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Customer Review

on 19 October 2012
Commando tells the history of the Commandos, from their birth soon after Dunkirk to VE and VJ day. It includes SBS's role, their joint operations with SAS, and their merger with the Royal Marines - and covers every theatre of war, from Norway to Dieppe to the War in the Desert - even West Africa and Lebanon.

The book is broken down into chapters covering individual operations - from huge battles like D Day and Dieppe to small raids - and from well known operations like the Cockleshell Heroes and Raid on Rommel to less known ones - like pirating Italian ships in a Spanish colony. That structure is much easier to follow (the Commandos had a truly bewildering history), lets individual stories to be told, and gives a sense of the weird and wonderful range of what the Commandos got up to.

There is a good mixture of accounts of fights, the battles in London over strategy and tactics (whether the Commandos were raiders or assault troops; and rivalry over who controlled them) and fascinating detail - the use of German Jewish refugees disguised as Germans, or the history of commando training. The author is honest about failures and uncertain overall effect, while highlighting the bravery of the individual soldiers, and impact on future generations of soldiers.

It's neither ridiculously gung ho nor a dry military history - and written in a clear straightforward style - often using the words of the Commandos themselves. So highly recommended to anyone interested in WW2 - or as a present for someone else who is.
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