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Pathfinder: A Special Forces Mission Behind Enemy Lines [Paperback]

David Blakeley
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
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Book Description

9 May 2013

First in - the official motto of one of the British Army's smallest and most secretive units, 16 Air Assault Brigade's Pathfinder Platoon. Unofficially, they are the bastard son of the SAS. And, like their counterparts in Hereford, the job of the Pathfinders is to operate unseen and undetected deep behind enemy lines.

When British forces were deployed to Iraq in 2003, Captain David Blakeley was given command of a reconnaissance mission of such critical importance that it could change the course of the war. It's the story of nine men, operating alone and unsupported, 50 miles ahead of a US Recon Marine advance and heading straight into a hornets' nest, teeming with thousands of heavily armed enemy forces. This is the first account of that extraordinary mission - abandoned by coalition command, left with no option but to fight their way out of the enemy's backyard.

And it provides a gripping insight into the Pathfinders themselves, a shadowy unit, just 45 men strong, that plies its trade from the skies. Trained to parachute into enemy territory far beyond the forward edge of battle - freefalling from high altitude breathing bottled oxygen and employing the latest skydiving technology - the PF are unique.

Because of new rules introduced since the publication of BRAVO TWO ZERO, there have been no first-hand accounts of British Special Forces waging modern-day warfare for nearly a decade. And no member of the Pathfinders has ever told their story before. Until now. PATHFINDER is the only first-hand account of a UKSF mission to emerge for nearly a generation. And it could be the last.

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Pathfinder: A Special Forces Mission Behind Enemy Lines + No Easy Day: The Only First-hand Account of the Navy Seal Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden + Lone Survivor: The Incredible True Story of Navy SEALs Under Siege
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (9 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409129020
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409129028
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,744 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Captain David Blakeley was Second in Command of the elite British military unit the Pathfinders, also known as "The Ghost Platoon". He led the most audacious mission of the Iraq War, commanding a patrol on a mission deep behind enemy lines - subject of the forthcoming book, Pathfinder, to be published by Orion in May 2012. Prior to that he was amongst the first British soldiers operating in Afghanistan post 9/11, working with Afghan Warlords and irregular forces.

At 21 years of age David was promoted to be the youngest Captain in the British Army, going on to serve in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and Iraq. He has taught and presented at military seminars, and was chosen as the British Army representative for a series of NATO 'Partnership for Peace' programmes. After a serious injury on a mission behind enemy lines he was told that he would be invalided out of the military, and began the long process of physical rehabilitation at Hedley Court. He left the military in 2006, but not before regaining full use of all his limbs and 100% physical fitness.

Since leaving the military he has worked as a consultant to TV and Film companies. He has also worked on a number of high profile computer games including the latest 'Alien Verses Predator'. He has also fronted a number of masculine advertising campaigns including Harley Davidson. He is attached as the lead presenter to a number of TV format shows in development.

Product Description


Real-life black ops - a must have (Bestselling Author Frederick Forsyth)

Our elite forces in blistering action against all odds (Bear Grylls)

Reveal[s] the entire operation as well as the ugly story of how they were left to possible capture or death by their senior commanders (The Independent)

This account is so gripping that I read the review copy from cover to cover within 48 hours of receiving it just before this issue went to press. (Combat and Survival)

A truly extraordinary book; fast-paced, gripping, authentic. A taut telling of an elite mission that helped change the course of a war. I joined the Regiment with David Blakeley and served alongside him in Kosovo and Iraq. He was a dynamic and inspirational leader. (Dan Jarvis, Mbe Mp)

Blistering action behind enemy lines - a true soldier's story (Big Phil Champion, Author Of Born Fearless)

An incredible story of heroism and honour beyond measure. Men may want to be David Blakeley, and women will surely want to date him! (Olivia Lee)

A fascinating and gripping tale of daring do (MILITARY MACHINES INTERNATIONAL) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Book Description

