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Hidden Soldier: An Irish Legionnaire’s Wars from Bosnia to Iraq [Kindle Edition]

Padraig O'Keeffe , Ralph Riegel
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Pádraig O’Keeffe joined the elite and secretive French Foreign Legion at the age of twenty, seeking a challenge that would absorb his interests and intensity. He served with the Legion in Cambodia and Bosnia, then returned to civilian life, but military habits would not allow him to settle.

His need for intense excitement and extreme danger drove him back to the lifestyle he knew and loved, and using his Legion training, he became a ‘hidden soldier’ by opting for security missions in Iraq and Haiti.

In Iraq he was the sole survivor of an ambush in no man’s land between Abu Ghraib and Fallujah, the most dangerous place on earth.

An intense, exciting and vivid account of extraordinary and sometimes horrific events, Hidden Soldier lifts the veil on the dark and shadowy world of security contractors and what the situation is really like in Iraq as well as other trouble spots.

This bestseller also includes photographs taken by Padraig O’Keeffe while he was a Legionnaire and when he was in Iraq.

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Product Description


'A marvellous read'

(Sunday Tribune)

'A joy to armchair warriors and travellers.'

(Irish Times)

'A remarkable story of life and death in the world’s most dangerous war zones'

(Irish Independent)

'The book is at once a taut, fascinating insight into one man's quest to be a noble soldier and a shocking expose of how difficult that is to achieve.'

(Irish Mail on Sunday)

About the Author

Pádraig O'Keefe is from Cobh, Co Cork. A former Legionnaire, he is now a security expert who works in the most dangerous parts of the world.

Ralph Riegel lives in Cork. He has worked as a journalist for several newspapers including The Cork Examiner, The Evening Echo, The Evening Herald and The Sunday Independent and is the southern correspondent for The Irish Independent. He is also a regular contributor to RTE, BBC and TV3 and to British newspapers including the (London) Independent and The Daily Telegraph.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 11 Oct. 2008
Always a bit of a wild child Padraig o keefe left his native Cork at the age of twenty one to fulfill his dream of becoming a soldier.His destination the almost mythical French Foreign Legion,this bold move set him on an extremely dangerous life path.Padraig tells it like it is from Bosnia to Cambodia to a near fatal ambush in Iraq the reader will not be spared the gory details.We see what life is like behind the closed doors of the Legion and the death row like existence of a private security operative in Fallujah.This sometimes graphic always gripping book is a must read but beware the faint hearted!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read 8 Jun. 2009
This is not one but two books. Part of it deals with the Foreign Legion and what it was like being there in the early 90's, while the remainder deals with the author's experiences as a 'hired gun' in some of the hotspots of the planet, over the last few years. The part of the book that deals with the Foreign Legion is interesting, in the sense that it relates the experiences of someone who has actually seen action with the Legion. This certainly is an advantage over other books on this subject. The second part of the book is also interesting in its own right, offering an insight into the world of security contractors in Iraq and elsewhere in the world. The impression I was left with was that some of the narrative, on both parts of the book, was somewhat spoiled by the author's misgivings about leaving the Legion - allegedly because of the deterioration of its standards during the author's stay - with the knowledge that he could never return. The author reverts to this point so frequently throughout the text that the reader could legitimately be left with some doubts as to his actual motives for leaving the Legion.
Other than that, an interesting book (in places, something of a page-turner) that I would recommend to anyone interested in the Legion and security contractors.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting book. In fact this is rather a collection of stories and things that happened to the author. Amazingly - all he does is unfinished., but put it all together and it makes sense and first of all brings you a great book.

Recommended - good for anyone. I was unable to put it down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read 17 Feb. 2012
Im from dublin and i joined the Legion in 2001, so a few years after paddy, but it was interesting for me to read the book as things that he was describing about the legion,the paths it was heading in when he was leaving it.... Were how it was for me as i was there.
Things like the losing of its Esprit de corps, the mass influx of the Polish and the rest of the East europeans registered with me as i read.
Aswell i found it interesting as his legion was alot harder than my legion, when i was there we certainly got punchs and slaps on a regular basis, but never a rifle butt to the face like poor old paddy..... i remember the NCOs telling us they had it harder than us when they were coming up ha ha ha
I found the start of the book a bit slow, but i suppose you get that with every book having to explain the obligatory childhood story etc....
But its a good read, especially to anyone whos served in the legion or like-wise.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great book 1 May 2009
excellent read, think that he is holding back when telling about his first time in Bosnia because there was plenty of fun and (illegal) action. i know cause was there in 1993 attached to the 2e rep (i was a member ofthe UN Sign Bat)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book - real page-turner 5 Sept. 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is at times funny, sad, shocking - but always fascinating. Written with real wit and intelligence, it's sometimes easy to forget that Paddy is writing about real life; some of the situations are so hair-raising, the violence so casual. At times un-put-downable, this is a real page-turner of a book. Highly recommended.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent honest and raw 29 Nov. 2008
This is a fantastically honest book from a very level headed guy. Im in the Military myself and this book is a must for ant military enthusiasts and those just interested in a good honest read. If your looking for a detailed account of the legions training you may be a little disappointed . However if your looking to find an excellent account of a soldiers life, attitude, and mental change this is the book for you. In general a great read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars foreign legion biography 13 Oct. 2010
Having had some experience with the legion,i was eager to read this book,as usual the ones that aren't bigged up are the best.Did not want to put it down,excellent.Nice to read a factual,action packed biography on a subject that most people in the uk know bugger all about.Shame that as per many soldiers,they pay such a heavy mental price.
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