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Armed Action Paperback – 6 Sep 2007
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'An unprecedented account' (Mail On Sunday)
A vivid evocation of life and death at the sharp end of war (Mail on Sunday)
'Read Armed Action and get a taste of what battle's all about' (Daily Sport)
'[A] highly readable account' (Western Morning News)
Thrilling first-hand account of helicopter warfare by DFC-winning James Newton - the Andy McNab of the airSee all Product description
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So, not only is James Newton a most skilled and courageous pilot but an accomplished writer as well.
You will really enjoy this enthralling book --- it's a real page turner.
Purchased this, along with some others, for background reading on the armed forced, but found this to be as enjoyable as an action-based novel. I'd happily read something else by the author, as he has a great way of capturing and portraying the key moments for the reader.
He also talked very little about his helicopter, training and the challenges of his day to day life.
Newton's narrative is factual and honest, he gives credit to all those who deserve it, very much in the view they were one team. The training, preparation and deployment is detailed and the sheer fatigue and effort the guys put in to support the troops on arrival. These were a very brave bunch of guys, I have read Apache by Ed Macy (highly recommended) but here the Lynx has lower and less accurate firepower and far mess protection. Launching an unreliable TOW missile is nothing like the power of firing an Apache hellfire missile so it must take enormous guts to go up in a one on one with a tank and keep going back for more.
This is yet another interesting perspective of the Iraq war, told simply and honestly but once again underlining how many brave people we have in our armed forces.
The book starts well and the pace continues throughout. As is usual with this type of book, it opens with some action, then back tracks to a little bit of history... in this instance it only back tracked 10 years to the Combat Survival training Lt Cdr Newton endured (as all Naval aircrew do). These types of books quite often go all the way back to describe a wayward, broken childhood (at least, special forces ones tend to!) so it was good to not have to endure another 'standard issue' service book.
The action is well desrcibed with the author immersing the reader into the story with a good use of technical and non technical descriptions. It would have been so easy for Lt Cdr Newton to use terms beyond the knowledge or understanding of the layman, something which is avoided in this book.
Overall, the book reads very well and is a real page turner. The only criticism I have of it is his description of the Combat survival (E&E and R2I), which unfortunately does not paint a 100% true picture of what happens on the course and is, in fact, subject to some embellishment. It's a shame as the Survival course is an ordeal (albeit enjoyable and very rewarding) and needs no padding out, it is true what the author says about it being the toughest Survival course that regular forces undergo, not quite up to the beasting that special forces get, but very similar.
To that end some of the infactual writing on subjects I know about and have experienced left niggling doubts in my mind as to the rest of the writing relating to experiences I have not had (I never flew in combat, and flew a different varient of Lynx therefore I could not comment on the voracity of the authors writing in these circumstances).
The experiences that Lt Cdr Newton had and his role in the conflict are truly inspiring - the award of the DFC to Naval aircrew is rare - therefore it's a real shame, in my eyes, that the author chose to embellish parts of his story - the Survival training needs no embellishment, yet he chose to do so, thus somewhat spoiling the rest of the book for me.
Having said all of the above, I would not hesitate to recommend the book, it is a great story of bravery and is an insight, albeit a small one, into modern aerial warfare. If you have no experience of military training, the book will prove to be a great read. If you have a military background, the book is still worth buying - the minor discrepancies do not spoil the overall reading experience.
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I found it very down to earth,human,in places a gripping read,well done james newton and all the best...Read more