9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read
I bought this book after meeting Steven in person at Waterstones in Preston. I found it to be an enthralling, enticing read which details Steven's time in the Royal Green Jackets. Although having never served in the military, this gives me a detailed view of the life of the everyday infantrymen and appears to give a truthful outlook.
I would certainly...
Published on 15 Aug 2011 by Ben (Lancs)
32 of 46 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst soldiers account written
I find it quite hard to believe that this book was ever published. It is written by a soldier with only 3 years experience, 6 months of which was in basic training.
I have no doubt that the author was in the army but his accounts are sketchy and very very narrow minded to the other corps and regiments within the army. Example he says he went out on TELIC 2 in summer...
Published on 25 Aug 2007 by Mr. Sp Nelson
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read,
I would certainly recommend this book to anyone, regardless of age.
The book was very well written and Steven McLaughlin is a fantastic author.
I wish him all the best in the future
65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The essence of being a Squaddie laid bare.,
This review is from: Squaddie: A Soldier's Story (Paperback)Squaddie is without doubt the most original soldier's story of recent times; it is long overdue and most welcome, particularly for anyone who has ever served in the British Infantry. I myself served eight satisfying years in the QLR and left as a Platoon Sergeant, but until now I had never read a book that accurately captured the Squaddie experience - both the good, bad, and truly awful bits too!
The level of detail that McLaughlin goes into is astounding, and whether he is describing weapons systems, basic training, battalion life or operational tours - his descriptions are always bang-on, totally convincing, and unnervingly accurate. Several times reading this book I had to put it down and have a little daydream, such is the level of personal recall it stirred inside.
Those of us who have been there will know what he is talking about; being beasted around Catterick by depot-screws, trying to reassemble an SA80 in the field and losing your camstud, scraping the carbon off a Gimpy when your hands are so cold you just want to curl up and die, platoon mongs and stag bitches, etc - I swear this book took me right back in an instant.
In this day and age of overblown and exaggerated Special Forces accounts it's refreshing to see an ordinary soldier embracing his experience and celebrating the sheer bloody grind of being an Infantryman. What I particularly liked about this book is the total lack of heroics and the grim honesty with which the author appraises his own fears and weaknesses - and he confesses to many. McLaughlin is his own severest critic and openly admits his failings, going so far as to show himself in an extremely bad light at times - unlike other `heroes' we could mention.
As with himself, McLaughlin is a tough but fair judge regarding his comrades and regiment. Overall he gives a very good impression of the Royal Green Jackets and he has done them a great service with this book - certainly I would be happy for my son to join them. Yes there are a few `bad apples', but this is the Infantry for God's sake, and none of us should be surprised - that's life!
Totally believable, bang up to date, unpretentious, and a fine testament to a great regiment from one of its own - Squaddie does exactly what it says on the tin and I heartily recommend it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Straight from the Heart,
This review is from: Squaddie: A Soldier's Story (Kindle Edition)In 2010 I was privileged to meet Steven McLaughlin at an event at the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Foundation for Peace in Warrington. We are both ex-soldiers, both writers and instantly formed a bond. We come from different backgrounds and are decades apart in age, I'm old enough to be his father, but our shared experiences in the Army, and our desire for a peaceful world, have forged a deep respect and understanding. He had read my book CONTACT and gave me his book SQUADDIE to read, which has pride of place on my bookshelf. Steven is a gifted writer, whose story comes straight from his heart. At times comedic, as all soldier's story are, and at others deeply moving, SQUADDIE gives a rare insight into the mind of a young soldier fighting, not only for his country in Iraq and Northern Ireland, but also for his own identity. It is not just a 'Soldier's Story' but a personal journey and well worth reading. It is a book that deserves to be in the library of anyone interested in well written military books. Highly recommended.
31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Squaddie' is the British 'Jarhead' - but better!,
This review is from: Squaddie: A Soldier's Story (Paperback)At long last a book that tells us what it is really like to be one of HM's soldier's at the sharp end! Having read well over a dozen SAS books and numerous ex-Colonels accounts i was begining to despair of ever finding a book that showed what plain, dirty old fashioned soldiering is all about - until i discovered this gem.
Squaddie is not about supermen diving through windows or marching hundreds of miles on bleeding feet, but about the very unglamourous and frequently violent existance of everyday infantry troops at home and abroad - in this case the Royal Green Jackets.
No stone is left unturned, and in great detail Mclaughlin takes us on a often hilarious journey through a tough basic training, daily barracks life and culture, and a chaotic Iraq tour, finishing with a sharp insight into the modern-day Northern Ireland operational tour.
His honesty is both painfull and apealing, such as when told he was off to Iraq, he confessess his immediate response was 'bollocks to winning medals' and how 'the s..t was pouring out of him' as departure day loomed.
Squaddie is a grimly bleak and humourous account of life at the sharp-end in the British infantry, and i can not commend it highly enough - read it and you will understand just what our soldiers have to go through on a daily basis.
42 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The voice of the Squaddies.,
This review is from: Squaddie: A Soldier's Story (Paperback)This book was recommended to me by a pal who served in the authors regiment(Royal Green Jackets) many years ago, and i have to say i can now see why! The book is a brutally honest and at times extremely disturbing portrait of life in the lower ranks of the infantry.
