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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 26 October 2012
Ok, this book is fantastic! These guys went through seven weeks of absolute hell and this book captures every moment of it in graphic detail - from the beatings to their own private thoughts and feelings. Each man tells his own side to the story based on his own experience and it makes for a rivetting read. The book doesn't just cover their mission and capture. It starts off giving you a very detailed description of RAF life, both on a personal and professional level, often with the use of humour. You get a good few laughs out of this too. But it's a rollercoaster ride, leaving you laughing one moment and feeling their anguish and torment under such adverse and hostile conditions the next. How these guys managed to cling onto their sanity in that Iraqi hell hole is beyond me. This was well worth the purchase and I'm almost finished it, but I'll be reading it again and again. A brilliant book, co-authored by two extremely brave men! (with a few contributions by John Peters wife, Helen).
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on 27 June 2012
In 1991 John Peters and John Nichol were pilot and navigator on a mission over Iraq. They were shot down and this is their story.
I wouldn't normally be very attracted to a book about fast jets but this is a story of human frailty, endurance and the will to survive. And what really endeared me to this book was the honesty. As air crew in a Tornado these guys were at the top of their game, very skilled and confident. But having ejected from their little world of technology they find themselves alone, in enemy territory and very soon they are captured. What follows is a very personal account of their encounter with the brutality of war.
I loved the humour that peppered the story, it never seemed forced, just there as it sometimes in in even the most dire moments. There is a description of the men's pathetic attempt to hide their presence in the desert after they have ejected. I think it's John Nichol who describes how they left a trail with their parachutes that seemed to be saying 'enemy officers - this way!'
There is also a very telling moment much later when both men have gone through interrogation and are in prison . John Peters hears a cry ring out and realises the guards are coming for John Nichol for some misdemeanour. John Peters says he felt for his friend but his overiding feeling was that he was relieved they were not coming for him. These prisoners were not gung-ho film stars but people living in fear of their lives.
The story is told from both men's viewpoint and from Peters' wife who talks about what it was like to be at home waiting and not knowing.
A story that has stayed with me for a long time.

Author of - The Palaver Tree
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on 1 July 2007
One of the most unusual stories from the Gulf war, because the men who went to drop the bombs get to be on the recieving end of other men who come to drop bombs on them. As well as appearing on Iraqi TV (John Nichols later found fame introducing airshows for the BBC), the 2 servicemen are more articulate than the average pilot (who are known for speaking only with their hands) and refreshingly honest throughout the whole story.

The first part of the book tells the details of flying a fast jet, and a few perculiarities of the Tornado. A cut-away daigram and pictures of both front and back seat cockpits add to the description. The roles of piolt and Navigator are skimmed over, with enough detaiklto make sense. Later, these details are crucial, for the tornado is downed really because Nichols fails to press a button in the attack sequence. The story is not full of flying escapades as this is the first and only daylight low-level raid of the war, and the 2 patriotic authors dismiss blaming their authorities for what was probably a botch up of timing on the first day of the air war.

It is this honest patriotic stance that fills the book, and explains why these 2 got so much fame and credit afterwards, with a Channel 4 film of the same and a TV job full stop. Well they were still in the employment of the RAF, and the reality of going to war was a strange shock even though they had been preparing for it for years.

After the agonising decision to eject, the fun really starts for these 2, with a crawl through the desert near the very airbase they had attempted to attack, then the showing bullet welcome form their captors, to the first of endless beatings and ferrying around Iraq, before being incarcerarted in a well built prison, that ironocally becomes their shelter when it is bombed, and the guards are killed as they take shelter. Teh descriptions are horrible, and what seems to be hidden behind all these experiences is the inevitable trauma that they all mount up to.

Nichols affirms from his prison cell that he rarely goes to church. But prayer gacve him immense strength. Other colleques died, but these survivors get to refelct on what is important to them (family, using what they have earned for good etc...) and the book ends fittingly with a dignified funeral for fallen collegues from their squadron, and a quote from Phillippians chapter 4 (The Bible), so what more could you want in such a book?
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on 9 June 1999
This book is must to read. The accounts are graphic and bring to life the reality of war and what happens behind enemy lines that none of us will ever know or face. Both John Nichol and John Peters tell you there sides of the capture. The only way to undestand this bok is to read it.
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on 1 March 2016
Brilliant biography by wonderful writer, John Nichol. Tragic and emotional read. I remember following this news story on Sky News and could tell how tortured these two men had been and it was clear that they were speaking under duress. Terrible truths of a terrible war. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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on 15 April 2003
This has got to be the best ever book i've read, couldn't put it down for a second I always wanted to know what happens next. I would recommend this book to anyone, it show just how evil the iraqi soldier can be & how brave John Peters, John Nichol & the other POW are.
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on 26 February 2008
This book is a real insight into the RAF and the run up of the Golf War. Neither men portray themselves as `heroes' nor do they pretend to make up a story to give the impression they were some kind of James Bond.

They tell a terrifying story of being shot down and captured. Both explain their expectation of being killed and the joys of being released. Sorry to use to the pun, but this book is difficult to put down once started and I would recommend it to all. Trilling, terrifying and insightful, this book is one of the best I have read!
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on 20 January 2016
This was a very well written book..I enjoy watching John on sky news and thought to read the true story of his and fellow airman John time in the gulf did make you realise how nasty people can be..recommend this read
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on 23 June 2015
Didn't expect a lot from this book but boy was i surprised. Hard to put down. Can't get over the terrible torture and beatings they endured from the ordinary Iraqi solider, less alone from the prison interrogators. Great read.
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on 6 February 2014
Scary stuff! At times I felt like I was in the cell with them. The human spirit can certainly endure a lot of punishment but everyone has a breaking point! Man's inhumanity to man is evident throughout this book but is offset by the qualities of comradeship and loyalty shown by the prisoners.
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