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A good starting point but no more
on 26 June 2010
Spoken from the Front is not, the author says in the introduction, an attempt to give an in depth look at the war in Afghanistan.
Rather it aims to give a 'snapshot' of the fighting and conditions faced by our soldiers over there.
It should be best viewed as a 'starting point' and perhaps, given McNab's high profile and successes as an author, it can help in giving a much wider audience an insight into the true scale of the fighting that the soldiers are engaged in.
Students of the Afghanistan conflict will recognise that some of the more famous incidents are covered here, such as the attempted rescue of a soldier, who sadly turned out to be dead, by very brave men who strapped themselves to the sides of Apache gunship helicopters.
The epic drive taking vital new parts to a hydroelectric plant at a dam is covered briefly, along with medal winning exploits of a number of soldiers and pilots.
Spoken from the front does what it sets out to do - and no more.
It is an excellent entry point to literature on the war, and I would recommend Ed Macy's Apache and Patrick Bishop's 3 Para as good follow ups, which cover some of the big incidents mentioned in McNab's book in much greater detail.