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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating but deeply moving tribute
I remember when this book first appeared in the shops a few years ago. It was at a time when books by ex-SAS soldiers were flooding the shelves of most bookstores with their eye-catching covers and macho appeal. 'Freefall' seemed to be different in that an ex-member of the SAS was admitting to have succumbed to mental disorder, to have broken down as it is so often...
Published on 1 May 2002

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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not great literature but a gripping read.
Where does insanity end and madness begin? To voluntarily fling yourself out of an aeroplane not just once but time after time; To submit yourself to the physical and mental torture that is required of applicants to the SAS; To dream of stepping out into space from the basket of a balloon at the edge of the earths atmosphere in order to "boldly go" where no...
Published on 1 Nov. 1999 by mjr@thelwell.globalnet.co.uk


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, gripping and brilliant, 15 Jun. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Freefall (Paperback)
This is a brilliant book, an account of the author's career in the special forces, the pressures, and how he develops manic depression. I was bored and this was the only book around so I picked it up and was immediately hooked. He writes like an angel, amazing powers of observation and description, even when he was at his maddest. I hate violence, war and 'soldier books' but this book contains amazing human insights. It is a real gem. Read it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique book, 13 Aug. 2007
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This review is from: Freefall (Paperback)
When, a couple of years ago, read that Tom Read had killed himself it was terrible news. Since then, this book has been out of print which is a real shame as it is one of the best books I have ever read. Tom's descriptins of the building pressures in his life and the thought patterns in the midst of his breakdown is fascinating and awful at the same time. He was a remarkable man with remarkable dreams. and the world is a poorer place without him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing, 22 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Freefall (Hardcover)
Being a former soldier, and reading the synopsis of a book called Freefall by Tom Read, I was very interested in seeing what he had to say on the matter. Mr. Read was preparing to freefall more than 23 miles in order to become the first person to break the sound barrier unassisted, but that’s only half of the story. The autobiography also covers his descent into madness and his attempts to find his way out again. His toughness, bravery and frank narrative made the book utterly absorbing and helped me to gain an insight into an individuals condition and thought process during the descent. It also provides hope that breaking free from the shackles of depression is entirely possible. As soon as I finished the book, I Googled the author to see if I could find our how his recovery was going. Sadly, he jumped out of a small plane he was flying over the Oxfordshire countryside at five thousand feet, without a parachute. Mr. Read didn’t make it, but he inspired me to help and work through the illness with the people I knew, and I suspect he’s also helped many others with his harrowing tale.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One thousand, two thousand, three thousand ....check canopy, 4 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Freefall (Paperback)
Not so much an SAS book as the memoirs of an absolute legend who also happened to be a badged member of B Squadron's Air Troop. This was 'unputdownable' for me as it was for so many others. Those who read similar stuff (McNab etc) will be able to cross reference some of the stuff in Freefall with stuff in Immediate Action / Seven Troop but its the story of Nish's obsession with the jump from space and the mental deterioration that followed that was the really gripping material. If youre looking for an in depth account of his time in combat in The Falklands or any other deployment then you'll be disappointed, however if you want to get to know the guy who went from 2 PARA to the Red Freds, The Regiment and then the nuthouse then this is perfect. Had me laughing out loud and welling up at the same time. I mentioned Nish and Freefall to Andy McNab recently when on his For Valour book signing and the big grin that spread across his face told me everything I ever wanted to know. Brilliant book but with the ultimate sad ending
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars daring!, 8 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Freefall (Hardcover)
Having read SAS books by Andy McNab and Chris Ryan, I expected Tom Read's Freefall to be the same. After all, these guys are almost super human in the ability to over come extreme hardship. Tom's story shows us the very human side of these Super Humans. His abitity to remember his situation and expierances make the book hard to put down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Honest, 14 Mar. 2011
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Pal Dinessen "Jasmine hotel Thailand" (Pattaya, Chonburi. Thailand Thailand) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Freefall (Hardcover)
I read "freefall" shortly after it was published and later managed to obtain a hard cover copy for my library. The book is exceptional in many ways particularly in the aspect that the author manages to convey his thoughts (metal state) in a manner as outstandingly well as J. G. Ballard managed in "Empire of the Sun".
I was a SF member then a saturation diver, BASE jumped, Whitewater kayaked and climbed during my free time. I was never in firefights during duty (Sometimes I think that might be a blessing) but I can understand the urge to always be active and strive after the adrenaline rush, this of course subsides with age, more for some than for others. For those of you who would like to understand a man's mind, not by psychologists clinical studies! Please do purchase this book as it is one of a kind and is definitively well worth reading, possibly quite a few times.

Paal S. Dinessen.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book...couldn't put it down, 8 Feb. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Freefall (Hardcover)
This is a great book. The way Tom Read portrays his life is truly well done. The life this man has lead will put must people to shame. This man has been to hell and bad, through mental breakdown to wife-husband speration...yet he makes it back to write this book. Truly short of brillant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Freefall - I wish I could have been a mate......, 27 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Freefall (Hardcover)
Tom Read is actually Charles "Nish" Bruce. Four years after he wrote this book he jumped out of a plane........with no parachute. It's a shame this book is out of print, I had to search for a used copy. If only Nish was around now to bring the problem of soldiers "Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome" to light. It seems it's being taken more seriously now.
This book is unbelieveably well written considering it was by an ex-special forces soldier who explored the edges of sanity and briefly stepping over the line. It made me laugh out loud but also had my bottom lip quivering.
I found it was an advantage having read Andy McNab's "Seven Troop" first as he was a close friend and wrote extensively about him. I now feel like I was a mate, too!
I wish I did know him. Even though it's 8 years since he died, when you read this you just feel like you want to help somehow. What a bloke.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Touching, Devastating and Inspiring, 26 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Freefall (Hardcover)
I found this book touching, devastating and inspiring. The humility and compassion of the writer - what ever his real name was, is evident on every page. You can't help but feel for Tom and the honest description of his mental illness shows that this could happen to any one of us. I admire the way he sets about to sort through his life and debrief himself of all he has seen and done and the stories of life in the SAS are sometimes hilarious and always exciting. I highly recommend this book.
After reading of his death in 2002 I feel for his son who will have to live without his Dad. But I believe, after reading this book that he has a Dad he can be proud of and after having a close friend go through a similar experience I hope that he can find some peace.

This was one of those books that has touched me deeply and I will keep forever.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Freefall - Tom Read, 14 Oct. 2012
This review is from: Freefall (Hardcover)
My thoughts turn to Charles Bruce today when Austrian Felix Baumgartner breaks the record for the highest ever skydive, I read this book 4-5 years ago whilst on holiday in Corfu, I just couldn't put it down. "Nish" also had a vision to break the world record for sky diving, unfortunately he was thwarted by mental illness, eventually taking his own life. I remember feeling a tremendous sadness as I approached the end of the book already knowing the conclusion to his life when the last few pages of his book seemed so positive as if he had pulled through his nightmare. I highly recommend this book as a very honest account of his life albeit I followed other autobiographies of his ex special forces colleagues with similar sad outcomes.
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Freefall by Tom Read (Paperback - 2 Sept. 1999)
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