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Alastair McQueen "Alastair McQueen" (Colchester)

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Attack State Red
Attack State Red
by Col. Richard Kemp
Edition: Hardcover

19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, 10 Sep 2009
This review is from: Attack State Red (Hardcover)
This is without doubt one of the finest books about the war in Afghanistan. The secret lies in its simplicity - Col Richard Kemp and Chris Hughes set out to tell the story of the soldiers of the 1 Royal Anglian Battle Group and have achieved it superbly. They have not been side-tracked by the politics of the situation or become embroiled in any of the equipment issues, they have simply stuck to their task. Their research is excellent and they bring all the soldiers to life. At times you could be forgiven for thinking you have picked up a thriller from the fiction shelves as you are lifted from your armchair and plopped down in the middle of a battle. Unputdownable is an over-worked word in the world of books but in this case it is appropriate. The only times I put it down were either through sheer exhaustion to marvel at the courage of these young soldiers or, like them, to have a smoke and a brew to try to slow down the old heart rate. We are fortunate to have young soldiers of this calibre and even more fortunate that the closest we get to Afghanistan is through the pages of excellent books like this. Ross Kemp's television series on the Royal Anglians gave us a taste of what they endured, but this book takes us right into the Green Zone with them. It is only when you turn towards the back to the Operational Honours and Awards that you see that yet again a fine British regiment is under-decorated for its gallantry and sacrifice.

Forgive Us Our Press Passes
Forgive Us Our Press Passes
by Ian Skidmore
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.95

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Glory Days, 16 May 2008
I first met Ian Skidmore when I was an innocent young reporter making my way on national newspapers. My bosses warned me: Stay away from Skiddy. Of course I didn't. He introduced me to enormous dressed Pimms served in enormous pots in the Bear and Billet and taught me that being a national newspaper reporter was about having fun. Lots of it. There is no way the po-faced "media studies gestapo" training today's young reporters would let them have sight of this marvellous tome in case it corrupted them. They should be made to read it. He brings back to life some of the marvellous characters of my newspaper youth, men who taught youngsters how to be proper reporters. Guardianistas reading this book will have all their twisted prejudices confirmed, others may not believe some of the tales, but for me it was a rollicking good read. And it took me back to the days sitting at his knee in the Bear and Billet and other taverns and listening to his tales. In some cases the names have been changed or even omitted - to protect the guilty!

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