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on 2 May 2017
An honest, brave account of one man's life experience. I felt I was there in person with Tony, his description of events was powerful. I was anxious to find out how things turned out for this honest soldier.
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on 22 June 2017
Brilliant insight into the Falklands conflict and great story of how Tony McNally coped with the aftermath. Great read!
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on 10 May 2007
As a female who knows nothing about the military I would not usually read this type of book. My friend bought it for her husband who is in the TA and said she flicked through it one day and then ended up reading the whole book in a couple of days. I found Tony's story extremely compelling as he lives locally to myself and found myself reading his book at every opportunity. I just wanted to know how things turned out for him. I found myself close to tears when I read about him coming back from the Falklands and nobody from his family was there to meet him at the airport. I had no idea that PTSD is such a terrible condition and this powerful book has opened my eyes to the enormous pressure young men and woman are under during war time. We owe them all a debt of gratitude.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 April 2012
Having gone through the exact same training and then joining an Air Defence Regiment in Dortmund in the 80's I found the first few chapters to be more a work of fiction rather than fact. The stories of Drunken debauchery every single night and violent Germans just doesn't hold true. Yes there were times when we would go out and get razzled but to say we got off our faces everynight on all nighters and then managed to do a days work afterwards is a joke and an insult to most soldiers who served in BAOR, and trouble between us and the local population weas exremely rare.
I can't really comment on the chapters concerning his experiences in the Falklands as I never served there but his account of the Rapier equipment is certainly spot on. Rapier at the time was very delicate and very tempremental and its short commings were well documented.

On the whole this book is an enjoyable read, but I feel let down that the author chose to "over egg" some aspects of the story.
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on 15 September 2007
This is a pretty odd review for me, mainly because so much in the book is so similar to my own life.

We grew up in a similar area, the Author in Dalton-in-Furness, I grew up in Ulverston, we both joined the Army Cadets, we both went through the Junior Leader Regiment Royal Artillery, the only real difference is in age, and then we are only just less than four years different, we may even have seen each other at Cadets. I still have memories of the cadets in Dalton meeting at what is now Chequers, a restaurant and motel.
If things had been slightly different we may even have ended up in the same unit, I certainly wanted to go 12AD, it was my local regiment and they had visited us in Ulverston while I was a cadet.

The first thing I have to say is that this book isn't written by a professional writer, it is a book about the life of a soldier, written by a soldier. Yet it is a book written by someone who knows how to tell a story.

I felt my adrenalin levels go up as I read about the deployment overlooking Fitzroy Bay, as soon as he mentioned the system fault tone sounding I knew what was coming and the hairs went up on the back of my neck.

I wasn't there, but my experiences in the Army make me well aware of how the author probably felt at the moment he pressed the Fire button, as he tracked the the inbound aircraft and got the fault tone.

It takes 120 pages to get to that point in the book, 120 pages of a normal person going through life and ending in the Rapier operators seat. You then have 124 pages outlining his fall into a mental hell and his harsh journey back to normality, a journey he knows he hasn't finished yet, a journey he acknowledges he may never finish.

I can't say much more, it isn't that I want to spoil the plot, but I don't want to spoil the book for someone reading it for the first time.

Anyone who watched the pictures on TV of the forces landing at San Carlos, who stared dumbstruck at the pictures of HMS Antelope exploding, or watched the tragedy unfold as the Sir Galahad burned should read this book. They should read it to understand that the casualties coming ashore from the Galahad weren't the only ones that day, and they should understand that some of the worst injuries that day will never be visible to the naked eye.

Tony McNally was let down by everyone who should of supported him, they failed him completely and the lessons still haven't been taken in. His book should be required reading for every senior NCO and officer leading troops in operational duties.
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on 2 May 2007
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and read it in a couple of days on my way to and from work. The author tells about his time in the army and what it's like going to war and the after effects. You get a real sense of what it is like when your kit doesn't work and people die as a result, and what it's like to be a young man coming to terms with this. There are some funny parts about his time in green and some tough parts about coming to terms with life out of the army with PTSD.
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on 25 June 2007
Those who know war live it not only once in the actual engagement in combat and its immediate aftermath, but know it for the rest of their lives at gut, heart, mind, and soul level.

As so many young do, Tony "Mack" McNally signed up to serve his country to find the exuberance of youth often conflicting with the discipline of life in the military.

But then, the reality of service, the reality of war, became that of Mack and his mates when they were shipped thousands of miles away from the United Kingdom to the South Atlantic to fight a war against the attempted take-over of the Falkland Islands by Argentina.

Mack's specialty was Rapier missiles - high tech, anti-aircraft missiles that require very careful handling, very careful transport, and constant re-calibration by technical experts.

The missiles did not get the first two all so important types of care in transport on their trans-Atlantic voyage. There would be heavy human cost to pay for that neglect.

Mack speaks to the intrusive question so often asked of Veterans - What does it feel like to kill someone? It is the question he, like most of them, walk away from.

But about the question - What does it feel like when you are the Rapier gunner and the enemy aircraft are closing in on the Sir Galahad which is still packed with troops who could have disembarked hours before - What does it feel like when you push the button to launch the missile and all you hear is the noise that comes with a malfunction?