Nine men. 2,000 enemies. No back-up. No air support. No rescue. No chance...The SUNDAY TIMES bestseller.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read from cover to cover! 14 Jun 2012
This book is a great read and had me gripped from start to finish. From the moment the action kicks off it doesn't stop and you get to really visualize what these guys went through and the close calls had me completely on edge! As a reader i tend to dip in and out of books on war, but this is one i would definitely recommend.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Most definitely a 'yes' 1 Mar 2013
I must confess to being a bit sceptical when a friend recommended I read this. It's been ten years & I kind of thought all the best books had come out about this war - and said so. I'm ex-forces and like the genre but not so much I can suffer an average or worse book - esp as I'm normally a slow reader. So I was wrong and I'm big enough to write my penance! The book was excellent on all levels and really swept me into his world and carried me along. Obviously the events/story = v strong & truly edge of the seat stuff but what I think it has over, say Bravo 2 Zero, etc is that the guy can obviously WRITE. It has that writer's need to convey but still maintain the ease of reading - descriptions, characters become real, their motives and why decisions are taken (at all levels, top to bottom - partly helped by the fact that Blakeley was 2IC of the unit AND fighting with his patrol, leading from the front). It's also honest eg the moments of self-doubt and the loneliness of being in charge: as an officer you can't ever quite relax as one of the boys. This honesty is what I found lacking in books like Chris Kyle (RIP)'s account. There's the laugh out loud stuff that I think only ex-service writers can convey. I like Sebastian Faulks but even in WW1 the soldiers were having laughs - it's what bonds and makes a unit great. I actually would have given this 5 stars if the book had been bigger - I've waited this long to hear this story and I felt like I could have done with more, say about his early days. Maybe that wasn't the writer's fault or maybe he's going to do more. I hope the latter. Penance done, enjoy!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a read 27 April 2013
By JohnnyP
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Might sound a bit boys own but this account was very gripping.
All concerned must have been blessed to get through as they did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 22 May 2013
By Scott
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a great book with a great look into the Special Forces, keeps you hooked and David Blakeley has written it in great detail. Would recommend..
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read 18 April 2013
By Phil
Cover to cover I was fully immersed into the book. Informative and a great combination of humour and intensity throughout the book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding 18 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Incredible escape, good comrades, good decisions by Chinese parliament. Disappointed by Headshed reaction for air and their take on an operational decisions made on the ground by experienced operators. They should have been put in a pinkish and sent out front. I would wager an entirely different reaction. Well done David and the lads. DON Monro
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 18 Oct 2013
By Anna Q
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book opens up a new world to all of us. Heartrendering at times and very well written and gives the reader an insight into the forces that we would never know.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read 6 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Well written book about a team of special forces I'd never even heard of!

The bravery of these men contrast starkly against the seeming lack of funding and kit our forces all seem to suffer from
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but a bit repetative
I was looking forward to teasing this book having read many similar books however I found that we seemed to keep repeating alot of the same material, if I read about HALO and HAH... Read more
Published 17 hours ago by B McMEEKING
5.0 out of 5 stars Where were the medals?
Well written account of a mission. I could feel the disappointment in the lack of support from the top brass. They all should have received top awards. Read more
Published 4 days ago by R Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars Held Interest throughout
Very well written and presented. Held my attention and interest throughout and not dry, armament orientated, story. Would buy more books by this author, id I could get them!
Published 19 days ago by joyce rowe
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't read it.
'Didn't read it !!' I hear you say. The book has profanity on every page that I looked at briefly on receipt. Read more
Published 21 days ago by bookbug
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping from start to finish
Anyone who has spent time in the forces will love the power of this book. You will be able to relate to the bull s*** the top brass pass down the chain just to save there own ass.
Published 27 days ago by John Dance
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
This is an amazing read. i could not put the book down. the whole way through the war. great insight.
Published 1 month ago by Warrick Glossop
5.0 out of 5 stars Balls of steel, hats off to you sir..
A fantastically written account of life as a Pathfinder in the thick of it. Hats off to the author for speaking out. Boo to the head shed for the lack of air support. Read more
Published 1 month ago by P. Nunez
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Great insight into the pathfinders (an army group I have nver heard of prior to reading this) and a great story of behind enemy lines action. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Greg Flinn
4.0 out of 5 stars Pathfinder:A Special Forces Mission Behind Enemy Lines
A good account of an unknown battle. It high lights the command and control problems.
As well as the lack of essential equipment.
Published 1 month ago by Geoff Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book
I read this book from virtual cover to virtual cover over a weekend. I really couldn't put it down. It is a very well written and factual account of what some of our brave men in... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ms. C. Morgan
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