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Soldier Five: The Real Truth About The Bravo Two Zero Mission: The Real Story of the Bravo Two Zero Mission [Hardcover]

Mike Coburn
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
RRP: 17.99
Price: 16.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

4 Mar 2004
SOLDIER FIVE is an elite soldier's memoir of his time within the Special Air Service (SAS) and, in particular, his experiences during the Gulf War. As a member of the Special Forces patrol now famously known by its call sign Bravo Two Zero, he and seven others were inserted hundreds of kilometres behind enemy lines. Their mission was to reconnoitre targets, undertake surveillance of Scud missile sites and sabotage Iraqi communications links, but was to end in desperate failure.From the outset the patrol was dogged by problems that contributed both directly and indirectly to the demise of the mission. The patrol's compromise, and subsequent attempts to evade Iraqui troops, resulted in four members of Bravo Two Zero being captured and a further three killed. One escaped. But the story goes further than the Gulf War itself. Despite numerous books, films and articles on the same subject, the British Government has done its utmost to thwart the release of Soldier Five, at one stage claiming the book in its entirety was confidential. A campaign of harassment that took some four-and-a-half years of litigation to resolve has now resulted in this explosive publication. SOLDIER FIVE is a gripping and suspenseful account of one man's experiences as a Special Forces soldier. Revealing his conflicts, loyalties and relationships forged, it is the resolution of a soldier's determined fight to see his story told.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing; Reprint edition (4 Mar 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840188669
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840188660
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 432,464 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Mike Coburn was born in New Zealand but now lives in Australia with his wife and children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
104 of 106 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A credible account 14 Mar 2005
Format:Paperback
When I first opened Mike Coburn's "Soldier Five" it became apparent to me that this was a labour of love. The first few pages before we are plunged into the now infamous story immediately inform the reader of Coburn's intentions. Unlike the self gratifying accounts of Ryan and McNab, it is clear that his primary intentions are to clear the name of an upstanding and proficient soldier in Vince Phillips.
The book kicks off in much the same way as McNab's "Bravo two Zero", describing the build up to the patrol's insertion into the Gulf. I found the lack of macho and self afirming nostalgia regarding the famous SAS banter distinctly refreshing. Coburn discribes eloquently this passage of time. A trend which continues throughout the book.
As any reader of alternative accounts will know, nothing much goes right from the moment they step on the helicopter. I found Coburn to handle the ensuing section of the story with great tact, combining suspense, humour and fact - the latter being an element sadly lacking from McNab and Ryan's books. Distinctly unlike the other books at no point does Coburn use his story as a means to massage his ego regarding his abilities as a soldier or person. This is something which I found to allow me to believe what I was reading - why would I have a reason not to? In fact Coburn constantly references the fact that he really was the 'baby' of the patrol having been selected only some six months prior to engagement.
This combination of elements leads to a thrilling read. Its a definate cliché, but I really could not stop my fingers grabbing at the pages in anticipation of what was to come. His story reaches a crescendo as he comes face to face with an Iraqi private.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A brave effort 2 May 2004
Format:Hardcover
Mike Coburn, Soldier Five is an interesting book in that is gives another perspective on the Bravo Two Zero story. I remember thinking that Andy McNabs version (Bravo Two Zero) was really upbeat and positive and did not paint anyone in a really negative light while Chris Ryans version had the subtitle (the real hero of the mission!) and tended to be far more critical, especially of Vince Philips. I thought at the time that I could see myself following AMN. but not CR. just because of the negativity shown. However Mike's version claims to be written to put the story straight. He is clearly annoyed about the flak that Vince Philips and his family have received! ( Elsewhere on the web we learn that Vince's dad died in sorrow about the spin put on his "perfomance" in the mission). Some heavy suggestions are made in the book about the attitude of the SAS leadership back home to men on the run behind the lines. It would seem that the leadership made the decision that it was not safe to try a rescue and the 8 men were effectively left to their own fate. Mike Coburn clearly sees this as a kick in the teeth and unexpected. The opening line of the CO when they got back was they it had been decided that "there would not be a court martial!". Another slap in the face for guys who had survived what they had gone thru.
Mike Coburn, Soldier Five is a far less upbeat verion of the Bravo Two Zero story than Andy Mcnab's but the last bit of the book outlines the outrageous lengths the UK govt has gone to just to stop the book. Who do we believe? Well I always wondered about the cynical, negative spin that Andy McNab introduced into all his fiction books but I can now see the inspiration for Nick Stone-the guy who is crapped on by the powers that be- Mike Coburn's account gives the basis for this perfectly! Read this book!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!! 14 July 2006
Format:Paperback
Fantastic book! All the way through the horrifying events of the book, Coburn manages to keep his writing humorous and positive. Very well written indeed, it portrays the story really well. Very good writing. The only negative thing i have to say is it's a real shame he hasn't written any other books!! I have searched for other titles by him for ages and ages, hoping he would write something else like Geordie and Andy, and am tremendously disappointed.

