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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars

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on 29 May 2017
I've read a good bit of books from serving and past member of the Services and must say that this is one that I really enjoyed. Captivating, interesting and really takes you to the scene. As a serving member of RN I read this book and can relate fully to it. Well done shipmate.. Yours Aye...
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on 19 September 2008
I bought and read this book,because James Newton married my husband's niece, Donna (see acknowledgements).

I had absolutely no idea of how much I would feel and learn from his book.

I basically know very little about war. I've read the odd book such as Black Hawk Down, but otherwise am fairly clueless (unless you count John Wayne films).

This is an amazing story because you feel right from the beginning that no Ghost Writer was involved. This is a personal story, written with great feeling, truth, horror and humour.

I couldn't put it down either.. It was like having a window into the truth. What it really feels like to be confined in close quarters with so many people and so little room. The boredom and yet the terror of what is to come, for yourself and the men under you. He writes of his compassion for the basic Iraqi soldiers he must kill. Hovering above the battle while trying to take aim and shoot before being shot. The numb stuper of fighting, then going out and fighting again.

He makes you feel as if you were in the helicopter with him. His feelings for the men he fought and lived with. The realization that all the years training and preparing were going to be put to the test.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is searching for some truth, in these days of cover up, or just because you want something really worth reading.

I sincerely hope I am able to meet him one day. It would be a great honour.

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James Newton, a Lynx pilot, was awarded the DFC for his actions in the invasion of Iraq. This is his story, the story of his colleagues and the 847 Squadron. Newton was the first navy pilot to be awarded the DFC in over 50 years and his story explains why and you will wonder why more of his colleagues did not join him.

Newton's narrative is factual and honest, he gives credit to all those who deserve it, very much in the view they were one team. The training, preparation and deployment is detailed and the sheer fatigue and effort the guys put in to support the troops on arrival. These were a very brave bunch of guys, I have read Apache by Ed Macy (highly recommended) but here the Lynx has lower and less accurate firepower and far mess protection. Launching an unreliable TOW missile is nothing like the power of firing an Apache hellfire missile so it must take enormous guts to go up in a one on one with a tank and keep going back for more.

This is yet another interesting perspective of the Iraq war, told simply and honestly but once again underlining how many brave people we have in our armed forces.
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on 26 April 2007
I bought this book because I wanted to better understand what really went on back in 2003. The book is a first hand account from a serving naval pilot on the receiving end of an unpopular government decision and the fierce responses of Saddam's Elite Republican Guard and Fedyeen militia during the second Gulf War. Unusually for books of its type, it honestly documents the ferocious intensity of modern air combat, the mental and physical struggle from being at the centre of a warzone and the emotional toll on an ordinary bloke doing his duty. I read it in one sitting - I couldn't put it down.
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on 7 November 2014
I bought it soon after reading ChickenHawk (totally recommend it if you like helicopters and the Vietnam War), hoping it would give me a british view of a modern conflict, but i was very disappointed. The author, however skilled and deserving of his medals, saw very little action (in comparison with ChickenHawk's author) and was unable to express his emotions or describe the mood of someone in a conflict.
He also talked very little about his helicopter, training and the challenges of his day to day life.
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on 16 May 2008
The book covers the training, fighting and feelings of a modern day helicopter unit.

The first half of the book leads up to the unit being deployed, and gives a good insight into how well trained these boys are (they undergo the same E&E course as the SAS).

Following on from there, the unit is deployed to Iraq and becomes embroiled in numerous contacts. This isnt all bravado and the author speaks of their fears and how the things they witnessed haunt them.

My only slight criticism is that the author has a tendency to use long sentences with a lot commas. This can sometimes be a little difficult to read.

How ever on the whole this is worth every one of the four stars!
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on 18 June 2007
James Newton has taken what we 'thought' happened, into the realms of what 'really' happened. Having said that, I am sure that James is only scratching at the surface - we, the readers, are left to only speculate as to what happened for real, the facts of which, the author is unable - at this moment in time- to put into print.

The book is extremely well written, and is one of those 'can't put it down until it's finished' accounts.

Well Done!
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on 1 November 2007
I bought this book for 4 reasons - 1) I am a voracious reader 2) I enjoy reading books by real people who have interesting experiences 3) I have a passing aquaintance with the author 4) I too was in the FAA and flew the Lynx (albeit the Naval variant).

The book starts well and the pace continues throughout. As is usual with this type of book, it opens with some action, then back tracks to a little bit of history... in this instance it only back tracked 10 years to the Combat Survival training Lt Cdr Newton endured (as all Naval aircrew do). These types of books quite often go all the way back to describe a wayward, broken childhood (at least, special forces ones tend to!) so it was good to not have to endure another 'standard issue' service book.

The action is well desrcibed with the author immersing the reader into the story with a good use of technical and non technical descriptions. It would have been so easy for Lt Cdr Newton to use terms beyond the knowledge or understanding of the layman, something which is avoided in this book.

Overall, the book reads very well and is a real page turner. The only criticism I have of it is his description of the Combat survival (E&E and R2I), which unfortunately does not paint a 100% true picture of what happens on the course and is, in fact, subject to some embellishment. It's a shame as the Survival course is an ordeal (albeit enjoyable and very rewarding) and needs no padding out, it is true what the author says about it being the toughest Survival course that regular forces undergo, not quite up to the beasting that special forces get, but very similar.

To that end some of the infactual writing on subjects I know about and have experienced left niggling doubts in my mind as to the rest of the writing relating to experiences I have not had (I never flew in combat, and flew a different varient of Lynx therefore I could not comment on the voracity of the authors writing in these circumstances).

The experiences that Lt Cdr Newton had and his role in the conflict are truly inspiring - the award of the DFC to Naval aircrew is rare - therefore it's a real shame, in my eyes, that the author chose to embellish parts of his story - the Survival training needs no embellishment, yet he chose to do so, thus somewhat spoiling the rest of the book for me.

Having said all of the above, I would not hesitate to recommend the book, it is a great story of bravery and is an insight, albeit a small one, into modern aerial warfare. If you have no experience of military training, the book will prove to be a great read. If you have a military background, the book is still worth buying - the minor discrepancies do not spoil the overall reading experience.
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on 3 May 2007
James Newton tells a very human story where he is not too proud to admit the human foibles and hopes and fears of his colleagues or himself. This adds greatly to an already well-written book which is highly recommended.

It makes you appreciate what a poor portrayal of accuracy the media or the Government are when it comes to the detail of what actually happened in the 2nd Gulf War, which has sadly still not really ended.
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on 14 September 2008
I love reading anything about British military memoirs,and I really enjoyed James' book.Helicopter warfare is still unknown to me,but James details a fascinating account of his tour.I really enjoyed reading the battle descriptions.He clearly knows what he's talking about,and still make it a really interesting read.
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