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Dusty Warriors: Modern Soldiers at War Hardcover – 3 Apr 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 316 pages
  • Publisher: HarperPress; First Edition First Impression edition (3 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007212844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007212842
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 14.8 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 275,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

‘Richard Holmes is a first-rate writer and with this exciting, affectionate account of his regiment at war he has set a standard for other military authors to aspire to.’ Daily Mail

‘…the action is superbly described…gripping…an important milestone for future generations wanting to understand the British Army and the post-invasion turbulence of Iraq…essential reading.’ Sunday Times

‘You will not be able to put it down…thought-provoking and profoundly perceptive…it is a piece of contemporary military history written with the author's trademark fluency, pace and wit…’ Spectator

Praise for ‘Tommy’:

‘Holmes is one of our foremost military scholars and a skilled writer who knows his audience well. This is excellent popular history: scholarly, highly readable and utterly absorbing.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Monumental … Every page of this is worth reading.’ Time Out

‘Where Holmes’ book comes brilliantly to life is in his use of first-hand accounts of the trench experience … It is Holmes’ achievement to make this familiar landscape come alive with the humanity of those who fought in it.’ Times Literary Supplement

‘Holmes has produced yet another fascinating, balanced and original book of a highly emotive subject. ‘ Sunday Telegraph

Praise for ‘Redcoat’:

‘“Redcoat” is not just a work of history but of enthusiasm and unparalleled knowledge. This is a wonderful book, doing justice to men who have long deserved a chronicler of Richard Holmes’s skill.’ Bernard Cornwell

‘It would be hard to exaggerate the excellence of this book. Vivid, comprehensive, well-written, pacy, colourful.’ Simon Heffer

‘A wonderful book, full of anecdote and good sense. Anyone who has enjoyed a Sharpe story will love it.’ Bernard Cornwell, Daily Mail

‘Beautifully written, “Redcoat” is a vivid account of squalor and suffering almost beyond belief, for the men, their wives and followers, and their horses. One of the best chapters is a description of barrack-room life that will turn a few stomachs in this more fastitidious age.’ John Canon, Times Literary Supplement

‘“Redcoat” is the story of the British soldier from the Seven Year War through to the Mutiny and Crimea. It is consistently entertaining, full of brilliantly chosen anecdotes and rattles along at a good light infantry pace.’ David Crane, Spectator

‘All the best-known soldier writers are discussed here, and their anecdotes are told with enthusiasm and aplomb … This is an army from another world, and “Redcoat” is a splendidly entertaining, moving and informative description of its strengths and foibles.’ Hew Strachan, Daily Telegraph

From the Back Cover

' A compelling and fast-moving narrative of the courage,
restraint and fortitude shown by British soldiers in impossible
circumstances. An important milestone for future generations wanting to
understand the British Army' Sunday Times

Despite 24-hour rolling media coverage of modern conflict few of us
understand what is demanded of the contemporary 'Tommy' - what it's like
when your day job includes grenades, bayonets and night operations. Now, in
Dusty Warriors, we have a compelling, exciting, sometimes terrifying
picture of real life in the modern army.

Foremost military historian Richard Holmes has drawn on the testimonies and
personal photographs of Britsh soldiers in Iraq to vividly capture their
day-to-day experiences - from camp kitchens to the rooftops of Basra and Al
Amarah, from a sweaty improvised gym to the heart of an armoured convoy
barrelling out across the desert.

'First-rate ... with this exciting, affectionate account of his regiment at
war Holmes has set a standard for other military authors to aspire to.'
Daily Mail

'Thought-provoking and profoundly perceptive. This book will open eyes to
the stirring realities of life at the tip of the bayonet' Spectator --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Richard Holmes is a distinguished military historian, best known for his TV series for the BBC, including "War Walks" and "Wellington: the Iron Duke", as well as for more than a dozen books on various aspects of the history of the British Army. Unusually for an academic, he's also a soldier, of 36 years standing, and is Colonel of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. In summer 2004 the PWRR were sent to southern Iraq. Richard Holmes visited them there, during a period which saw a lot of fierce fighting and one of the regiment's soldiers win the Victoria Cross. He gathered diaries and e-mails from officers and men to compile a first-hand record of their time in Iraq. This book, "on that windswept headland somewhere between journalism and history" as he puts it, is the result.

