The new book by David Hebditch and Ken Connor, author of "Ghost Force: The Secret History of the SAS", appears to be a guide to planning and executing a military coup...
Clearly from the title alone this is NOT the sort of book that should be required reading for defence force personnel.
But Hebditch and Connor's book is far from an endorsement of illegal activities by defence forces but rather a highly informative guide to the evil practice of coups written in a surprisingly entertaining format.
Taking advantage of a fictional narrative introducing each chapter, about what appears to be British special forces launching a coup in the UK, and Hebditch's ironic writing style the reader is treated to the equivalent of a university education on coups without hardly noticing it.
Throughout the book Ken Connor makes many observations from his own personal experience as the longest serving member of the British Special Air Service, 23 years that put him up close with the realities of military coups.
The book explores the history of the modern coup, there were 14 coups or coup attempts in 2004 alone, and looks at why and how they happen.
Its does so by referring to the human experience of these coups, not high-blown academic interpretation, and still retains a certain dark humour.
Ultimately the book is a work of military history and illuminates this rarely talked about unsavoury element of the military experience that is fortunately outside the modern history of English speaking nations.
However with many soldiers serving overseas from western countries understanding military coups is vital not only to protect our own force but also to promote respect for legitimate government in our allied forces.
"How to stage a military coup" should be read by military personnel to prepare them for the challenges of operating overseas and for some good entertainment.
Who knows, maybe knowing how to stage a coup will help a western soldier from stopping one in its tracks.
- Abraham Gubler, editor DefenceToday: Defence Capabilities Magazine