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Customer Review

50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Come along for a ride in this magnificent flying machine., 11 Sept. 2009
This review is from: Hellfire (Hardcover)
Hellfire is the name of the missile in the arsenal of weapons carried on the Apache attack helicopter. This book is the second written by Ed Macy describing his experiences flying in an Apache helicopter and fighting in Afghanistan. This book moves back in time from the first novel and covers approximately three months in the summer of 2006, during the first deployment of Macy and other pilots who had recently been trained to operate the Apache. Macy takes this opportunity to more fully fill in the reader on his childhood and entrance into the military. He also explains the accident which happened to him that meant he would never make it into the Special Air Service. So how did Macy end up flying an Apache attack helicopter? Some very good/bad luck and a royal mess-up within the military medical community. Add a whole lot of self confidence and hard work and Mr Macy was able to defeat the odds and fly that incredible fighting machine.

I read the first book, Apache, and wondered how I would like having Macy take me back in time to his first deployment in Afghanistan. Well, I liked it just fine. This book is presented in the same way as "Apache", opening with a mission of engagement in Afghanistan then moving back in time to show how Macy arrived at that point in his life. There is not a focus on one particular engagement such as the Jugroom Fort battle in "Apache". Rather, this book covers many engagements with the enemy in Afghanistan. I particularly enjoyed the incidents described when Macy was flying other types of helicopters in Northern Ireland, before his time with the Apache. After approximately 150 pages the accounts of the missions flown from Camp Bastion in Afghanistan become the focus of the action. Ed Macy has a wonderful talent for describing action. Even someone such as myself who has never served in the military can fully understand what tremendous amounts of courage, grit, determination and just plain cussedness is required for these pilots to do their job. They were constantly fighting both the physical hardships of heat and sleep deprivation and they were also always under incredible stress to do everything right. One wrong move on their part could mean loss of life or loss of their military careers. They were not really given full support from their government. As seems to be the case so often, these men were sent into life threatening conditions but were hampered by rules and regulations made by people who had never set foot in the physical circumstances pilots faced every time they fired up their helicopters. Those rules became true horror situations during warfare.

This book contains many line drawing maps of the areas in Afghanistan which comprised the British Area of Responsibility. There are also two drawings of the Apache helicopter with explanations of the locations of weaponry and mechanics. There is a Glossary of Terms which can come in very handy since Macy has written this book in the completely realistic method of military speaking. Some of the abbreviations can be confusing but the glossary is there to help remind you of what AMTAT, MAWS, or even GAFA means. This was a very satisfying reading experience for me. There were times when I was so completely engrossed in the book that I was stunned to look up and find it was long after midnight and I needed to get some sleep. But only after just one more chapter. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the inner workings of military forces. Macy pulls no punches. He shows the good, the bad and positively the ugly. I wouldn't have him do it any other way.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 14 Sep 2009, 14:03:04 BST
Nick Brett says:
The first review - well done! Especially since you had it shipped over and read before any of us locals!
Enjoyed the review thanks, served to wet the anticipation for when I start this myself!

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2009, 14:53:42 BST
J. Lesley says:
You are really going to enjoy this one too. My sweet darlin' is almost finished with it also. Next it will leave the building. That "Royal Mail" you guys have is super-duper in my book. Johnny-on-the-spot with their delivery. (I could come up with some more oldies but goodies sayings but I think I'll stop now!)

Posted on 21 Feb 2011, 18:02:17 GMT
Excellent review - so good, I nearly didn't bother doing one myself. Great to see that the gals like this kind of book as well!

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Feb 2011, 18:05:42 GMT
Correction - the previous comment was by me - didn't notice that my son was logged in!

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Feb 2011, 18:30:09 GMT
J. Lesley says:
Roger, thanks for the comment and, yes, I do enjoy reading books of this type. In fact, my 43 year old daughter was going to use my computer to look something up when she was here one day and was surprised to see that I have a photo of a fully armed Apache as my screen saver. (Wish it was Ed in the cockpit!)

It's good to keep the kiddies on their toes! Never let 'um think they've completely figured you out.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Feb 2011, 14:58:05 GMT
Last edited by the author on 22 Feb 2011, 15:02:36 GMT
Hi Judy, thanks for the message. If you're interested in WW11 stuff, why not try "73 degrees North" and "Sydney cipher and search"? (I've reviewed both of them.) Of the two books I've read on HMAS Sydney so far, I reckon "Sydney C & S" is far better than Frame's "...loss and controversy", and more up to date. (I've reviewed Frame's work as well.)

By for now, and God bless.


Posted on 14 Mar 2011, 01:55:44 GMT
Hi Judy, have you read "The Longest Winter" by Alex Kershaw? I've reviewed it, and I see that new hardback copies are available ridiculously cheap!
(Compared with the US$24 odd that I paid a few years ago!)


In reply to an earlier post on 14 Mar 2011, 14:07:19 GMT
J. Lesley says:
Hello Roger, thanks for all the recommendations. No, I haven't read any of those books (from the last two posts), but I have made note of them. I've also sent a message to my friend here in the States about them because he is really interested in the WWII novels. I am constantly amazed at how many of the books you recommend he has already read. I've ordered The Phantom Major and will get that when the new release comes out.

Thanks again,

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Aug 2011, 22:28:02 BST
Hi Judy, it's me again! How are you doing? I've just finished reading (and reviewing) "An Ordinary Soldier" by Doug Beattie, about his career, and a week and a half he spent in the Afghani town of Garmsir, for which he won the Military Cross. Great read, well worth getting hold of if you can.

God bless,


In reply to an earlier post on 1 Sep 2011, 21:15:05 BST
J. Lesley says:
Hi there Roger! Lovely to hear from you again. I haven't read AN ORDINARY SOLDIER, but I have seen a discussion where others were talking about it. I'll go take a look at the product page and maybe put it on my Wish List over on the American side. I check that list more often than this one.

Everything is going great with me, how about you? I really do appreciate you letting me know about the books you find. My husband can't quite get the hang of the Amazon system so he likes for me to mark special books he might like. So.....we both thank you!
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