Top positive review
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SAR by Jake Watson
on 29 January 2014
Jake Watson’s book SAR is a brilliantly written gripping tale of front line RAF helicopter search and rescue. I read many non-fiction books, and memoirs in particular, and can honestly say that this book is head and shoulders above any other I have read. This is a fascinating subject in its own right but it has been wonderfully written by the author from his first hand experiences in the Royal Air Force. Most civilians have little knowledge of this military flying role which is going on, on our doorsteps, 365 days a year. We are probably all aware of newsworthy events, such as the flooding at Boscastle a few years ago, but each and every one of the rescue missions described in SAR would make a very notable headline story indeed.
Many modern memoirs seem to be written by minor celebrities with very little to say – nothing could be further from the truth with this book! I bought the book for an insight into search and rescue and found an account packed with great readability, drama, sincerity, poignancy and sheer courage. The memoirs contain a wonderfully interesting mix of anecdotes, including some extremely low points which are impossible to read without your heart going out to both the victims and the crews who have to deal with these situations. There are many highs too, and probably situations that we can all relate to, or indeed, situations where we might have needed help, had conditions conspired against us.
Although essentially a memoir, the pace and timing of the book reads more like a good novel, and one that is very hard to put down at that. There is a lovely section in the book where the chapters detailing individual rescue sorties are broken by a few mini-stories which the author states, and clearly considers, are not worthy of a full chapter. Far from it! This chapter is appealing, amusing and as with the whole book, impeccably written. It gives the book perfect balance and is the pre-cursor to the final two chapters which, for me at least, did not get read with a dry eye. It doesn’t matter whether you’re into fiction or non-fiction, memoirs or military, helicopters or heroes; this book will appeal to everyone and I cannot recommend it strongly enough!