ross' overall narrative; it's clunky, the style seems to change as if written by numerous authors and the proof-reading was done by a chimp. Fred deserved better!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I knew some of the companies. 3 Dec. 2011
By limni
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As my title suggests. There are various security outfits mentioned that I have been on the outer sphere of with my work in Central and East Africa. As a book and story, not bad and it has the right emphasis as to who the bad guys are/were. I do have an objection. Why is the SAS badge on the cover? They are not really a part of the plot within the book at all except that the main character had served in the Regiment.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not as expected 16 April 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
1. Don't buy this via kindle. The formatting is not set up and makes it difficult to follow.
2. Whilst the storyline is meant to cover the role of Fred, in reality, it covers the battle for Sierra Leone. The work of the co-author is not detailed in the way expected if you are seeking a bravo two zero style tale. This is more a story of betrayal, incompetence and greed by governments and those seeking self serving interests. It does tell the stories of true hero's but that's not what the title suggests as these are not Fred but Ninga and Penfold.
3. Overall I was disappointed with the writing style and content as it failed to tell me much about the purported subject. It did however cover the chicanery relating to Sierra Leone very well.
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