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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great history that mixes myth-busting with due praise for brave individuals
James Owen's account of the Commandos is one of affectionate myth-busting. The Commandos in this book are frequently failing, often disorganised and under-equipped, often of dubious military value - and almost always brave, dedicated and impressive. The mistakes and blunders as new ways of fighting were learnt do not take away from the incredible feats of endurance and...
Published 18 months ago by Mark Pack

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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inaccuracy
I have only given this book a quick scan, concentrating on the Walcheren references. My father is mentioned a lot. The author states that after Jim Kelly was wounded at Walcheren he was evacuated back to Britain. True, after a stay in Antwerp. He goes on to state that Kelly, on his recovery, was kept in a holding Commando for the rest of the war...Untrue. Jim Kelly...
Published 20 months ago by Michael Kelly


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great history that mixes myth-busting with due praise for brave individuals, 26 Jan 2013
By 
Mark Pack (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Commando: Winning World War II Behind Enemy Lines (Hardcover)
James Owen's account of the Commandos is one of affectionate myth-busting. The Commandos in this book are frequently failing, often disorganised and under-equipped, often of dubious military value - and almost always brave, dedicated and impressive. The mistakes and blunders as new ways of fighting were learnt do not take away from the incredible feats of endurance and bravery that so many so frequently demonstrated.

Those heroics are made all the more moving by the number of people who are introduced to the reader in some detail before dying early in their career. There is always the sense that over the turn of any page, one of the people you have just been told about may be killed. It makes the deaths more individual and more shocking, for they are the deaths of rounded personalities, not briefly mentioned names.

Commando goes through many individual operations, giving a good sense of the range of work Commandos carried out and how their training, their structure and their tactics evolved during the war. From the farcical ineptness of early raids through to the myth-making shock troops of later years, the account by James Owen keeps the story moving along briskly without glossing over wider questions such as whether or not the heavy losses by Commandos were justified by their successes.

The hardback edition of this book is very well produced, with interesting photos, a useful map, good quality paper and high-class typography. The audio book version, alas, far less so with some really bizarre pronunciations of names and places, including "Boulogne" as if it is "Bologna". Plenty of scope for confusion the reader there!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classy military history, 19 Oct 2012
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Commando tells the history of the Commandos, from their birth soon after Dunkirk to VE and VJ day. It includes SBS's role, their joint operations with SAS, and their merger with the Royal Marines - and covers every theatre of war, from Norway to Dieppe to the War in the Desert - even West Africa and Lebanon.

The book is broken down into chapters covering individual operations - from huge battles like D Day and Dieppe to small raids - and from well known operations like the Cockleshell Heroes and Raid on Rommel to less known ones - like pirating Italian ships in a Spanish colony. That structure is much easier to follow (the Commandos had a truly bewildering history), lets individual stories to be told, and gives a sense of the weird and wonderful range of what the Commandos got up to.

There is a good mixture of accounts of fights, the battles in London over strategy and tactics (whether the Commandos were raiders or assault troops; and rivalry over who controlled them) and fascinating detail - the use of German Jewish refugees disguised as Germans, or the history of commando training. The author is honest about failures and uncertain overall effect, while highlighting the bravery of the individual soldiers, and impact on future generations of soldiers.

It's neither ridiculously gung ho nor a dry military history - and written in a clear straightforward style - often using the words of the Commandos themselves. So highly recommended to anyone interested in WW2 - or as a present for someone else who is.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commando, James Owen, 12 Dec 2012
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This review is from: Commando: Winning World War II Behind Enemy Lines (Hardcover)
Well written, balanced and informative. An easy read. Flows well. Gripping in parts. Tells the story "Warts and All". Heroes and their activities are not elevated to the heights of the surreal, they are portrayed as normal people doing very abnormal acts!
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5.0 out of 5 stars What a great book, 2 July 2014
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This review is from: Commando: Winning World War II Behind Enemy Lines (Hardcover)
A very good book, I wish that I could find more books like this one.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A VIVID ACCOUNT, 27 Aug 2013
By 
R. M. D. Bennett "Rodney M Bennett" (Lonodn, England) - See all my reviews
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An account which reveals the horrors of war and shows that by no means all the Commandos did was successful
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't be put off by the newspaper article!, 19 Dec 2012
By 
E Harris (Northumberland, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Commando: Winning World War II Behind Enemy Lines (Hardcover)
An excellent read! Not such a different 'slant' on what went on back then as my parents told me some of the 'negative' thoughts of others as well as the mainly 'positive' thoughts of the population regarding the Commandos. The author commends the bravery of those brave, daring men - it's a darned good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 20 July 2014
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This review is from: Commando: Winning World War II Behind Enemy Lines (Hardcover)
Excellent condition.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What brave men!, 3 Oct 2013
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I have an old friend, nearly 100, who was once one of Lovat's Rangers. He was at St Nazaire, Dieppe and D-Day. It gave the book an added interest.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Inaccuracy, 21 Nov 2012
By 
Michael Kelly "SPIKE" (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Commando: Winning World War II Behind Enemy Lines (Hardcover)
I have only given this book a quick scan, concentrating on the Walcheren references. My father is mentioned a lot. The author states that after Jim Kelly was wounded at Walcheren he was evacuated back to Britain. True, after a stay in Antwerp. He goes on to state that Kelly, on his recovery, was kept in a holding Commando for the rest of the war...Untrue. Jim Kelly rejoined A Troop 41 Cdo Royal Marines, who were fighting, by then, in the Maas River area. He fought right through to the end of the war. I would be interested, as would Jim Kelly to know were Owens got his information
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Commando, 26 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Commando: Winning World War II Behind Enemy Lines (Hardcover)
Contraversial book bought for my son who is writing a book abt his Grandfathers time with the six commandoes. Whoof and tosh was his verdict.
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Commando: Winning World War II Behind Enemy Lines
Commando: Winning World War II Behind Enemy Lines by James Owen (Hardcover - 4 Oct 2012)
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