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on 8 February 2011
Written by a very experienced, top journalist, this volume has all the hallmarks of a thoroughly researched subject.
Starting with a general overview of the activities of the hired soldier, Tony Geraghty quickly covers in matter-of-fact style, mercenary activity in the post colonial, African continent of 1960 onwards, middle east action in the 1970's, and South/Central American activity thereafter. Iraq up to the new millenium is considered, along with the requirement to find future international agreement on curbing some of the worst excesses of private military activities. Drawing on his inside acquaintance with British members of the private military community, most of the events covered are those involving predominant, or exclusive British involvement. The book is likely to appeal primarily to members of the military, retired soldiers, and, perhaps, those considering a change of occupation to PSC operative (primarily non-combatant roles, such as security advice, hostage negotiation, etc.), or PMC operative (Private Military Company (usually armed protection, military advisers, and even battlefield soldiers).

For those too young to remember the sixties and seventies, some of the names and events may seem like dusty history; but for those of us who remember the contemporary media accounts of massacres and mutilations, this book will remind us of some harrowing times. Those who are more sensitive, could find some of the matter of fact descriptions of atrocities quite disturbing.

For me, what makes this book fascinating is not mercenary involvement in large, set-piece battles, but their place in the complexities of the modern geopolitical scene. Where governments are politically sensitive to the costs, both in warriors' lives and their equipment, the use of Private Military Companies to augment the activity of regular forces, is a convenient, lower profile method of protecting national interests. Also of interest, and perhaps more controversial, is Mr Geraghty's frank examination of the concept of the "deniable warrior" - allowing governments to intervene in security situations for their own benefit, whilst being able to deny involvement plausibly, where overt action is polictically unacceptable or inexpedient.

Perhaps most disturbing, is the past record of western governments in use of the deniable warrior, to destabilise regimes of which they disapproved. It is salutary to remember that the role of the military is not to exercise political power, but to defend, and project force, on behalf of the legitimate government. Thus, a nation's armed forces, both visible and deniable, exist to act on behalf of you and me.
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on 3 September 2009
This is an extremely well written book by a Great Journalist with insiders experience of the 'circuit'. Anybody wanting to join this colourful world could look for no better introduction. Geraghty covers the role of Hired Guns all over the African theatre, the Middle Eastern and Latin theatres over the last 40 years.
He gives a well balanced portrait of the characters involved in this dangerous world. There are clearly villains and psychopaths, but there are also courageous and honourable men to be found; who finding a cause often pay with their lives for it.
This book analyses the likely future of this burgeoning industry of Privatised War and the direction it takes is ultimately going to clash significantly with legislation and regulation at some point in the future. The days of Mad Mike Hoare and Blackwater having a free hand will be under increasing pressure to accept regulation, as they take on greater roles in the World Policing Job they have found themselves in.
Fascinating for its stories from so many conflicts, rich in characters and strong on analysis, its a book well worth reading.
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on 5 November 2011
While the public perception of mercenaries is of mavericks, the reality in general, according to Geraghty's in-depth research, is quite different. The better organisations for whom many work are endorsed by and used as politically convenient and 'deniable' adjuncts to the military forces of many First World countries. This book provides a fascinating insight into a murky world where many highly skilled specialists have changed and continue to change the balance of power and the course of history. A brilliant read!
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on 5 January 2015
Maybe I should have researched it a bit more before I bought it. I had expected more of a collection of stories about the subject rather than the history of the subject which is the way its written. Its very "matter of fact" in style.
I'm not saying its a bad book, its not unputdownable but is readable, its just I was expecting something different.
On the other hand, I bought it secondhand.........what value!. Well packaged and the book was in perfect condition, undistinguishable from new condition.
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VINE VOICEon 13 July 2010
Excellent investigation & history of how the Mercenary's of the mid-C20th morphed into the Private Military/Security Companies(PMC/PSC) of today. PMC are prevelent in huge numbers in Iraq, Afganistan & other places today (Blackwater, Aegis, KMS, etc) and this book details how they came about & how they are used in the modern geo-political climate. great book.
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on 23 October 2013
i was a bit worried when i got this book it may have been gung ho history but no its a solid interesting work on mercenaries to the development of private for cash business....found the chapters on iraq and afghanistan interesting also very worrying how private companies make profit from war.not so much dogs of war but stocks of war good book
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on 17 June 2016
A first class book on Mercenary Soldiers. Thoroughly recommended.
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on 10 June 2015
just as described
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on 14 February 2015
great book
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on 8 January 2015
Fab
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