My Week: Andy McNab
Saturday, 14 November 2009

The author and former member of the SAS is on a new mission meeting audiences of infantrymen – and passing on to them the joys of reading

I’m on a promotional tour for my new book and I’m due to give a talk at RAF Lossiemouth, up in the north of Inverness, but it was all a bit Planes, Trains and Automobiles today because we never actually get there. We take a flight from Gatwick but we get stuck in Aberdeen airport as there’s too much fog. We end up getting trains and taxis to Edinburgh and we lose the whole day.

We go to Catterick today, which has the biggest military garrison in Europe. I’m giving a talk to the Infantry Training Centre where everybody does the 26-week basic infantry training course. I talk to them mainly about the benefits of getting an education. Even now, on average an infantry recruit has the reading age of an 11-year-old. I tell them all the war stories about my time in the SAS and the glamorous bits about writing books and getting involved in films. But I really try to encourage them all to continue with their education while they’re training and take advantage of the opportunities that are there within the army. I hang out with the new recruits. They try and get me to do an assault course or arm-wrestle them; all that sort of business but it’s good fun. A lot of these guys will be going to Afghanistan next year. It’s not time for Britain to leave there yet. Whether we like it, we’re there and to pull out now would affect the situation here. We have to try to get the police and the Afghan army up to a credible level of training and competence which is going to be hard. Everybody wants to get the job done and get out but it has to work; otherwise we’re back to square one.

I go to Wakefield to talk to the West Yorkshire Police. I’m a patron of Help for Heroes so they have an event for Remembrance Day. I talk about my career and but ultimately it’s all to raise money. People are really behind the charity, which is great, and we manage to get lots of money out of policemen.

I’m involved in an initiative called Quick Reads which re-engage people who haven’t read for a while, or find reading difficult, with a range of books which can be read in about an hour and a half. I go to three schools around Liverpool and talk about books and how reading has helped me. When I joined the army at 16, the first book I read was a Janet and John book which is designed for children. But I felt proud at having finished a book, even if it had just a couple of sentences a page.

I drive to Sheffield today to sign lots of my latest book, Exit Wound. It follows Nick Stone again, but this time he’s trying to make some money for himself rather than saving the world! I then go to Nottingham for another event to encourage reading. I always tell them the same thing: pick up a book – what’s the worst that could happen?

Source: The Independent


Just ran into this interview with Andy a few weeks ago, on BFBS Reports. He talks about the book ‘Spoken from the Front’ which has been released 25 September.


‘It reeks and it stinks’by David Willets
13 November 2009

SAS legend Andy McNab last night blasted Defence Ministry civil servants who rake in big bonuses as “a bunch of bankers”.
He spoke out after shock revelations that cash incentives to MoD staff since April have totalled £47.2MILLION.

Since the Iraq war began in 2003, £287,809,049 has been doled out.

Meanwhile the Government is under fire for starving the armed forces of cash for vital kit.

Two senior civil servants picked up £17,000 bonuses – more than many privates earn in a YEAR.

Bravo Two Zero author McNab, furiously compared MoD pen-pushers to the money men who plunged Britain into financial crisis.

He said: “It absolutely reeks and it stinks. Why don’t those lads fighting for us get bonuses?”

“I didn’t realise the MoD was being run this way. I never knew they were a bunch of bankers.

“They are civil servants. They should get a salary like everyone else. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for the MoD. It’s not like they’re getting much right.”

The scandal deepened last night as MoD sources said there will be no change in plum bonus packages until at least the summer of 2011.

Around 50,000 MD civil servants will have their wages topped up by performance bonuses this year.

The payouts since the Iraq conflict began could have bought at least five Chinook helicopters, or 48 Lynx Mk9 helicopter upgrades, or more than 300 armoured trucks.

The money could also have hired 17,000 privates for the Army. They earn a basic £16,681, with £2,380 extra when serving abroad.

Go here to read the full article


“The highest of this week’s 14 new/re-entries is Andy McNab’s Exit Wound (Bantam). The ex-SAS man’s 12th Nick Stone adventure sold 11,628 copies last week, strong enough for 20th position overall and fifth place in the Original Fiction Top 20.”

Source: The Bookseller


12 November 2009 – By Ben Robinson

Former SAS soldier turned novelist Andy McNab used a visit to Preston to demand more troops and helicopters be sent to Afghanistan. The ex-soldier uses the pseudonym Andy McNab to protect his identity after a long military career in which he served in the first Gulf War, as well as undercover missions.

He left the SAS in 1993 before becoming a best-selling author and visited County Hall in Preston on Wednesday for a question and answer session to promote his new book.

In an interview with the Lancashire Evening Post ahead of a meeting where he spoke to guests, he claimed there are not currently enough resources in Afghanistan.

He said: “The fact is there is a shortage of men on the ground.

“There is a shortage of helicopters. The problem which arises is if there is a shortage of guys and girls on the ground, they cannot dominate on the ground.

“The Taliban has the freedom to move and plant IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

“Because there are not enough aircraft buzzing around this means troops have to move in vehicles – they are more exposed.”

Mr McNab, promoting his new book Exit Wound, added that even with extra helicopters soldiers would still be at risk from IEDs.

He regularly visits Iraq and Afghanistan, where he works in an advisory capacity and claims bureaucracy is slowing down resources reaching the front lines.

He said: “£350m, the money is there to upgrade Puma helicopters but it is going to take two years – why so long?

“There are so many civil servants and so much bureaucracy.

“We know money is being made available. Politically getting them on the ground takes a long time – we need to sort that out.”

He also agreed that Jacqui Janes, the mother of Grenadier Guardsman Jamie Janes, who died in Afghanistan, was right to be upset when Prime Minister Gordon Brown appeared to have mis-spelt her son’s name.

He said: “It is not necessarily his job to write.

“If he has messed up, no matter what he does he is damned – he is one of the few Prime Ministers who have written letters to the families of dead servicemen.

“If I was a mum and got a letter which said he cannot spell his name I would be annoyed – absolutely.”

Source: Lancashire Evening Post


12.11.09 Graeme Neill

HarperPress is rush releasing a book with military charity Help for Heroes  featuring tales of British troops from the front line.

Real Heroes was commissioned in August and will be released on 30th November in hardback priced £9.99. It will feature introductions from Jeremy Clarkson and Ross Kemp with £1 from every copy sold donated to Help for Heroes. The publisher is hoping to raise more than £150,000 for the charity by Christmas.

The book features accounts of battles in Afghanistan by currently serving paratroopers as well as soldiers who have since retired from the Army. Decorated Apache helicopter pilot Ed Macy, who is also a HarperPress author, provides tips on what to do if missing in action or confronted with handmade bombs.

Senior editor Annabel Wright said the book was aimed at a wide readership. She said: “There’s a lot of military history out there but not as much that has true stories from the front line that are aimed at a younger readership. I think the book could appeal to teenagers as well as people in their fifties; the type of fan that reads Andy McNab.”

Go to The Bookseller website to read the full story