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Bush War Operator. Memoirs Of The Rhodesian Light Infantry, Selous Scouts And Beyond Paperback – 15 Sep 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Helion and Company (15 Sept. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1909982776
  • ISBN-13: 978-1909982772
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 15.9 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 123,670 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

The finest account I've read on the Selous Scouts. Without any kind of glorification whatsoever, Andy Balaam tells it like it was the fear, the terror, the adrenaline highs of combat in the bush and is one of the first accounts to actually describe in depth the workings of the Scouts famed pseudo ops . --Chris Cocks, bestselling author of Fireforce: One Man's War in the Rhodesian Light Infantry

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jason Woodman on 24 Oct. 2014
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What really comes through in Andy Balaam's memoir is the utter gut wrenching hardship, fear and misery of Selous Scouts pseudo operations in the Rhodesian bush. I cannot recall having read a more compelling description of surviving for weeks on end in extreme heat, on your own, facing a chronic shortage of rations and water and still having to hold it together to be prepared to gather intelligence on a ruthless, savage and uncompromising enemy and in the end still be ready to fight. Balaam describes in eye watering detail the effect of every insect bite and plant sting, the smell ( in one anecdote he describes a helicopter extraction when the pilot and technician wore surgical masks to protect them from the smell of him and his team) of being encased in rotting clothes for weeks on end, unwashed and covered in weeping sores and blisters. Then there is his honest description of 'fear', the churning stomach and banging headaches, uncontrollable sweating, shaking, limbs alternating from feeling like jelly to being so stiff he could barely move, gripping his AK-47 so tightly his hands hurt. His words made me question what sort of men it was who continually subjected themselves to this hell for months and years on end. The answer, I concluded, was men who believed passionately in the cause for which they were fighting.

This shows through in Balaam's sense of devastation at realising that the cause for which he had fought for so long was finally lost. He moves to South Africa, as so many ex Rhodesian special forces did, and undertakes numerous dubious training ops playing his part in the creation of the ultimately ineffectual Lesotho Liberation Army, Transkeian special forces and an attempted coup in Ciskei which nearly leads to his demise.
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I served alongside the author with the Selous Scouts Regiment of the Rhodesian Army during the 1970's and he covers many important operations of a clandestine nature. I have found it well written and a must for those who enjoy military history and personal adventures, I recommend this publication and found it superb.
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I read this book after re-reading Pamwe Chete and The Elite, and then reading Jake Harper-Ronald’s book Sunday Bloody Sunday followed by Dennis Croukamp’s The Bush War In Rhodesia. Those books all followed a fairly similar theme, in that Pamwe Chete and The Elite described the unit’s creation, missions and disbandment whilst Sunday Bloody Sunday and The Bush War In Rhodesia were a fairly detailed account of the relevant author’s career in the armed forces from start to finish including their life after leaving the Rhodesian forces.

So when I started this book, my assumption was that it would follow along similar veins. However, rather being a narrative on the author's complete career, it was written more as a series of personal thoughts as he went along. This threw me for a while as I adjusted to the style of writing. For example, rather than reading about a mission from start to finish, he describes what was going on in his thoughts at the time and then moved on to the next experience even though he hadn’t perhaps explained how the mission had actually ended.

However, once I had adjusted to this, I loved it! In a way, it probably helped that I had read the other books, especially Pamwe Chete, as I knew what mission he was on and could now relate his intense personal thoughts, feelings and experience to the particular mission. And once I’d done that, I was hooked and for two nights in a row I stayed up till 1am as I couldn’t put it down! Having read Harper-Ronald’s and Croukamp’s books, I could tell that he had been on many of the same missions with them which created a great picture in my head as I went along.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mr. K. RJ Graham on 13 Nov. 2014
Very strong on the Rhodesian conflict but seemed a bit muddled on the Transkei/Ciskei chapters
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