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Ghost Force: The Secret History Of The SAS (CASSELL MILITARY PAPERBACKS) [Paperback]

Ken Connor
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Book Description


Containing explosive details of operations unknown even to 99% of serving SAS men, this is the definitive history of the regiment written by an ex-SAS soldier of 23 years' experience. Connor reveals how the assassination of President Kennedy gave the SAS truly global significance. He tells the truth about SAS involvement in the Falklands War and the Gulf War and about their operation against the IRA in Gibraltar. Compiled from personal experience and the eye-witness accounts of friends and colleagues, this book reveals the inside story of SAS operations in both conventional war and counter-terrorist operations.

'Controversial, blistering and unique' - Andy McNab

Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (9 Mar 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0304363677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0304363674
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

An insider's history of the SAS and a sensational examination of Britain's true role in international politics over the last fifty years.

About the Author

Ken Connor was a serving soldier in the SAS for 23 years and the key figure in the creation of the anti terrorist unit responsible for storming the Iranian embassy. He is currently a much sought after television and radio commentator on the Afghan crisis.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I'm not a fan of the Andy McNab type of gee-whiz, aren't-the-SAS-cool book, preferring solid scholarship and proper research, and I only bought this because I was doing research on special forces units for something I was writing and this looked a bit more sober than the usual type of thing.

There's a quote on the back from the SAS journal 'Mars and Minerva' saying 'This book should not have been published', although that doesn't necessarily mean that Connor is really saying things that the regiment would prefer him not to say; it could mean that the book is just wildly inaccurate. It has to be said, though, that Connor's understanding of the history and politics of the conflicts that the SAS has been involved in is a lot deeper and more sympathetic than you get from most books written by soldiers. Presumably a lifetime spent fighting some of the British government's dirtiest wars has given him an acute bull***t detector. The details of SAS selection and training are very interesting, the accounts of the battles are vivid and visceral and what comes across most is the author's respect for his comrades and his deep scepticism about the myth of the SAS as a super-cool, ultra-efficient fighting force; it's so deep that he ends the book with the suggestion that the SAS has simply become too famous to be any use anymore, and that it ought to be either scrapped completely or kept on as a tourist attraction while a new, more secret, 'ghost force' is formed that can retain the unit's old qualities of obscurity and deniability.

Not a book if you just want gung-ho war stories about the SAS, this is a thoughtful and critical history of how the regiment has been deployed over the years and an essay on what its future role might be. Important for anyone interested in contemporary military history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 16 Feb 2000
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading many books by ex-SAS troopers, it was interesting to read an account which also details the history of the unit from the 1950's to the Gulf. So many of the operations are covered in great detail with great political insight as well as the SAS point of view. A most engrossing read which I can recommend to anyone interested in demise of the British Empire since WWII and special forces in particular. I look forward to another book from this author - and hope the British military chiefs read it as bedtime reading material too - we can learn from the past.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An extremely thought provoking book 26 Jun 2000
Ken Connor's insight into the world's best fighting force is an excxeptionally interesting read that makes you sit up, take note and admit to yourself "I am glad I am not a terrorist". If we take the account as gospel, then it is all about extremely brave and resourceful men that adapt to every situation with the minimum of fuss. They are hampered by some politicians (Geoffrey Howe) and positively encouraged by others (this is probably the only book that actually has Maggie Thatcher in a good light). Of particular interest are the amazing feats of endurance (in swamp-filled jungles and desert mountains) as well as the hearts and mind approach and the differing roles that Northern Ireland and the Eastern Bloc provide. I am sure there is plenty that the author chose to leave out, but he writes with a fluency and depth that leaves the reader simply thinking "Wow!"
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Some Truth Behind The Shadows 17 Sep 2003
This book is a must for anyone with any interest in Special Forces and Operations. I think it would also be invaluable to anyone who thinks the CIA as the lone evil entity in the world.
The text covers all major and unknown conflicts the SAS have been involved in since their re-formation following WW2. From the deserts of the Oman, the jungles of the Malayan Emergency, the colds of the Falklands, all the way back to the desert, this time in Iraq. What I personally like about the book, is that the text in the chapters reads as a fact based text book. Preceeding each chapter is preceeded by a short personal tale of the conflict at hand, but it is by far the best written SpecForces book out there, as the other ex-SAS etc soldiers tend to write in a less than exemplurary manner.
The final chapter in the book covers what the future might hold for the SAS, amid a world of air superiority and digital battlefields. His statements on the topic are sweeping and brink on controversy. He may seem out-spoken, but he has a good point. It is however worth bearing in mind that the book was written pre 9/11, so there is no coverage or opinion on the "War On Terrorism". I think this completely changes the complexion of the final pages of this book, as the world we live in now, is already completely different to the one we knew in 2000.
If you had any pre-conceptions that the British Government is or has ever been a 'clean' institution, prepare your view to be smashed. Told with unflinching honesty and attention to detail, Ken Connor dispels all the thoughts we might have had, Proving to us all, that there's life in the old British dog yet.
A cracking read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SAS - The Very Best - Here is why! 3 Oct 2007
It is hard to believe this is written by a veteran and not a Geo-Politically orientated Historian. As an academic work I found that it put world events throughout the 20th Century into a new context and also gave a unique insight into how the SAS operated in different theatre's of conflict.

I do disagree with the author regarding the future of the regiment - but do agree that the approach has to change in how they conduct operations and the scrutiny they find themselves under both from outside and within the armed forces - I recommend this book.

Who Dares Wins.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars If you like reading about the SAS, buy this book.
A book worth reading, shame that Ken sneers at "Attached" ranks and calls them non-combatants. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Simon A
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghost Force is fantastic
This is a great read. The history is really well written and gives an insight to the foundation of the modern SAS.
Published 11 months ago by Donald Hilliage
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb book
A refreshing and candid glimpse into the secretive World of the SAS. Written by someone who has first hand experience of the Regiment who does not seek to glorify the horrors of... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Ian
1.0 out of 5 stars Biased and inaccurate
"How the SAS won the War" would be a better title for this mishmash of Connor-style pro-SAS and far-left political bias. Read more
Published on 29 April 2012 by gafferaffer
5.0 out of 5 stars Who reads wins!
I am fascinated with the subject of special forces. Ever since I was a very young boy playing 'war' in the woods and fields nearby, armed with a plastic M16 with sound effects on... Read more
Published on 7 May 2011 by Winston Bugle
5.0 out of 5 stars Not like any other book on the SAS's history
Ken connor covers most if not all of the well-known SAS operations throughout the last 60 years and gives rivid and detailed descriptions of WW2, oman, aden, malaya, borneo,... Read more
Published on 13 May 2008 by T. Glover
Published on 11 Jan 2008 by Leeds lass
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes Rambo sound like a newscaster
Read this book during a plane flight and it has several interesting theories. Even the illustrations are interesting such as the photo showing a trainee very slightly sagging with... Read more
Published on 12 April 2007 by Jay
3.0 out of 5 stars SAS know it all
Sure the SAS have had many years of experience, however Ken Connor at times exaggerates how "good" the SAS are at the expense of other units like the SBS and Royal Marines. Read more
Published on 30 Oct 2006 by Mr. P. S. L. Maher
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad
not a bad book, but just too much on politics. his opinion of the sas going to disband is a new one... Read more
Published on 14 Oct 2006 by Ben Greaves
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