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The Real Bravo Two Zero: The Truth Behind "Bravo Two Zero" (Cassell Military Paperbacks)

The Real Bravo Two Zero: The Truth Behind "Bravo Two Zero" (Cassell Military Paperbacks) [Kindle Edition]

Michael Asher
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

The Bravo Two Zero mission, in which an eight-man SAS patrol was discovered many miles behind Iraqui lines and had to make a run back for the border and safety, is probably the most famous incident involving British troops in the Gulf War. Two bestselling books--Bravo Two Zero and The One That Got Away--were published and two of the soldiers, using the pseudonyms "Andy McNab" and "Chris Ryan", were launched into new careers as writers. Even the most uncritical reader of the two books would have been aware that some artistic licence had been employed. What Michael Asher claims is the truth about Bravo Two Zero is, however, astonishing. Asher, fluent in Arabic and familiar with the ways of the desert Arabs, travelled to Iraq 10 years after the Gulf War and re-traced the steps of the SAS patrol, finding Bedouin eyewitnesses to events. There is an almost comical disparity between McNab and Ryan's version of the mission and the version Asher reports. According to McNab, when the patrol was discovered, it was by Iraqi soldiers and a furious firefight ensued with the SAS men downing a dozen or more men before fleeing. According to Asher, the mission was "compromised" by three Arab locals, one of them a man in his 70s, and the SAS wisely decided that discretion was the better part of valour and withdrew. According to Ryan, on his lonely journey to the Syrian border, he was obliged to kill two Iraqis, one with his bare hands. According to Asher's sources, he omitted to mention this at his initial de-briefing. One of Asher's aims in his book is to rehabilitate the reputation of Vince Phillips, one of the dead. Most readers of this book and of the tale told by the Arab who discovered Phillips's body will probably decide that he has done so. Yet Asher does not seem motivated by a desire to denigrate the heroism of McNab and Ryan. We get the heroes we want and Asher understands that the Rambo-like exploits they reported were what we, and the media, demanded of them. Their real heroism, respected by both Asher and the Bedouins to whom he spoke, lay in their powers of endurance and determination when utterly isolated and alone, hundreds of miles inside enemy territory. In The Real Bravo Two Zero Asher has written a far better and more humane book than either of the two he deconstructs, but he still seems to understand why McNab and Ryan produced the books they did.--Nick Rennison


'This book is much too good to be left to the SAS worshippers...readers will find his reconstruction of this '20th century Charge of the Light Brigade' absolutely enthralling and share his feeling that the true story is quite stirring enough without embellishments.' The Scotsman

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 700 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; New Ed edition (1 Dec 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0068PHUZE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #92,521 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Having served in the Army, I'm suspicious of accounts like this, even one by a Para and SAS veteran like Michael Asher. But to be honest, I was already suspicious of the previous accounts by B20 partol members McNabb and Ryan. So I bought this book, and overall, I'm glad I did, though saddened by some of what Asher seems to have found.

Ex SAS officer General Sir Peter de la Billiere's Gulf War memoir has a concise account of the B20 mission, concentrating on Ryan's tremendous escape. Funny thing is, "DLB" left out the most dramatic single epsode in Ryan's later book, where, now alone, the latter turns at bay and engages and smashes up 2 jeep-loads of pursuers, at night. There's no convincing security, military or other reason why "DLB" would leave this out. It's hard to avoid concluding that Ryan must have made it up later.

This book now leaves it hard to avoid the conclusion that the patrol members' books did a lot more "sexing up" of their already-dramatic stories, for publication.

Main weakness of this book, I think, is that Asher sets out with an agenda - to prove that patrol member Sgt Phillips didn't merit Ryan's unfavourable portrayal - even tho it's a noble agenda, starting with one can cloud judgement. Also I reckon Asher sets just a bit too much stock in differences between the other accounts - complete agreement is not going to happen, even with professionals. Others criticise him, despite Asher being alert to just this point, for being rather too ready to take the word of Arab civilians and policemen in Saddam's Iraq - who basically say that the tales of shootouts are either exaggerated or just invented.

