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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Come along for a ride in this magnificent flying machine.
Hellfire is the name of the missile in the arsenal of weapons carried on the Apache attack helicopter. This book is the second written by Ed Macy describing his experiences flying in an Apache helicopter and fighting in Afghanistan. This book moves back in time from the first novel and covers approximately three months in the summer of 2006, during the first deployment...
Published on 11 Sep 2009 by J. Lesley

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing sequel
Apache was quiet fun and a good tale. This seems to just be a chance to cash in on the success of the first book. Pity. If you want to read one or the other, go for Apache.
Published 17 months ago by R Harper


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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Come along for a ride in this magnificent flying machine., 11 Sep 2009
By 
J. Lesley "(Judy)" (United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hellfire (Hardcover)
Hellfire is the name of the missile in the arsenal of weapons carried on the Apache attack helicopter. This book is the second written by Ed Macy describing his experiences flying in an Apache helicopter and fighting in Afghanistan. This book moves back in time from the first novel and covers approximately three months in the summer of 2006, during the first deployment of Macy and other pilots who had recently been trained to operate the Apache. Macy takes this opportunity to more fully fill in the reader on his childhood and entrance into the military. He also explains the accident which happened to him that meant he would never make it into the Special Air Service. So how did Macy end up flying an Apache attack helicopter? Some very good/bad luck and a royal mess-up within the military medical community. Add a whole lot of self confidence and hard work and Mr Macy was able to defeat the odds and fly that incredible fighting machine.

I read the first book, Apache, and wondered how I would like having Macy take me back in time to his first deployment in Afghanistan. Well, I liked it just fine. This book is presented in the same way as "Apache", opening with a mission of engagement in Afghanistan then moving back in time to show how Macy arrived at that point in his life. There is not a focus on one particular engagement such as the Jugroom Fort battle in "Apache". Rather, this book covers many engagements with the enemy in Afghanistan. I particularly enjoyed the incidents described when Macy was flying other types of helicopters in Northern Ireland, before his time with the Apache. After approximately 150 pages the accounts of the missions flown from Camp Bastion in Afghanistan become the focus of the action. Ed Macy has a wonderful talent for describing action. Even someone such as myself who has never served in the military can fully understand what tremendous amounts of courage, grit, determination and just plain cussedness is required for these pilots to do their job. They were constantly fighting both the physical hardships of heat and sleep deprivation and they were also always under incredible stress to do everything right. One wrong move on their part could mean loss of life or loss of their military careers. They were not really given full support from their government. As seems to be the case so often, these men were sent into life threatening conditions but were hampered by rules and regulations made by people who had never set foot in the physical circumstances pilots faced every time they fired up their helicopters. Those rules became true horror situations during warfare.

This book contains many line drawing maps of the areas in Afghanistan which comprised the British Area of Responsibility. There are also two drawings of the Apache helicopter with explanations of the locations of weaponry and mechanics. There is a Glossary of Terms which can come in very handy since Macy has written this book in the completely realistic method of military speaking. Some of the abbreviations can be confusing but the glossary is there to help remind you of what AMTAT, MAWS, or even GAFA means. This was a very satisfying reading experience for me. There were times when I was so completely engrossed in the book that I was stunned to look up and find it was long after midnight and I needed to get some sleep. But only after just one more chapter. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the inner workings of military forces. Macy pulls no punches. He shows the good, the bad and positively the ugly. I wouldn't have him do it any other way.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you appreciate how hard it is, 18 Nov 2009
By 
This review is from: Hellfire (Hardcover)
I've read quite a few modern and historical aviation books over the years and "Hell Fire" represents a very good account of the problems faced "in theatre" by aviators and ground crew.

While this may sound dry, Ed (now no longer flying Apaches according to the book) writes well, and spurs you on to read from cover to cover as quickly as possible.

If you live near an active Apache airfield (as I do) and see them fly locally, you get to appreciate just what these aviators do is simply amazing. Put 'apache swarm' into you tube to see more.

The book covers details on some of Ed's training before eventually reaching the "peak" of helicopter flying as he'd planned all along. Ed also manages to convey just how the rules of engagement are very restrictive in modern asymmetrical warfare.

A great read if you've not read other Apache books.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read, 18 Nov 2009
By 
Ms. J. Bedford (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hellfire (Hardcover)
This is on behalf of my 75 yr old mother who is an avid reader of all these types of books. She said she read it twice to make sure she did not miss anything!

