Let me start by saying that I have read every book publish about the Selous Scouts (or had coverage of the Selous Scouts), and this book rates at the top of the list. This is for a few reasons. The first is that this book is affordable for all to read about this deadly and world renowned elite force. Most books on the Selous Scouts are out of print and/or very expensive to obtain, for that matter most Rhodesian Bush War books are generally all very expensive to obtain. For one they are printed overseas and shipping is also very, very high. It is not uncommon for a book with shipping to be over eighty dollars which if you are not a collector would be ridicules to spend. So for me this book rates high just for this reason.
As for as content this book I will briefly hit some salient points;
Prelude - A Brief History of War in Rhodesia. This chapter covers briefly conflict from settlement to the fall of Rhodesia in 1980. As well, as the coverage of Rhodesian participation in WWII with the SAS/LRDG and Malaya.
Chapter One - The Formation of the Selous Scouts. This is an interesting chapter covering the evolution of the formation of the Selous Scouts from early beginning with nucleus of Special Air Service (SAS) troops and British South African Police (BSAP) experimenting with pseudo methods. This chapter clearly explains the command relationship between the Army, BSAP and Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), explaining the complicated but streamlined joint organization of the scouts. Finally it covers the initial selection and assessment process developed to get "into" the scouts.
Chapter Two - Operations Commence. Covers in detail the merging of FireForce operations with Selous Scout pseudo teams acting as "pathfinders" for the Rhodesian Light Infantry (Commando0 (RLI) direct action elements to kill and capture terrorist. As well this section elaborates on the "turning" of terrorist for pseudo-operations.
Chapter Three - External Operations - Terrorizing the Terrorist. This chapter does an excellent job at explaining the evolution of external operations by the Selous Scouts flying columns, as well it gives a brief overview of all the major external operations.
Chapter Four - Intelligence and the Reconnaissance Troop. Covers the importance of intelligence, to support pseudo-operations as the techniques became known and semi-compromised by the BSAP and terrorist. The second half is on the formation and operational employment of the Recce Troop, in particularly the employment of small team and singleton recce operators for external missions.
Chapter Five - The Selous Scouts Spies. Interesting look at the use of undercover Selous Scout agents externally in bordering countries for advance recce missions, intelligence collection, direct action and assassination.
Chapter Six - The Mud Begins to Stick. This chapter covers the beginning of the end of the Selous Scouts, due to rivalry and service in-fighting; ultimately covering up to Reid-Daly's retirement and the disbandment of the scouts. Also covers a lot of the allegations of illegal activities supposable conducted by the Selous Scouts to include chemical warfare and poaching.
Chapter Seven - Operation Miracle. This chapter covers some of the major operations up to "Miracle"; coving this operation in detail. As the author states this was the last hurrah for major Rhodesian operation. This was a somewhat conventional joint operation that included Rhodesian air assets, SAS, RLI and the Selous Scouts.
Chapter Eight - The End. Is a brief look at Operation Quartzes and some of the various plans to assassinate Mugabe during the turbulent transition period. As well as the demobilization and disbandment of the legendary Selous Scouts.
This book is lavishly illustrated with excellent maps, graphics and line drawings, as well as load of color and B&W photography, a lot I have not seen in other publications or on-line. The format of the book reminds me kind of like the Osprey line of books but with a whole lot more detail. The book is also physically larger at approximately 13.5"x 10.5" which is not a standard size print, but it works well with the format. This book is also volume four of the "africa@war" series, currently only a four volume set that includes;
Volume 1 - OPERATION DINGO: Rhodesian Raid on Chimoio and Tembue' 1977 (Africa at War)
Volume 2 - FRANCE IN CENTRAFRIQUE: From Bokassa and Operation Barracude to the Days of EUFOR (Africa@War)
Volume 3 - BATTLE FOR CASSINGA: South Africa's Controversial Cross-Border Raid, Angola 1978 (Africa@War)
If you found this book to be interesting I also recommend looking at;
"Pamwe Chete" by Reid-Daly.
"Selous Scouts - Top Secret War" by Peter Stiff and Reid-Daly.
"Assignment Selous Scouts: Inside Story of a Rhodesian Special Branch Officer" by Parker.
"The Bush War In Rhodesia: The Extraordinary Combat Memoir of a Rhodesian Reconnaissance Specialist" by Dennis Croukamp.
"Selous Scouts: Rhodesian War-A Pictorial Account" by Peter Stiff.
All I can say is this volume on the Selous Scouts is a must own and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in irregular warfare, counter-insurgency and military history.