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Siege at Jadotville Paperback – 6 Oct 2016

4.4 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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  • Heroes of Jadotville: The Soldiers' Story
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  • Katanga 1960-63: Mercenaries, Spies and the African Nation that Waged War on the World
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Maverick House (6 Oct. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908518243
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908518248
  • Product Dimensions: 23.3 x 2 x 13.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 168,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'A fine book, well-written and expertly researched. It offers a clear insight into a period of Irish history endangered of being forgotten.' -- The Western People

'In telling the full story for the first time, former soldier, Declan Power does the brave men of A Company a great service' --John Moran, The Irish Times

'Siege At Jadotville lifts the lid on one of the most controversial episodes in Ireland's UN service.' --Sunday World

'The book is a welcome addition to the small number of books about the Congo operation and should be required reading for the Army.' --Don Lavery, The Irish Independent

Review

'The book is a welcome addition to the small number of books about the Congo operation and should be required reading for the Army.' --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
‘Those that I fight I do not hate, those that I guard I do not love’ ~ W.B. Yeats

It is a sad state of affairs when it takes a Hollywood actor to draw your attention to bravery and sacrifice on your own doorstep. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until Jamie Dornan attached himself to a Netflix motion picture of the same name that I became fully interested in this topic. I am not alone in my ignorance either. The tale of these brave Irish soldiers’ bravery has been all but wiped from national history in recent decades. Thankfully, Declan Power has written the book that these heroes fully deserve.

Historical non-fiction is a perilous genre. It is never going to compete with the bestsellers and to be successful it must walk the tightrope of attracting popular opinion whilst also standing up against the scrutiny of academics. Declan Power achieves this with impressive skill. Here he has created a book that factually leaves no stone unturned, yet also maintains an entertaining flow that engages the reader throughout. The 288 pages fly by as Power recounts the political climate at the time, the state of the Irish Army and UN at the time and the events and aftermath of Jadotville.

I found myself reading this book in a constant state of disbelief. How could 150 Irish soldiers compete with an army five thousand strong led by well paid mercenaries? How could they deal with constant air raids, dwindling food and water supplies and a complete lack of military information and support? The answers to these questions tell an extraordinary tale that reveals startling truths about the UN’s involvement in the Congo during a turbulent decade.

In September 1963, A Company were sent to replace a company of twice their number in Jadotville.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Siege at Jadotville is the story of the remarkable group of soldiers who made up A Company, 35th Irish Infantry Battalion, and the intelligence, bravery, and skill they exhibited under dire circumstances in the Congo in 1961. Declan Power provides an excellent analysis of the tangled United Nations and African politics in the early 60s that led to a brutal and avoidable ambush of the Irish UN forces. In an untenable situation, with their fate determined by ignorant and arrogant politicians several continents away, these soldiers, under the leadership of an outstanding group of officers and non-comms, fought to the end with an unwavering sense of duty. With Siege at Jadotville, Power brings this exceptional group of men some of the historic justice they so richly deserve but were denied for fifty years.
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Format: Paperback
This book gives an excellent account of the Irish Involvement in Katanga, and specifically the courage and dedication and professionalism displayed by the troops in Jadotville. Declan really immerses you in the center of the action. He shows the total disconnect between the politicians at the UN and the commanders on the ground. The shortfall in UN Preparedness was specifically highlighted.
This book is a "must read" for any serving or retired soldier. The Irish Army are always wrongly critisised for never being in a real war. This book shows that is so untrue. Well done bringing this very important piece of history to the masses.
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Format: Paperback
Informative view of a series of events that now seems remote and of another world.

The author, however, excessively identifies with and is far too sympathetic to the Irish. He is knowing and 'insiderish' - with a nod, a wink and a rather smart-alec writing style, he expects his readership to be the same. His English is clumsy and sometimes illiterate. From page 72 of my paperback version:

'Katanga would eventually be suppressed by the forces of ONUC fighting conventional infantry battles, and these "revolutionary cells" entirely failed to give any support to the nascent state, if they weren't just a figment of Trinquier's battle-scarred imagination.'. Dear me. Even with context, knowing that it's the French acronym and broadly who Trinquier is, this is hard to understand. It is representative.

The book needed to be written and it tells a good story. But it would have been better done by a dispassionate professional historian who can also write. Unusually, the movie is better than the book upon which it is based. I suspect we await the definitive history of the siege at Jadotville.
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Thanks to Netflix I've now seen the film and know it's a good story of leadership and resolve from the isolated Irish battalion. That was certainly not something I could say of this book, which had me ranting from the first page and all but put me off the story thanks to its confusing style, appalling writing and terrible structure. I've read better young officers' essays, and in fact whereas I usually hold books sacrosanct, I found myself red inking all over the pages in my frustration. Do yourself a favour; watch the film and waste neither time nor money on this pulp.
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Format: Paperback
Siege at Jadotville is a terrific book about a forgotten chapter of Irish history. Declan Power uses impeccable sources and extensive research to produce a book, which will appeal to both military buffs and ordinary readers. The story of how 150 Irish soldiers held off thousands of advancing troops is almost impossible to believe. That the Irish UN contingent killed an estimated 300 raiders, without losing a single man was a testament to the bravery of A Company. The book also contains a hugely significant analysis of the failings of this United Nations peace-keeping mission, one which holds valuable lessons today.
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