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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 25 March 2013
Don't buy this book if you want to read another shoot-em-up (though it describes a lot of instances of people getting shot). Don't read this book if you want to preserve a romantic view of war (although it describes platonic love between brothers-in-arms as set against the contrasting brutality). Don't trust the editorial crap on the back cover ("the only book on Afghanistan you will ever need to read"). This should spur you on to find out how the hell soldiers, civilians and Afghans came to experience this hell on earth.

Bury shows himself to be of his generation of soldiers; men and women who were drawn to conflict for some altruistic and some selfish motives, but who were condemned to partake in the tactics of western war in the absence of any apparent link to strategy or statecraft. He charts his own progress to the crucible of horror from innocent childhood play to very adult misadventure.

It left me wondering how this generation are supposed to live with the memories of the wars of choice in which they partook. At least those who watched their friends and enemies die in wars gone-by did so because of campaigns that were in many cases necessary. Recent discretionary campaigns will be much harder to come to terms with for those engaged in them (as well as their families). Bury charts his own adaptation to the madness with compassion, candour and good-humour. He is capable of the kind of reflection that is not bestowed on many who put themselves in his situation.

He has taken all of the best parts from his education and moral training and has applied them in a place that no amount of analysis can seem to rationalise. Ignore the cover which is designed to appeal to those who buy the raft of other contemporary soldier-autobiographies; this is the thinking man's book on what it is to experience Afghanistan first-hand as a Platoon Commander.
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on 26 August 2012
Many books have now been written about the war in Afghanistan and it is rare to find one which trully stands out. 'Callsign Hades' stands out by a mile! It is personal, it doesn't pull any punches and it certainly doesn't glorify war/combat. If you have a family member in Afghanistan or about to deploy this book will tell you exactly what our young men have to deal with. It is nothing short of excellent!
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on 10 June 2017
Outstanding read.. No B.S. or drama true and reflective account of leadership in an hostile environment. Highly recommended
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on 11 May 2017
Excellent book
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on 20 June 2017
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on 29 July 2013
A good personal account of the his time in Afghanistan. You experience the high's and lows of the tour, you can feel the different emotions through the writers words. All round good read, highly recommended.
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on 14 March 2013
This book is the very powerful, and at times uncomfortable, story of Patrick Bury’s journey through officer training at Sandhurst, into the Royal Irish Regiment and then out to Afghanistan in 2008 in command of 7 Platoon, Ranger Company, who were stationed in F.O.B Sangin in Helmand Province.

Patrick writes with a fluid honesty that is peppered with the wry, dry humour and moments of sang-froid that the British Army has become synonymous with. He shares his experiences freely, makes no attempt to dissemble or to hide behind his rank when talking about difficult topics, and doesn’t toe any ‘party line’ from the MoD. Neither is this a glorification of war or a blazing hurrah for the army. What he gives us are his thoughts and his experiences and offers us a clear and unflinching view of what it is like being part of the Infantry, both at home and on the front line.

There are moments of humour, moments of pure terror and moments that caused my throat to tighten and my eyes to burn. The camaraderie and deep bonds that form between the men are as heartening as they are heart-rending and the sheer bravery of Patrick and the men he served with in the face of IED’s, an enemy who is often invisible and horrendously intemperate conditions, is staggering.

Nothing is this book is sugar coated, nothing amended to protect civilian sensibilities. What we are shown is a man in a difficult situation who is just doing his job, and trying to protect his men and the civilians they have been deployed to protect, to the best of his abilities. It shows just how hard you have to be, mentally as well as physically, to function on the front line and also how much compassion and care is needed as well.

I have said before, in other posts, that I believe this book should be compulsory reading for all secondary school pupils in Britain and I stand by that. In fact I will go further; I think this is a book that everyone should read, because I believe we all need to understand the harsh realities of life as a soldier and - regardless of whether or not we believe our forces should be in Afghanistan at all - what they are facing every day they are on deployment.

I can say, hand on heart, that I have absolutely no qualms at all recommending this book. It is a must-read and one I will be returning to again and again.

Patrick Bury, I salute you; for your courage, your compassion and your honesty. Thank you for sharing part of your life with us.
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on 28 December 2011
It was incredibly hard to put down this book once I started it. It is an honest and eye opening account of what our troops go through out in Afghanistan. The book is well written and the author isn't frightened to admit his own faults, anxieties etc. I would highly recommend this to others.

As for the negative review - not overly impressed, evidently someone has a bit of a personal problem with the author. Bit of a shame. Don't let this put you off reading the book.
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on 11 November 2012
Patrick,an Irishman from the South, fighting not so much for the Queen but for his squad & to keep his men safe in Sangin for the Royal Irish regiment. He doesn't exclude his uncertainty & fears going into situations [keeping them from his team] - this is no gung ho narrative. Really nails the daily grind of clearing IEDs. Patrol sequences show the organised chaos & attempts to operate in that moment. The story of the 2 point guys - one from NI the other Southern - working together is a great metaphor for Ireland. Too much has been forgotten of the sacrifices the whole of Ireland made in WWI & WWII. A beautiful read.
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on 19 December 2011
Callsign Hades is a stunning book. I could not put it down. Much praise and many words have already been written about it. Sad and moving. Despair inducing. Utter, unspeakable horror. A vivid, honest account of the sheer hell of combat and the horrendous waste of life; this is one soldier's breathtaking account of the war in Afghanistan.
The writing is enthralling. The reader feels they are almost part of the action, sweating under the enormous weight of heavy gear. Terrified, looking into the eyes of a child, wondering is he about to give the signal to detonate a hidden IED, resulting in our death, or the loss of our limbs?
Electrifying from the start, when it opens with an explosion, there is no let up in the action as Patrick Bury brings us from his days at Sandhurst, through the conflict to the immensely moving ending, by which time this reader was in floods of tears.
Callsign Hades is one of the best books I have ever read. It's poignant, honest, shocking and heart-breaking, full of bravery and courage of the highest order.
I have always had enormous respect for the armed forces and now, I have even more.
A footnote is that before I read this book, I had signed up to go, in June 2012, on a fairly testing ten day horse trek in Mongolia in aid of Help for Heroes. Patrick Bury is one of those heroes and having read his book, I am more honoured than I can say to take on this challenge, thereby raising money for the heroic men and women of the forces.
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