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A Titans lament,
This review is from: The Real Bravo Two Zero: The Truth Behind Bravo Two Zero (Paperback)
"We are the Pilgrims master: we shall go
Always a little further: it may be
Beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or that glimmering sea"
Such, I suspect, is the guiding light of Mike Asher, distiguished desert explorer and veteran of 2PARA and 23(V)SAS.
I read his two books-"Shoot to kill" and "TRB2O" in quick succession. Initially I found the former a bit boring, partly because, having done "P Company" in the late 70s a lot of it was familiar territory to me. The sheer aggression and, some might argue, perversity of the Paras is well described and the reader will understand how it was they managed to overcome odds of 3 to 1 against at Goose Green-despite the enemy being sportingly tipped off by the BBC of their impending assault-and also why they were so badly suited to what was essentially a police action in Northern Ireland. Interestingly he regrets not having to do the "log race"-easily the most difficult element of the P Company selection process and one which many fail.There is a very good description of the TA SAS selection process (very similar to that of the regulars). The real quality comes later in the book where he describes a growing paranoia as he struggles as a member of the Special Patrol Group in Northern Ireland against viciously dangerous Provies and his equally bigoted (and dangerous) colleagues, which culminates in him putting his browning automatic to his own head. He finally escapes to Africa to teach English and, one suspects, (forgive the terminology) regain his marbles.
Naturally, TRB20 deals with the famous patrol which was compromised and split up during the first Iraq war. Armed with his military experience, a degree in English, his fluency in Arabic and years of desert exploration, he assumes the role of a detective and recovers the ground interviewing eye witnesses along the way.The conclusions he arrives at make uncomfortable reading (see the quotes from McNab and Ryan). The reader will have to make his own mind up as to how plausible they are. Most of his findings rang true to me.
He concludes the second book with a lament on the nature of modern conflict and our attitudes towards it which he clearly believes reflects a modern obsession with celebrity and a self justifying machoism.This contrasts markedly with what a lot of the original instigators of the SAS believed to be fundamental to their creed-an innate modesty welded to exceptional powers of endurance, unusual independence of mind and spirit, sustained always by a very strong sense of humour.