This book was written with a different style from The One That Got Away and Bravo Two Zero; while Bravo Two Zero is gory, horrifying and incredibly depressing, and The One That Got Away (also a fantastic book!!) is a clean-cut quite unemotional depiction of the story, Mike looks at the story from different angles, adds some humour and mixes out a quite optimistic story where he f.ex. sees no need to write about wounds with horrifying detail and description.

A really good read! Absolutely worth your money. You won't be disappointed! Seven stars!!!!
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67 of 71 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
If you are interested in this book then you are probably already familiar with the infamous Bravo Two Zero SAS mission and the controversy surrounding it. Soldier Five is the fourth book published about the mission. The first book by patrol leader Andy McNab was entitled "Bravo Two Zero". Chris Ryan, the only member of the patrol who managed to evade death or capture, quickly followed suit with his book, "The One That Got Away". And so began the huge controversy and debate over what really happened during the mission, and where to place blame for its unfortunate outcome (three members of the patrol dead, four captured and tortured, with only one escaping capture or death)
It's been pretty much established that Andy McNab greatly exaggerated and even fabricated a number of key events in his book. It's been shown that Chris Ryan distorted facts and added a few embellishments as well. Ryan also scapegoated the patrol's 2nd in command, Vince Phillips (who died during the mission) for much of what went wrong, portraying him as cowardly and generally incompetent. The other surviving members of B20 as well as others in the SAS adamantly spoke out against Ryan for this.
As of now, there are quite a few books available that deal with the events of Bravo Two Zero. Aside from McNab, Ryan, and Coburn's books, there is also "The Real Bravo Two Zero" by Michael Asher. Peter Ratcliffe also comments briefly on B20 in "Eye of the Storm". For a clear perspective on things, it would be worth examining all the accounts mentioned above and drawing your own conclusion.
After looking at all accounts and making my own analysis, I believe that Soldier Five is the most credible account of the B20 mission.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor quality book
I am returning this book as it is most definitely not in the described condition. While not particularly tatty the pages are dirty enough to dissuade you from touching them.
Published 4 months ago by Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Another SAS book that gives the real life story of action in the war it covers. It shows the guts and get go the men have.
Published 5 months ago by Keith Goldsmith
5.0 out of 5 stars Balanced account
Most would have read Steve Mitchell's (sorry, Andy McNab's) book; Bravo Two Zero. This is a more balanced account of what happened to that patrol all those years ago. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ross Kinner
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good
Very good read. Not a big fan of soldiers, particularly SAS, books. Too much Bergen, tabbing, head shed jargon which is self-absorbed. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Colonel Blimp
3.0 out of 5 stars Another version of a true mess
I like getting different views of the same story and also was interested in the account of his time in the NZSAS.
Published 10 months ago by M S Smith
4.0 out of 5 stars Writing the English language
I do wish that the people who write reviews would learn to spell. The glaring errors detract from the actual review!
Published 16 months ago by T. Binder
4.0 out of 5 stars Good enough, presents the whole picture
I think this is the last of the Bravo Two Zero books that I have or will read.
This presents a more balanced view of the affair. Read more
Published 17 months ago by C. McCloskey
5.0 out of 5 stars The Truth
Don't read Andy McKnobs bloated version if you want the truth without dramatisation then this is the one to read. Read more
Published 17 months ago by pauldon56
4.0 out of 5 stars Disillusionment and Betrayal
I bought this book in a bout of renewed interest about the SAS in the eighties and nineties.
I have read "The One That Got Away" and "Bravo Two Zero" all accounts of the now... Read more
Published 18 months ago by P. J. Mackenzie
3.0 out of 5 stars Solder Five
A readable, and reasonably fluently-written book - although conceivably "ghosted, like so many others.???? Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mr. M. Budding
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