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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward talking from a straightforward man.
Whenever people mention the subject of "great" British military commanders they might be forgiven for automatically thinking of Montgomery and Slim for their's were the battles on which the future of the free world was to depend. In a post-World War Two Britain, however, the names of few senior commanders from any of the three British armed services spring readily to...
Published on 13 Nov. 2008 by Ned Middleton

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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars story of an officers officer
note a bad tale but gets a bit monotonous in a lot of places, turned out to be not what I was expecting would not recommend, unless someone just wanted to read about an high ranking officer in the British Army
Published 19 months ago by taffc


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward talking from a straightforward man., 13 Nov. 2008
By 
Ned Middleton (British professional underwater photo-journalist & author) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Soldier: The Autobiography (Paperback)
Whenever people mention the subject of "great" British military commanders they might be forgiven for automatically thinking of Montgomery and Slim for their's were the battles on which the future of the free world was to depend. In a post-World War Two Britain, however, the names of few senior commanders from any of the three British armed services spring readily to mind. Within her army, however, the Parachute Regiment is able to claim more than it's fair share. Names like Anthony Farrar-Hockley, Geoffrey Howlett, Peter De La Billiere - to name but three. Now the name of Mike Jackson may be added to that august list of the greatest commanders of modern times.

It was 1971 when I first met Mike Jackson. I was a corporal attached to 1st Battalion the Parachute Regiment in Palace Barracks, Northern Ireland. He was battalion adjutant in the rank of captain. The next time we met was some 18 years later in that same barracks. By then I was the captain - and he the brigadier. No, we were not in uniform, in fact he was playing a very hard game of rugby and I was a mere spectator. He was running down the wing at the time when an opponent bundled him off the field of play. He landed right beside me. "Hello Ned, good to see you again" he said and promptly got on with the game.

Since retiring as the professional head of the British Army, much has been said and written about General Sir Mike Jackson. Only he will know which plaudits are true and which are not. The one single characteristic for which he will always be remembered is, of course, the fact that he cared about the men under his command and when finally appointed Chief of the General Staff, that meant every single soldier in the British Army.

This autobiography is, of course, his story and, at a time when peace has finally returned to Northern Ireland and the Balkan states but with wars continuing in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is an important story for those who want to know what it is that makes a commander "great" over so many years of such troubled times. Unlike many other biographies, Mike Jackson makes no attempt to write this account through rose-tinted glasses or rewrite events to reflect what he might have wished had happened. This account is how it happened - warts and all.

It is a fascinating and engaging read and a book that should be read by every single person with an interest in what our forces are doing - and have been doing, for the past 45 years. As far as the British armed services are concerned, it is a story which should be read by officers and soldiers alike. They will all be the better for having done so.

NM
Retired British Army Major
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Soldier, the autobiography, 7 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Soldier: The Autobiography (Paperback)
A great book, written by General Mike jackson, detailing his life from childhood through to his efforts in Northern Ireland to other conflicts in the world.
He discusses his family, 2 sons of which were soliders, 1 of which had to leave the army due to an accident and his retirement, and how proud he is of them and what they have achieved.
A natural born leader, pulling no punches regarding his views on some of those leading a few of these conflicts.
His admiration of Lady Thatcher, and some other politicians, who have to make some difficult decisions.
He protects his men in the field, but will not tolerate any gross misconduct.
A real leader, a real general, and once again a great book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but disappointed in a couple of areas, 14 April 2010
By 
G. Turnbull (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Soldier: The Autobiography (Paperback)
Obviously this book is likely of greatest interest to those serving or who have served in the forces. Still, General Sir Mike Jackson is a very interesting, succesful and capable man and his life and has had a remarkable career.

As others point out the book is written in a very matter of fact way and he tries hard and generaly succeeds from providing his opinion and angle on key events throughout his career. This is seen from his explanation of the history of the troubles of Northern Ireland where he portrays feeling and the history of all sides well, without making judgement of the validy of those.