This was a brillant read and one of the best I have read - this one was exceptional
He goes into so much detail and you feel like you are with him on the tasks.
He didn't pull any punches, I believe it was how he described.
Refreshing to read a honest author that does not make it up to make the read better ( as some others I will not name)
I have both of his books (the other one Apache is just as good) but Hell Fire is the best.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than Apache..., 2 Nov 2009
This review is from: Hellfire (Hardcover)
I reviewed Apache by Ed Macy, gave it 5 stars and fully expected Hellfire to be as good. It wasn't. It was better. OK, so it doesn't have the mission where everyone broke every rule and landed inside the Taliban's garden to rescue a fallen marine but I never expected it too. Macy and his mates shouldn't have got away with what they did in Apache and its testimony to them that their courage was awarded by the Queen with bravery medals. Crikey, 3 Military Crosses and 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses for a handful of men, for a couple of hours work, during one mission is an achievement we'll probably never see again. Oh listen to me...one minute I'm the cake queen, the next, an authority on medals and bravery. I have a point to my ramblings and it has substance so bare with me whilst my cake bakes because I've only 15 minutes to write this...I read up on what it takes to receive an MC and a DFC. Without doubt, Macy and his mates were incredible, some may say a bit mental but brave nonetheless.

As Macy has a single MC behind his name it was pretty obvious to me that I was unlikely to read about such feats of bravery in his new book. After all, a mission like that had never happened before and most probably won't again. So what would it be about? The cover of Apache fulfilled by `doing what it said on the can'. It wasn't hyped up to be anything than it wasn't and if anything, it was better. Hellfire proposed something completely different. It said that, "Ed bent every rule going to get where he wanted to be... it was one man's determination to master the world's deadliest helicopter...under fire and out of options, Ed has one chance to save his own skin... Ed and squadron faced the steepest learning curve of their lives." It is billed as a book about him getting to be an Apache pilot in Afghanistan and `my, oh my' does it deliver.

I waited my turn for the book (it's read by all in our home) and then settled down. As I read about Ed actually learning to fly and then flying in such places as Northern Ireland and Canada I felt like I was learning the tricks of the trade too. I enjoyed the journey and he did break every rule going. Not carelessly broken in a cheating kind of way, but a determined and focussed way to succeed when ridiculous or unfair barriers were in his way. Then the Apache training came as a bit of a shock to me. I thought I'd grasped the concept reading Apache but I guess Ed never had time in that book (because of the crazy Jugroom Fort mission) to fully tell us how hard it was. I really thought the Army was a little bonkers for going into such depth in their teaching. Only when Ed and his mates get to Afghanistan did the penny drop! Ahhh, sudden realisation and a quick glance back reminded me why he took the time to explain why he wrote about his journey thus far. Every story had a reason and only now can I appreciate why it takes a different breed of man or woman to master the Apache gunship. Launched into Afghanistan with a new helicopter, in a job that the British have never done before, led by officers that never knew how to use an attack helicopter and flown by men that had never done this before was a recipe for disaster. By selecting the likes of Ed, Billy and their mates the Ministry of Defence was playing a big gambling game. The gamble paid off as Ed describes in such awe-inspiring detail - but only just!

3 Para were very lucky to have the army's TOP GUNS selected for the first Apache course because their experiences (before Afghanistan) allowed them to adapt quickly and quite literally save the lives of 3 Para and the Ghurkhas in Nowzad.
This book is not without Ed's characteristically seat of the pants descriptions that make your heart beat faster. Once I got to Afghanistan I never felt like I was reading, I felt like I was flying. Over Nowzad with the antiaircraft gunner I felt like I was flying for my life with Ed and wondering if I would die. Ridiculous really as Hellfire is the prequel to Apache, but you'll forget all that because you won't have time to remember as you fight to think fast enough to stay alive. I felt exhausted at the end of the book and I dare say there was a lot more going on we'll never know of too.

The reason I've quoted so much of Apache in a review of Hellfire is because humans can't help but compare. It would be too weak to say Apache had a better story. Of course it did, Queen Elizabeth will testify to that. Hellfire is sold as a journey to the front line and a fine journey it was too. This book has more depth and rich substance to get your teeth into. Jugroom Fort in Apache is an incredible story; Hellfire describes beautifully what kind of person it takes to make the grade, and then backs it up by missions that will leave you exhausted.

No one has said my rambling reviews are too long so I guess I'll continue but enough is enough as my Victoria sponge is ready. Cakes may be my thing but I'm getting into these books and about to read Chickenhawk now. According to my better half, Chickenhawk was the best military aviation book ever until Ed Macy began writing. Let's see.

Kitchen Diva
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, a rivetting read, 21 Feb 2011
This review is from: Hellfire (Paperback)
Very difficult to put down, this is the engrossing story of one man's journey from youth spent in northern backstreets, to a successful career in a British Army parachute regiment; a serious road accident which ended that career, and his determined, and successful drive to reclaim his army career as a helicopter pilot.

Giving a vivid portait of service life, the text is liberally seasoned with anglo saxon vernacular; however, this is unlikely to offend many readers, as it's not the kind of book which would be shared among the womens' guild of Little Darsham-on-the-Meadow.

