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on 11 March 2011
Sean Rayment is the distinguished defence correspondent of The Sunday Telegraph. Bomb disposal in Afghanistan is a fascinating subject for a book. The combination of the two should be a recipe for success and I am glad to say that Bomb Hunters does not disappoint - far from it. Rayment, himself a former captain in the Parachute Regiment, provides a gripping and gritty insight into the courageous group of men who constantly risk their lives defusing the Taliban's weapon of choice - the Improvised Explosive Device (IED). The statistics given in this book - coupled with Rayment's incisive interviews with men on the front line - leave the reader in no doubt just how dangerous their job is in Helmand province. Soldiers serving in Afghanistan now stand a one in ten chance of becoming a casualty - being killed or wounded. Bomb Hunters is war reporting at its best and anyone reading the book will find it difficult not to agree with the final conclusion of Staff Sergeant Kim Hughes GC - that asking these brave bomb disposal operators to carry out tours of fully six months in duration is unacceptable.
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on 25 May 2017
Excellent. Thank you.
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on 25 May 2017
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on 17 June 2013
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on 6 June 2017
really good book, truly amazing what more can be said, if you have not read it, you should
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on 31 March 2011
I spent seven months in Brimstone 32, one of the IEDD teams in Sean's book and I am pleased he has captured the reality of our work in support of the overall mission in Helmand. He has shown that although we live and work in a high risk environment, we bear the same risks as every other soldier out on patrol ie coming under fire and in danger of becoming casualties from undetected devices. It is only when get to the target area that our job takes on a slightly different role from those in the Battle Groups, we stop focussing on being soldiers and switch back to being an IEDD team until we have completed the task and have to patrol back to our base. Like any group of soldiers, it is our training and teamwork that gets us through the difficulty and dangers of our work, whether on task or even waiting to go out on task and Sean frequently exposes that throughout the book.

I am pleased Sean chose to tell our story and I was pleased to be part of the story.
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on 3 April 2011
This book is as good piece of journalism that reports accurately life in Afghanistan for the young men and women working in the Counter-IED Task Force around Helmand Province. 6 months isolated from friends and family, working 10-14 hours a day, in extreme heat carrying 80 pounds of kit, all for a cause that you don't really understand and on top of that you have to find, disarm and safely remove something that is tailor made to kill you whilst dealing with the 'normal' every day routine of getting shot at. Anyone fancy bomb disposal?

Afghanistan doesn't get reported in the news so much anymore, with other conflicts in the Arab world taking the focus away; it makes it even easier for the British public to forget what is actually going on at the moment in Helmand Province and why our soldiers are being killed.

Sean Rayment has taking it upon himself to get to the front, take the same risks and endure what the bomb disposal teams endure every day. The book contains a lot of interviews, not only with officers that are trained to answer media questions but with soldiers from private up warrant officer. Interviews with soldiers such as Staff Sgt Karl Ley whose team managed to clear 139 IED's in a 6 month tour.

The book is concise, all of the military jargon is explained and acronyms are expanded. One of the interesting points I picked up from reading this book is how patriotism is changing, maybe only 70 years ago soldiers would be fighting for land, pride and the glory of an empire. Now most of us just fight for each other, we do what we can with the equipment we've got and we try to do whatever it takes to get all our guys back home in 6 months time with all of their limbs and no major injuries. Anything else is seen as failure. I was in Afghanistan myself only last year, part of a 4 man bomb disposal team. The number of IED's found in theatre was at an all time high, casualties were every day and we were working around the clock to clear vital resupply and casualty evacuation routes for troops on the ground, it's an extremely tiring and dangerous job.

All in all this book is informing, I think people will find it enlightening, it's not desensitised, nor is it over exaggerated, it's just reported as it is. Well done Sean.
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on 5 February 2011
Sean Rayment's recognised talent for reporting the truth, no matter
how controversial, is born out in this outstanding account of life in
the most dangerous place on earth, Afghanistan.
This is the book governments don't want you to read.

Hilary Meredith Solicitor
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on 3 February 2011
Bomb Hunters is a very special book. It is The Hurt Locker for real, a stunning story about the bravest men imaginable. It puts you right there in Afghanistan in the middle of all the bombs and bullets alongside these amazing men as they do their work. You see what the Bomb Hunters do and how they do it and you realise just what heroes they are. These are the men who clear landmines so other soldiers can pass over safe ground and the risks they take with their own lives are impossible to exaggerate. It's jaw-dropping stuff.

As well as the action you get to know the Bomb Hunters as men and as characters because of the time Sean Rayment spent with them. He writes in a very personal way about his experiences with them and obviously got to know them very well and came to like them very much which makes a reader like them too, as well as admire them for their raw courage. And so it is even more devastating when things go wrong and men die, which in this job they do a lot. Rayment, to his credit, does not hide that or other truths about war and Bomb Hunters is all the better for it. The sadness he feels when men are killed is described incredibly powerfully.

Bomb Hunters is quite simply as good a book about the realities of war as you will ever read.
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on 1 February 2011
In short, this really is a very good book. In a bit more detail, here's why...

A book packed with information on current affairs that manages to be as readable as anything penned by Steig Larsson is this industry's Holy Grail. And Sean's managed it.

It's an interesting topic, and undoubtedly of the moment, but it's the human element that has been captured so well that makes Bomb Hunters a real page-turner.

Like a great thriller you get heavily invested in the characters - who are they, what's their background, do they have families, just why the hell would you do this job?

And then also like a great thriller, you're never too sure who is going to make it to the book's end. (You'll find it all the more rewarding if you can resist Googling each new person introduced.)

It's jammed with enough jargon to satisfy the most vehement of arm-chair generals, but written in an understandable way and sufficienlty rationed out throughout the book to not slow the momentum.

The market's flooded with books written about Afghanistan, but very few leave the reader with anything lasting.

Bomb Hunters, however, does both the reader and the brave folk of EOD justice.
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