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4.8 out of 5 stars
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 30 August 2014
Mark Time has written a long-awaited account of what it takes to become a Royal Marines Commando, further enlightening as he tells it through the eyes of the sixteen-year-old he was in training. Mark writes with such an accomplished, easy-flowing style, employing insight and an ever-present self-effacing sense of humour, that `Going Commando' will appeal to discerning readers whether they have ties to the forces or not. With page-turning prose, Mark puts us in his shoes, telling us what it's like for a kid with no education, an unstable family life, ten quid in his pocket and the clothes he stands up in, to alight from the train at Lympstone Commando to join an elite fighting force ...

... to run the endurance course on Woodbury Common, utterly physically and mentally exhausted from thirty weeks of intensely demanding training; to wade across Peter's Pool up to your neck in freezing-cold water carrying a weapon and ten kilos of equipment; to crawl through hundreds of metres of claustrophobic underground tunnels full of knee-shredding stones, animal muck and so much water you have to scrape your nose against the corrugated-iron roof so as not to drown. Then, lungs bursting, wet kit doubled in weight and carrying injuries such as fractured shin bones, tendonitis, busted knees, hideous blisters and red-raw webbing burns that scream above the effects of the strongest painkillers, you look at your watch and realize if you don't run the four miles back to the camp's rifle range in under forty minutes you're going to get binned from the Corps and go home a failure ...

And most pertinent of all ... when the adjutant bellows the order across the parade square: `Royal Marines, to your duties, quick march!'

Well done, Mark. Superb effort.

Chris Thrall is a former Royal Marines Commando and the author of the bestselling memoir `Eating Smoke: One Man's Descent into Crystal Meth Psychosis in Hong Kong's Triad Heartland.'
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on 20 January 2016
I often wondered what "laugh-out-loud-funny" actually meant - until I, and the lady sitting next to me on a recent flight to Athens, discovered it was this book. I spluttered, smiled, laughed and cracked up all the way to Athens in seat 27C - blithely ignoring safety announcements, guffawing through turbulence and missing out on over-priced KitKats. I never thought I'd be sorry to get off a Ryanair flight but I was. Folks, not only is this book hysterically funny, it is also poignant and touching as ultimately it is a story of passion, persistence and great courage. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not commend this enough to all who enjoy a damn good read. Bravo Mark Time and let's have the second instalment soon!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 18 August 2015
I bought this book a year ago. I can't add much to everything that has been said before. It is very well written, very engaging and very very funny. Much of the humour is self-deprecating, but the author's pride in his achievement of the green beret also shines through. Anyone who qualifies as a marine has a lot to be proud of. In Mark Time's case, joining as a sixteen year old of diminutive physique, the achievement is even more remarkable. Sheer determination and an almost irrepressible sense of humour got him through.

This is a fascinating book for many reasons. Unlike so many similar works (especially by ex-SAS soldiers) he lets his brief descriptions of the tasks with which he was faced speak for themselves. He knows that there is no need to "talk them up" to impress readers who couldn't contemplate the trip to the start line for some of the more gruelling exercises, never mind the exercises themselves.

The book is worth reading simply for the information it contains. The quality of the writing is a bonus. Humour runs through it, even if the most daunting passages, and the author takes a mature, objective view of the emotions and thought processes of his younger self. All of this in a tale which just rattles along.

So much so, in fact, that I before I had finished I was trying to source copies of the second and third parts of the promised trilogy. After a lot of time scouring the web I finally found a reference to the second volume, but only to see it say "publication abandoned". I was distraught!

Fortunately "Going Commando" has been relaunched by Amazon this month (August 2015). I hope it isn't too long before the second and third parts are available for the Kindle.
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on 3 October 2015
I struck up a conversation with a rather unassuming, but engaging, fellow dog walker recently who just happened to recommend this book to me. I pre - ordered as it was due for re - release, and the wait was well worth it. The humour of the British forces is probably what sustains every squaddie, bootie, crab fat and matelot, (or whatever nickname we care to endear to our comrades in arms). As an ex - pongo , (scaly-back and grunt), and having been a BLEEP det commander in XMG with 42CDO, I can attest to how tough, professional and humerous they are. The book portrays a life that could have been lost in the council estates of doom but rises and inspires, albeit to a rare breed, to gain the green beret. (I was banished to the other room by my better half as reading his would result in random outbursts of good old belly laughs).
P.S. The other dog walker was the author.
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on 10 August 2014
Just finished this book

I went through Lympstone myself in 1994, not as a Bootneck but as a Royal Navy medic attempting to do the commando course, believe it or not, as a non-volunteer. In those days the marines (oops, sorry Royal Marines :-P) didn't train their own field medics but the RN supplied them, first having to do the Commando course to be a green-lidded front line medic. Though that still happens these days, or so I believe, the RM do now train their own MA's.