Most electrifying are the descriptions of combat support flights in Afghanistan: the reader is given a vicarious taste of battle not likely to be experienced by many in this time of general peace. Ed Macy's ability to describe the sheer terror felt by capable men, desperately trying to evade determined and accurate anti aircraft gunnery, leaves me in no doubt that he could well enjoy a successful, and lucrative second career as a writer of military fiction.

The book is well illustrated with colour photographs and diagrams, and it will leave the reader in no doubt of the courage and professionalism of our armed forces; also the complexity of successful military operations fought far from home, in a hostile climate and environment.

Thoroughly recommended, though it would have been helpful to have items from the glossary of acronyms quoted at the foot of the pages where they occur.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breath taking power, 29 Oct 2009
By 
A. Winsley-wisniewski (London. England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hellfire (Audio CD)
Macey has as a helicopter pilot puts you in the co-pilots seat through his training and missions. You have a indepth understanding of the regours and work necessary to train an attack helicopter pilot. Also of his personal sufferings to achive the position of a Staff Sargent and fly combat missions in Afganistan.
Well done Mr Macey. Modern warfare, with its high tech equipment has not made combat any easier.
An excellent informative read or audio c/d.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bring the rain...., 10 Oct 2009
By 
D. A. Jones "Pimpbap" (North West England, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hellfire (Hardcover)
I've just finished reading what can only be described as one of the most riviting books I have read in a long time. Enter Ed Macy, an Apache attack helicopter pilot and gunner. From the very start, you are sent back in time to where it all began... Being a Para, Northern Ireland then Afganistan. You learn all that Ed had to learn, you feel like you are part of that very important cog in the machine. Your mind races with every page as you cannot help but imagine what it's like, what happens around every corner. From there you are "with" him during the tragic accident which was close to costing Ed his career, then it's on to Apache Training. I for one found it very hard to put the book down, at some points having to be pulled away from it so I could go to work. For those of you whom have already read Ed's first book Apache, you will be under no illusions as to what Ed can deliver, for those of you who have not read either of Ed's books, I would recommnend it highly. You get a sense of how the pilots felt when things went wrong, the fear when systems don't work, the hope that when a soldier is hurt, he comes out the otherside. It's amazing and mezmerising to read. I now must find something else to do with my life, perhaps spend more time with the family or maybe I'll just read it again. I'm afraid Ed, your going to have to do another tour, I need another fix.

Purely Brilliant.

Looking forward to the next one.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling ride, 30 Sep 2009
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hellfire (Hardcover)
J Lesley has reviewed this very well so I won't repeat that excellent review. Suffice to say that this follow up to Apache is very good indeed. Ed Macy takes us through his career from being a Para to flying combat in the world's most lethal and famous attack helicopter.

The author is a very determined and professional guy and a credit to both his country and the British Army. The combat pilots work under very strict and complex Rules Of Engagement and the book demonstrates that this does hamper their effectiveness while trying to protect civilians and infrastructure. Equally apparent is the limited understanding of the rule makers who do not understand the difficulties of combat.

Macy gets the balance right between the technical and operational aspects of his job, you are given enough information to understand and appreciate the challenge of piloting the 'copter and doing a difficult job. For instance, the difficulty of flying with your eyes looking in different directions at the same time or having to ask permission to use your weapons before you can fire. The author's writing puts you right in the cockpit with him sharing his pleasure and feeling his frustration.

Currently there is an avalanche of military books about but Ed Macy's are right up there with the best such as Sniper One and Eight Lives Down. Like I said, a credit to his Country and the Army.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, Kindle edition has no photographs or maps, 11 April 2012
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This review is from: Hellfire (Kindle Edition)
Well no images and photographs that I could find anyway. The text of the book itself is excellent and rattles along in the way that all the best military books do finding time to include plenty of technical detail without breaking the beat. This book is the story of Ed Macy getting into the Apache starting with his time in the Paras, joining the Army Air Corps, time flying over Northern Ireland, then training on the Apache before, finally, combat.

Whilst the Apache was a completely new beast for the British military it was also something whose operation drew on past experience. Ed is able to draw a direct link from the experience of Northern Ireland to reusing that same gained experience in the Afghanistan theatre.

The detail in the duel with the anti-aircraft gunner over Now Zad makes compelling reading extending over many pages for something which presumably only took a couple of minutes at most.

There are run ins with more senior officers which seem perfectly justifiable in the way it Ed writes it but, and this would be difficult to achieve, it would be nice to understand the reasons that those people believed that was the right thing to do based on the pressure and requirements they were under.

For the text it is a clear five stars but the lack of photographs and maps drops a star. A worthy prequel follow up to Ed's previous book Apache
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hellfire, 27 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Hellfire (Paperback)
I enjoy real life action must be true accounts, sorry not into story's. This was an excellent read, well written and a good account. Would recommend
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Hellfire by Ed Macy (Paperback - 8 July 2010)
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