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on 8 July 2015
You won't find a more honest and revealing account of the front line war in Afghanistan. Doug is a great soldier and a damn good author.
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on 18 July 2017
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on 11 October 2009
With his second book, Doug Beattie once more captures the vivid details of life in combat. An innate honesty, compassion and humility underscore the many compelling descriptions of the horrendous circumstances in which he and his soldiers find themselves. As a commentary on the British Soldier you will be hard pressed to read something more current and relevant. To his credit, he does not try to solve Afghanistan's many crises, nor justify the Coalition's presence in that troubled land. This is simply a captivating account of a soldier's last operational tour, his last chance to serve his Regiment and pass on his hard fought knowledge to a younger generation.

If you are joining the Army, going to Afghanistan, or know somebody who has this book will give you some understanding of the everyday reality for some of those deployed on the ground and the often harrowing situations that arise. Besides the heart-pounding action are the sometimes visceral descriptions of casualties that so often pass as a brief by-line on a news bulletin or banded around the media as another statistic. His sensitive recollection of these events are both testimony to the man's character and the unpredictable horrors that confront our servicemen and women on today's battlefield.

In short, an epic book written by someone who is as far from an Ordinary Soldier as I can imagine.
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on 11 March 2010
Really well-written, with a nice line in laconic humour (when some office-based soldier comes out on patrol and has to use his gun: It's in the job description. etc). The book crescendos with some stunning combat descriptions near the end. The thing that will stay with me most, though, is where Beattie/Gomm take the reader through what exactly an IED does to the soldier who steps on it. Talk about harrowing.
It's also one of the rare moments when Beattie's anger really shows (except several times with the cowardly Afghan National Army). I guess that's his personality, but I felt the story could have done with more of a "villain" when there was such an embarrassment of riches: the idiot planners on the British side, the ANA, the Taliban.
But then giving more of an outsider's or observer's view clearly wasn't the brief Beattie/Gomm set themselves, and there are already several good high-level, broad-brush books by the likes of Patrick Bishop and Stuart Tootal.
And by giving such an insider's view, TFH does highlight the double insanity of the whole project: a) plonking down a few soldiers in the middle of a seriously hostile well-armed country with no hope in hell of winning the war in any sense of the word that we'd recognise, and b) Beattie going back to Afghanistan at all.
Why would he? Why did he? Read it and find out.
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on 4 December 2009
Having read Doug's first book and finding it a fascinating and bloody account of his tour of Afghanistan I was wondering why the need for a second book. Curiosity got the better of me and I purchased a copy of Task force Helmand. I went to an evening with Doug Beattie in Crawley and heard from the man himself some stories and clips from this book. I found Doug both charming and interesting and realised straight away this second tour was no ordinary one.
Having now finished this book from cover to cover I felt the same highs and lows Doug would have experienced. At times he thinks he is winning the battle to train Afghan men into soldiers only to find he has achieved nothing when they murder prisoners in cold blood. For me the chapter that really sets Doug in a league of his own was eleven. This, entitled, Killed in Action is Doug spilling his words from the heart. It is a piece of literature that will remain one of the best descriptions of the futility of war. The sheer waste of young lives. He has captured the perfect answer to a question often asked, How would you describe soldiers dying in battle?
We always play the game of having a ficticious dinner party and asking who would be your guests if you could have anybody dead or alive at the table. Well Doug Beattie would definately be at my table along with an eighteen year old from Scotland....Read the book if you want to know what that means!!
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on 6 January 2010
mrs b got me this and a couple of others of the same ilk for xmas, i have only just started it so when i`ve finished i`ll update the review, but so far its a good read

update update

finsihed this, what a read, the matter of fact way he decribes being under fire is an understatement, it must be terrifying i would probably be cowering under a rock a gibbering mess, but mr beattie fires back and kicks some talliban arse, it brings home the point that the conflict is not glorious, as he says its a waste of life on both sides, and also we forget the innocent afganis caught up in the middle of it all that are often blown up or shot, the story of the little girl at the start is very sad, it is an eye opener the conditions they have to live in and fight under are awful , definately recommended great book

update, update

read in the paper yesterday that the now capt beatie is going back for a third tour at he age of 44 is he mad or what watch out for another book then ??????
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on 25 January 2010
Doug Beattie, with the help of Phil Gomm, has managed to write pacy and heart beat increasing accounts of the day to day combat British forces are engaged in. It's worth bearing in mind that the war in Afghanistan has now gone on longer than WW2; scary thought. He brings the experiences, many hair raising, off the page and into your own life. I found myself unable to put the book down, a cliche I know, but completely true.
He impressed me with the amount of detail he remembers about individual incidents. It's not just we did this then we did that, there's a thoughtful thread throughout the books. Doug reflects on the impact NATO is having and is not afraid to express doubt and regret.
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on 27 October 2011
A great read and one that shows thats, whatever has been said in the past, our Political "elite" are not doing all they can to provide our troops with whatever they need. There are constant comments about how the troops are being moved and the serious lack of helicopters are reducing their effectiveness and mobility.
But, pilitical overtones aside, its a great read. If poosible, any potential purchaser should buy the previous book "An Ordinary Soldier" as there are direct links.
Its also a poignant footnote that shows that even the most highly trained and experienced troops can suffer mental anguish and debilitating depression after their tour is up.
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on 24 August 2010
Couldn't put the book down, absolute amazing.
Currently working in the Upper Gershk area and amazing how little has changed!
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on 16 January 2012
Task Force Hellmand is an excellent account of life on the Aghanistan frontline. Doug Beattie brings to life some of the horrors of the Aghan war & he does this in an informative, intelligent & very honest read. As one who reads avidly about modern warfare, I would highly recommend this book for a very frank account of just what it is like to be out in Afghanistan.
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