One of Holmes's great strengths as a military historian is his understanding of, and sympathy for, the private soldier, the ordinary infantryman (and these days also woman) on whom the grand plans of generals and politicians ultimately depend. This comes over in a big way in "Dusty Warriors". In many ways the book is like the soldiers themselves: not macho, not gung-ho, not at all what civilians would expect really, but instead professional, cynical, humorous, searingly honest and grimly realistic. To a demilitarised society like ours where most people have no contact with the military, and no experience of danger, much of the detail will be shocking. But it's how it is. This is a world away from Hollywood and fictional accounts of special forces. This is a real army, our Army, people like us, doing a difficult and dangerous job.

It's also a job that most of the country doesn't even know is being done. Holmes says he wrote this book because the media's coverage of the Army's work in Iraq is so poor.
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Format: Hardcover
Another winner from Prof Richard Holmes, telling the tale of the PWRR Battle Group's work in Iraq in 2004. Told largely in the soldiers own words, this book gives a real insight into the life of a modern soldier on an operational tour. The down-to-earth language of soldiers of the British Army conveys the atmosphere of the fighting and the tension of the peace without glorification or trying to bullshit the reader. As someone who was there I can testify to the truth of the accounts, and assure you that the memories came flooding back.
Thoroghly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
Dusty Warriors is a watershed in the description of the difficulties and tribulations confronting modern soldiers. In the complicated international environment an average 18 year old from Hampshire can find himself an intermediary between political and religious conflicts around the world over the course of a brief 4 year miltary career. Professor Holmes expertly descibes the challenges facing this new breed of 21st Century warriors who are facing the same geographic, physical and moral challanges as their well lauded WW2 contemporaries. The quiet times of a 6 month tour are described alongside the hectic and fearful moments in contact with a ruthless and determined enemy force as well as the hearfelt impact of the loss of their brothers to enemy fire and accidents. A true classic of 21st Century history this is a must read for the general public and historians alike. As one of Profesor Holmes Dusty Warriors myself I cannot recommend this book enough, a classic of our times he has done the soldiers of 2004 a true and worthy service. A grateful Tiger of the Sands...
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Format: Hardcover
This book should be on the essential reading list for every single person in the UK eligible to vote.

I went to Richard Holmes' talk at the National Army Museum where this was launched, and was priviledged enough to hear and question a number of incidents and experiences recounted. The lasting legacy which stays with me has to be the perverse hypocrisy of living in an age of instant global multi-media, allowing us to carry a battle to a living room in real time, and yet never before in the history of the UK, has a conflict in which our troops are engaged been so little known or understood on its own streets.

This book dispelled a number of myths under which the bulk of the UK population continue to debate and vote under. It reminded me of Robert McNamara's letter to Bill Clinton, where he reiterated his belief that it was the duty of every citizen to question their government's decision to send their youth to war. To do that we must understand exactly what we are sending them into, and this book helps us to do just that.

This may not be his best book, but right now it is definitely Essential Reading.
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Format: Paperback
For me, this is the definitive book telling the story of the 'ordinary' British Soldier yet to appear out of the British involvement in Iraq.

This book follows the story of the 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment (1PWRR) throughout their deployment to Al Amarah in Southern Iraq in 2004. Richard Holmes brings the story to us brilliantly. Superbly written and masterfully drawing upon the personal diaries and reports of the soldiers who took part in the battles of dirty, dusty Al Amarah. With brilliant descriptions of how an infantry unit works and a highly accurate, unobtrusive decoding of military jargon, this book pinpoints all that is good about the British Military without hiding any of the shortcomings.

Any unit that can win a VC, a hatful of MC's and various other bravery awards in 6 months is a good one. 1 PWRR comes across as well lead, with a very close and selfless camaraderie, but perhaps the most telling thing about this unit is that they are like so many in the British Army. However, they and their attached units from other famous regiments were the ones in Al Amarah when things kicked off. British Soldiers engaging the enemy daily. Prolonged, intense gun battles, mortar attacks, sniping and fixed bayonets.

Read it. You will not fail to be impressed.
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