But the point is, that the Arab/Bedouin accounts just ring more true.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 15 Aug 2013
By Gunnar
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Being a former artic commando and medic trained I know how the cold could inflict on a humans physical and mental condition. Besides I very well know how far 20k is and I actually have made that with a 80kg Bergen…. However “some” of the “fantastic” things Mc Nabb and Ryan are saying and claiming in their books does not add up And this was a feeling that I got from the start when reading their books. I am glad to learn that not all believes in their, what I consider obvious lies. And to that, lies that have badly hurt the Phillips family and V.Phillips memory. This book is a must read for anyone that are interested in something else than special forces sience fiction. *Peter Radcliff`s book Eye of the storm is also highly recommended for the same reason I might ad *.
Respect Michael and a bloody great book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking 7 Nov 2009
It is important to remember that historical events, particularly 'glorious failures' such as the Charge of the Light Brigade and the Bravo Two Zero patrol will forever be subject to speculation and there is little chance of ever knowing for sure the whole truth behind such operations. Michael Asher has merely added another view to the plethora of literature associated with the Bravo Two Zero mission. A number of people have criticised this book for its lack of "reliable sources" and Asher's iconoclastic viewpoint. I suspect that these unimaginative people simply find it a problem that Asher has thought outside the box and used interviews with Arabs and Iraqis who were present at the time rather than treating the words of McNab, Ryan and Coburn's accounts of the patrol as the definitive truth (which no doubt many British people would have found preferable). In my opinion Asher's viewpoint is only slightly less valid than the members of the patrol who have written there accounts, mainly because he was not actually on the patrol. This fact, however, should not mean that he is not entitled to his opinion and I believe that he has done the best job he can (if his interviewees were lying how was he to know?)and that this book provides thought provoking reading and simply another, higly readable account of the Bravo Two Zero patrol. If you are interested in the Bravo Two Zero mission then the best way to find out is to buy the book and see what you think.
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121 of 139 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Truth & Lies 17 Oct 2004
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Many people have criticised me for being too gullible as far as the Iraqis are concerned. However, it may be worth pointing out that there is a big difference between the Iraqis I interviewed and Ryan and McNab - I never caught them out in a lie. Ryan and McNab's versions of events were so completely in contrast, that both could not be true. The Iraqis I talked to, some of them over a long period, and at unguarded moments, were always entirely consistent in their story. They also often told their tales in front of large audiences of families and friends who would have known if they were lying.
Now this does not prove that they were telling the truth. Perhaps they were not. I exercised the same judgement that anyone else would exercise in the circumstances - journalists and police investigators do this all the time. I often gave Ryan and McNab the benefit of the doubt even when I suspected they were not telling the truth. All I can say is, in most cases, I felt that my witnesses were telling the truth to the best of my judgement.
They were certainly more convincing than the accounts of two people who not only disagreed over distances and numbers, but whose accounts were both different from what they said at their official debrief. How could McNab possibly have mistaken two kilometres for twenty?
Unlike those who have criticised me- and unlike Ryan and Mcnab - I know the Bedouin. I speak fluent Arabic and lived for years with a Bedouin tribe. Those people who assume my witnesses were lying 'simply because they were Iraqis' only know the Arabs from the propaganda put forth by the media. This has no connection with the reality.
Despite what they try to tell you in the news reports, the Arabs are not all demons, but real people.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved it a well good read thanks David....
Published 19 hours ago by david owen
5.0 out of 5 stars Sas
Good story
Published 11 days ago by Bikerman
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very detailed and interesting book and well researched.
Published 2 months ago by Simon W. Golding
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
As ther cover suggests The truth behind this mission.
Published 2 months ago by Painter
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
My Father was ex Special Forces, a fact I knew very little about as he took most of his experiences to his grave. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Grizzly
5.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking
Excellent, thought provoking book. As an ex-booty I have always wondered about the veracity of McNab and Ryans' accounts. I loved the books, when they first came out. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Gary Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
The explanations and the alternative views and opinions to the original book by 'McNab' are all very plausible.. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Steve
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Informative and more believable than mcnabbs account but has spoilt my view of the work the sas done in Iraq.
Published 11 months ago by sticky
5.0 out of 5 stars eye opening
I wouldn't normally read this category of book, but I couldn't resist it.
Now that I have read it, I have been educated; about the Bedouin and the SAS.
Published 11 months ago by Chris
1.0 out of 5 stars He wasn't there.
Asher was in the SAS, but wasn't on the B20 patrol.He prefers to believe the version given by the enemy. Asher books always show that he has a chip on both his shoulders.
Published 11 months ago by Simon A
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