If your looking for a tale of heroic leadership under enemy fire then i am afraid 'Squaddie' is not the book for you, and you will be very dissapointed. But if you want to know how it really is - both the good bits and the bad - then give it a whirl. Mclaughlin's book should be made compulsary reading for the following people:
Schoolboy dropouts searching for an identity and trying to escape from an abusive steparent - as Mclaughlin clearly was.
Privately educated and privaleged Sandhurst cadets who want to understand and motivate their men - take note Prince Harry!
Concerned parents worried about teenage boys being taken in by recruitment sgt's tales of skiing and surfing - only to end up in Iraq.
And anybody else with merely a passing interest in the army. The book would make a good film and i look forward to maybe seeing that come about. One thing is for certian, the working-class British Squaddies now have a voice, and about time too.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Squaddie - A Soldiers story by a man from my Home town,
I met the author at a book signing in Waterstones,Blackpool. In truth I was not looking to buy a book at that moment but on speaking with the author I found we shared a common interest.
I found the book to be a very honest and down to earth account of the life of a private soldier in todays Armed Forces, written from the soldiers eye point of view that of "Ground level".
It was a pleasure to read with the opinions and comments on the situations he found himself in showing very little of the bravado that you see in other books of this type.
If you are interested in understanding the work of a serviceman in todays British Forces you need to read this book
43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very accurate portrayal of an Infantrymans lifestyle.,
This review is from: Squaddie: A Soldier's Story (Paperback)I got this book while on holiday in England a few weeks back after hearing all about in the British press. Squaddie has turned out to be a very controversial book over there and it has some pretty strong opinions about the War On Terror. Well first off it is one hell of a read and just about one of the best soldier's stories I have ever read - and believe me as a Vietnam vet and retired `Infantry grunt' I have read a few!
As a young man Mclaughlin had some serious eyesight problems, which prevented him from enlisting, but once he got them sorted out he joined a fine regiment (Royal Green Jackets) and graduated as a Combat Infantryman at the age of 31! Well that alone impresses me and shows that this guy has some of that `bulldog spirit' the British are so famous for.
He then takes us on a very detailed and tough tour through basic training; daily barracks life (lots of fighting and drinking - some things are the same for all soldiers!), and a couple of operational deployments to Iraq and Northern Ireland. As an American soldier the book fascinated me because I have always rated the British military very highly - like the country itself they are very small, but very, very good.
Mclaughlin comes out very strongly against the Iraq invasion, but you know what, the guy has served there and earned the right to have his say, so I say good luck to him. For what its worth, I am proud as hell to have been in Nam - but I think it was a Goddamn tragedy and so is Iraq.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait for the next,
39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of 'Soldier Philosophy',
This review is from: Squaddie: A Soldier's Story (Paperback)Never before have I come across a book like McLaughlin's - I think perhaps the only way I can describe it is as a `soldier philosophers' tale of a quite unique journey. The book was bought for me as a Fathers Day gift, and unusually for me, I read it in one mammoth sitting. As you might imagine the book is jam packed full of the usual military stories and crude observations - but what sets Squaddie apart from similar tales is the incredibly moving and empathetic style in which McLaughlin writes.
The scope of Squaddie is far broader than a mere military memoir, and the pin sharp observations and wry commentaries on life's absurdities and tragedies, that McLaughlin so skilfully weaves, mark him out as a writer of great talent. At times he almost moves us to tears and evokes pathos with his descriptions of his lost brother, purple-streaked skies on a gruelling field-ex, and the grinding tension of nighttime patrols in moonlit Basra.
But perhaps most surprisingly of all, this mere Private soldier `at the bottom of the food chain', demolishes the arguments for the War On Terror with a cold and clinical precision that would put a top General to shame. Despite his obvious pride at having served and his honest respect for his fellow soldiers, he guts Messer's Blair and Bush with a series of withering observations and accusations. But best of all, and in a delicious stroke of irony, despite being an atheist he even manages to turn their hypocritical `religious virtues' against them and sears them with biblical quotations.
Squaddie was described in the Daily Telegraph as the British Jarhead, but it isn't, it is in fact far more significant than that. Witty, ironic, laconic, biting, moving and emotive -the book is a stunning masterpiece of modern military history.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best military story i have ever read,
This review is from: Squaddie: A Soldier's Story (Paperback)Wow! Mclaughlin's book brought back many happy, and some not so happy, memmories to me. Back in the 80s i spent six years in the Black Watch, and i have to say this book is the only one i have ever read that captures the essance of Infantry soldiering at the sharp end. 'Squaddie' is the story of a private soldier in the Royal Green Jackets, and the accuracy and detail of the book really hit home with me.
Reading 'Squaddie' took me right back - freezing my balls off in Breccon, puking up on a tab while a nutty PTI screams abuse at me,and seeing a platoon Sgt 'bang out' someone for falling asleep on stag. For anyone that has been there and done it, or is even just thinking about it - read this book first.
I remember when 'Bravo two zero' came out and caused all that fuss, taking us into a secrative world and all that - i reckon this book will do the same but for differant reasons - now its the turn of the squaddies. Cheers Mclaughlin - shame you didnt join the Black Watch mate!
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Squaddie: A Soldier's Story by Steven McLaughlin (Paperback - 4 May 2006)
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