What the book is longing for (at least in what I look for in a biography) is more insight into his mind, his decisions, his way of thinking, how he lived. He touches only briefly off his perosnal feelings and thoughts in areas such as describing the Warrenpoint bombings as horrific and describing the scene. He then goes onto say he didn't have any sleepless nights from it as it's not part of his character. He also has a strong dislike of Wes Clark and his way of working which comes across. That's about it from a personal insight viewpoint. Sure, he gives his views, frustrations and thoughts on subjects such as the political situation is Kosovo, but there's so little of what really makes the man and who is is deep down which is a great shame. Still, a very well written and enjoyable book, this aside.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very informative and educating read., 31 Dec. 2014
By 
GDD (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Soldier: The Autobiography (Paperback)
An interesting book from a General Officer who, despite his craggy looks, has never actually taken part in a war either as a combatant or commander. That's not to say he wouldn't have been capable. Given the outcome of conflicts he was involved in resolving, such as the Kosovo crisis, it's clear he had the ability as a divisional and corps commander to achieve results with a clear head and conventional as well as "out of the box" thinking.

I liked Mike Jackson's image as CGS and thought he was a great officer. Reading this book has reinforced that view. The only thing I didn't enjoy was the last chapter where he gives his vision for the future. I started to speed-read that but finished up closing the book and deeming it read. Only because it's history I'm interested in, not premonitions of what's to come.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Generally speaking..., 13 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Soldier: The Autobiography (Paperback)
This book provides an excellent and edifying insight into the author's British Army career, and his tours of duty, including Northern Ireland, the Balkans, and the Middle-East. I have learned much about these conflicts from reading this book, including the politics behind them, and the strain placed on the armed services during the numerous operations. I found the author's relationship with Wes Clark of great interest.
The book itself is very readable, and keeps the reader interested throughout.

There could have been more in terms of personal thoughts and feelings relating to his working life, and there is very little insight into Jackson's personal life. This point has been mentioned in previous reviews, and again this is one of very few negative points. Perhaps this tells us more about the personality of the man, as I expect that in order to reach the top in the British Army, there is little room for any lack of durability.

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone, whether or not you have an interest in the military, it is very much worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for an honest insight, 22 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Soldier: The Autobiography (Paperback)
into army life, carer paths, history, actions, decisions, politics and dealing with below average US Generals.
Get the paper version
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top read, 19 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Soldier: The Autobiography (Paperback)
All I can say is what a brilliant read&having seen&heard the general talk it is of no surprise,what a top man!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great stuff. Honest, revealing and yet full of discretion, 26 April 2014
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An object lesson in how such things should be done. No nonsense account of a great career, brimming with insights and perception about the personalities and decision making involved in the very important events he was involved in. And, for the younger reader, a lesson in how to 'get on with integrity' in any walk of life. Very fine indeed.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping reading, 12 Nov. 2009
This review is from: Soldier: The Autobiography (Paperback)
I don't read many books. This book was recommended by a work colleague, so I purchased it.

I'd owned it for several months before I started to read it a week ago. Seven days later, I finished reading it. It's a remarkable account of the UK's most well known General in recent time.

I'm ex-military and was involved in the Kosovo conflict, working on the Lynx helicopters shuttling Gen. Mike Jackson here, there and everywhere. This book opened my eyes to the career as an officer in the British Army. For most soldiers, this is a mystery.

He has a great story to tell, having been through so much. He joined the army before I was even born and he left after I did.

It's a compelling book and I highly recommend it, both to military and civilians alike. You won't want to put it down.

I'd have loved to have been a fly on the wall when he was having his 'problems' with Gen Wes Clark. Good call 'Mike'.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book - whether you are army or not, 23 Nov. 2008
By 
SHANN "SHANN" (England, London) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Soldier: The Autobiography (Paperback)
I read this book on my travels to Egypt and it was superb. In fact, its the first book Ive kept an interest in all the way through for a long time!!!

I'm not army, nor am I ex army but I thoroughly enjoyed this witty, frank account of GSMJ's life to date. I also enjoyed getting a genuine insight into recent/modern history through the eyes of someone who played an active role throughout. In fact, the book doubled up not only as a good read but also an education in itself!! Whether your interested in joining the army or if you would like to read about someone genuinely different then I would recommend this book. Its one of the best Ive had the pleasure of reading. Very pleased I picked it up in the WH Smith travel whilst at the airport!!!!
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Soldier: The Autobiography
Soldier: The Autobiography by Mike Jackson (Paperback - 19 May 2008)
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