What does it feel like when men you were there to protect begin to scream as they begin to die?

What does it feel like to watch men burn?

Mack tells you.

Britain won the engagement - took the victory. Her soldiers celebrated; let off tension, sometimes in ways inexplicable to those who have not know war; inexplicable to those who in engaged in post combat acts that they would later not even begin to comprehend their part in; inexplicable behavior then which developed into mental, spiritual, and psychic disabilities. Like many Veterans, Mack and his mates were not even aware at first that their "not normal" behaviors, night terrors, fears, traumas were common post-war experiences that we have come to know as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

PTSD equals tortured lives unless properly treated. It can be diagnosed early on - it too, too often isn't because many war Veterans are unaware that it has existed since we first picked up clubs; because if it is known there is the feeling that there is a "stigma" attached to having pieces of soul splintered by war; because governments would rather not fund the care of their Veterans.

After the Falklands, Mack left the service, tried civilian life, only to re-up and volunteer for soldiering in Northern Ireland where, once again, he witnessed savage act perpetrated by people upon other people.

In Watching Men Die, Mack tells an honest and deeply personal story of the impact of PTSD on his life and thus, on that of thousands of others. He speaks to horrific nightmares, "aberrant" behaviors; sleeping in outside trenches, overuse of alcohol for release. His experience of PTSD is known by countless others. Mack brings it to the non-military public to taste the horror of.

His story is not unique to the UK; it is a story known to soldiers in all times, in all places that too often falls on deaf government ears; that too often is unknown at all to those who have not "been there."

But not only does Mack tell his story so vividly, he gifts his readers with entries from his personal journal offering eye opening terror by sharing some of his traumatic suffering. Other Veterans will know the truth there - civilians must open their eyes to the truths there.

He gives us the UK Court ruling that puts the onus of the burden of PTSD suffering on the Veterans, who again, often do not know why they suffer rather than on the military that knows, without doubt, that PSD is often a concomitant of service in the war; that knows, if diagnosed, it can be treated if understood as a normal reaction to not normal, mind-bending, experiences.

Tony McNally gives us a great truth - read it - feel it and then answer this question:

What does it feel like to know, up close and quite personal, that this is what we, no matter our country, allow to continue - lack of treatment; lack of respect; lack of gratitude; understaffed and closed Veterans hospitals; long waiting lists for treatments; and lack of pre-combat teaching of what combat can do to the heart, mind, and soul so that Veterans understand when the night terrors come from whence they come.

What does it feel like to really know this from Mack's story and to not close ranks with those who have served and demand what is right and just?

What does it feel like to let Veterans minds, hearts, and souls burn?

How much better would you feel if you launched your voice and vote "missiles" and demand what is right?

Read the gift of truth that Tony McNally has given you; learn his truths and launch those voices and votes toward the right targets so we can watch our Veterans heal - all over the world.

Remy Benoit.
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on 13 August 2007
I was an American soldier in Germany from 1953 to 1956, Tony's memoirs bring back many memories of being in a peace time army in Germany, being in the artillery in a foreign land, probably painting the same stupid rocks he did. I first ran into Tony's writings when I was doing research for an article about PTSD for a foreign web fly fishing magazine, then at an inflated price I had his book shipped all the way from the UK. If you were a soldier, if you know a soldier, if you want to ever be a soldier do not fail to read this book. PTSD is an insidious disease that effects not only the soldier but their families as well. After you read this book you will only be able to do as I did, wish Tony well.
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on 27 May 2007
Can I say that having served in the Falklands with T bty (call sign 33 Charlie)The book gives a mirror experience of what I went through at this time NB:The journey south, D Day and sailing in the Sir Galahad and that WAIT until we got off at Fritzroy on 08-06-82! it does bring it back! Tony has written a very interesting and at times disturbing story, which relate to his problems which started during and continued after the war and onto civvy street. From my point of view a book that tells the story in parts of Rapier operators and gunners of T Bty, 12 Regt during the 1970`s and 1980`s.
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on 27 September 2007
This is the first review I have ever done for a book but I have never had my live changed before like it was after reading Tony's story. My story is very similar apart from I was a Royal Marine as apposed to a Gunner and we both fought in the South Atlantic and N.I. For many years like lots of other servicemen who have witnessed War first hand I got on with my civilian life until the War in 1982 caught up with me again and I suffered a breakdown, my wife left me and I started to drink heavily and self harm typical PTSD symptoms I am told. On the way to a funeral of an old boot neck friend who I found this book at the railway station, I was attracted to its cover, as like Tony I had also watched men burn at Fitzroy. I read nearly half of it on the train and the rest as I went home after the funeral. I realised that it was OK to talk about your problems and I got professional help. I was diagnosed with PTSD this year and I am now a lot happier that I have tried to come to terms with this condition. Who knows what might have happened especially after a funeral. I believe the Gods were looking down on me that day and pointed me in the direction of Tony's book. It has literally saved my life. I hope Tony can also find some peace after his service, thank you Great book for anyone interested in the Falklands War written by an very brave and modest human being.
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