I remember the bottom field assault course, the Tarzan course, the PTIs and the various exercises, and I can really relate to what is being told in this book. It's great to read it and have memories brought back. I can say that from my little experience that the accounts given in this book of the beastings, punishments and field exercises, and the thrashings from the PTIs, which to me, as a poor little matelot at the time, did seem a far removed environment than I was used to. Getting off at Lympstone Commando and seeing the bottom field assault course as a "welcome" (really put the assault course at HMS Raleigh to shame), and the square white accommodation buildings left me with a real vivid memory.

I have a huge amount of respect for Royal Marines, and a lot of respect for the author of this book; to go through CTC RM at the age of 16 - a kid!, something which many adults would struggle to do. My hat off to him.

I would recommend any young man thinking of joining the Royal Marines to read this book as soon as possible, as it will give you a no blows true account of life s a Royal Marine recruit. Though I've never been a nod myself, I have spent time at CTC attempting to get the green lid, and I spent some time working in the sickbay there as a blue beret MA, so I can vouch for what they do.

Oh yes, Duchy's! I well remember going there at all hours of the night on the return from various exercises. I well remember learning to navigate by the stars on Hunter's Moon, and the hoys of the "wet-dry" routine - getting up at 2AM on a cold February night to go on sentry duty and having to put on my frozen solid wet denims. Pure torture! >_<

A well written book and a joy to read.
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on 28 December 2015
I'm an avid military history book fan, especially enjoying 1st person accounts of which I've read dozens of examples. Regards this book don't be put off by the fact not a shot is fired nor battle joined. It is very well written and informative, but I have given it 5 stars thanks to the authors humorous style, I laughed out loud several times, but appreciated the irony and authors self deprecating style on almost every page. Highly recommended!
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on 8 March 2014
As much as this book is a must read for anyone with an interest in the armed forces, it should also be read by anyone who needs inspiration to overcome adversity. The excellent use of humour keeps you enthralled throughout, but does not disguise the hardships of a deprived upbringing and a tough military training regime. I really enjoyed Going Commando and can't wait for book 2.
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on 12 February 2014
Brings back memories good and bad :) it seems like yesterday that I joined up after reading this book even though it was 1978 when training was obviously so much harder!!
I thought I'd read the first chapter last night but ended up reading the whole book whilst trying not to wake up the Mrs while I chuckled all the way threw.
Looking forward to the next 2 books now.
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on 13 February 2014
Having seen a synopsis posted by another former Royal on Facebook, I was looking forward to giving this book a read. After flicking through the first few pages I knew this was going to be excellent and I was certainly not disappointed!
Far from the sterotypical Hollywood-esk version of early service life, this was far closer to my own expirence of joining the Corps.
From the slightly mental pre-CTC training of running round the park with a daysack filled with bricks to first impressions of life as a lumi-nod. Portsmouth company and the reality of training kicks in, interspersed with examples of the humour that got us all through. Moving up to Chatham company and remembering the 'bottom field feeling' brought it all back too. A couple of setbacks were dealt with, before moving on to the Commando tests and death by drill and pass out.
All in all an expertly told story that I cannot reccomend highly enough. Can't wait for the next installment.
Good effort Royal!
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on 14 February 2014
As much of a story about motivation as it is about the military; 'Going Commando' is written in a style not usually associated with this genre.
As a female I took a rather motherly approach to Mark's story and found myself willing him on through the highs and lows of his journey.
Those about to embark on their own careers, whether military or not, could do a lot worse than read this to realise that rewards are rarely won easily.

Some of the book may shock, but we are talking about the Marines, and some of the language is not for the faint hearted but Mark's use of analogy and similies were a delight if not slightly surreal; after all, it is unusual to find a book that mentions Plato, Fred West and Spiderman.

5 stars and one to recommend
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