2010
29.12

We got this sent by Ali, thanks as always! No idea what the source is.. if you know, tell us and we’ll add the source.

Andy McNab

My book highlight of the year is A Simples Life by Aleksandr Orlov.
I love it and think it’s brilliant!
The lowlight’s gotta be that twitter impersonator book Cheryl Kerl, Waoth it? Coase Ah Am, Pet – because I didn’t understand it.

PS: More info about Cheryl Kerl you’ll find here

2010
18.08

This book by David Armine Howarth ( 1912-1991, British historian and author), is recently republished with an introduction by Andy McNab.

Snippit from the introduction:

I learnt about the Norwegian Resistance as part of my military training, but I’d been inspired by their daring attempts to sabotage the Nazi occupation since childhood. I used to watch The Heroes of Telemark with Kirk Douglas every time it was shown on TV, and despite the overlay of Hollywood glamour, I was struck by the bleakness of the terrain and moved by the amazing courage with which those men and women fought against the Germans. It was this long-held admiration that took me to the Norwegian Resistance museum in Oslo last year, and, when asked to write a foreword to this book, made me only too happy to do so.

We Die Alone is the story of one man’s ability to endure the worst imaginable and survive. Jan Baalsrud, an expatriate Norwegian
resistance fighter, is in trouble as soon as his mission begins.

 Go here to read the full text

Andy McNab recommends We Die Alone by D. Howarth

Order the classic ‘We Die Alone’ from Amazon.com.


Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd; Reissue edition (5 Aug 2010)
ISBN-10: 1847678459
ISBN-13: 978-1847678454

 

2009
26.08

No, it’s not Andy McNab or even a thriller, but if you appreciate the art of the short story and would like a thoroughly enjoyable read to tide you over until “Exit Wound” is released, Philly Fiction 2 is an excellent choice. More from the publisher’s site:

Do you like to read? Do you like Philadelphia? You’ll love this book! The short stories in Philly Fiction 2, a second collection of short stories highlighting Philadelphia as a city of literary inspiration, reveal conflict and characters that are at once universal and intrinsically “Philadelphia.” Powerful, humorous, and insightful, these must-read tales (all set in Philly) by local authors invite you to experience the City of Brotherly Love as you never have before.

Check it out today–you won’t be disappointed.

2009
06.08

Review by Ecstatic Gaucho Blog 

The enduring effects of war was one of the themes of Andy McNab’s first radio play Last Night, Another Soldier that aired on Saturday. McNab is best known for his first book Bravo Two Zero, which tells about his involvement in a failed SAS patrol in the First Gulf War in 1991. I’ve never read the book, but must have built up preconceptions that it was fairly gung-ho. I think must have had these ideas, because the play surprised me.

McNab’s attitude to conflict is a bit more complex. His autobiography, published last year, told how his friends and fellow SAS members suffered after leaving the regiment for the mundanities of civilian life. The portrayal of war in Last Night… was not exactly glorious either.

The story centres around Briggsy, an 18-year-old squaddie on his first tour in Afghanistan. Starting with a firefight in an Afghan maize field, and it’s clear that battle is exhilarating. It’s also very dangerous – one a soldier dies a gurgling death.

Briggsy isn’t just in Afghanistan because he’s after a buzz. A desire to create a stable, democratic Afghan state isn’t really what’s driving him either. He’s from Peckham (like McNab himself) and was brought up by his mum after his alcoholic dad left. The army offers a future, an education and a tight bond of comradeship. It also offers him a connection to his dad.

Mr Briggs Senior was in the army too and served in the Falklands. After talks with the platoon medic and his own taste of battle, Briggsy starts to suspect that his dad’s wayward behaviour was probably as a result of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Afterall, 258 British soldiers died in the conflict in the South Atlantic, but over 300 have committed suicide since then.

The play shows the comradeship of the army as central to the experience. Briggsy’s colleagues are drawn from all corners of the UK, and even Fiji, but have to lay down any differences in those Central Asian fields. The brotherhood of the soldiers takes precedence over questions about the morality of what they are doing.

The ethics of what Britain and the Western powers are doing in Afghanistan is not really dwelt on for too long in the play. Last Night… is in a sense an open work: the reader is left to work out whether we think the enterprise is a good thing or not. McNab’s soldiers might say that decisions like that are made by ‘pencil necks’ behind their desks.

The Afghan conflict is a conundrum. It’s difficult to know if we should we be there, or even if can we make a difference. Whatever happens, there’s bound to be someone collecting newspaper cuttings about it for some time to come.

2008
12.11

Having become a bit jaded after reading McNab’s entire output, I expected little from Brute Force.  I reckoned it would be more of the same and less of the good stuff.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

Brute Force is right up there with Remote Control and Firewall, a return to what I’ve considered McNab’s strong point–using “normal” characters (as opposed to SAS commandos) to bring us into the action from our point of view while also showing Nick Stone’s concern for the people around him.

The novel has everything that makes us love McNab — the humour, the fast pace, and the exotic locations painted so clearly the book could serve as a travel guide. It also provides something that I for one have been missing with his last few — realistic details of tactical and operational methods. If you’ve been wondering how to craft a nice shaped-charge to blow a hole in a boat’s hull, Brute Force is for you.

The only criticism I have is minor. At one point in the book, McNab points out that the truck he’s driving is an automatic, allowing him to ram through a checkpoint if necessary without taking his hands off the wheel. A mere three or four pages later, the same vehicle becomes a standard shift, and he’s working the clutch like a madman. It reminds me of Dark Winter, where Sundance or Trainers (can’t remember which one) wields a revolver with a suppressor attached. You would think Mr. “Attention to detail, check and re-check,” having spent his life around weapons, would realize that attaching a suppressor to a revolver wouldn’t accomplish much (the gasses escape through the cylinder), just as you’d think a motor enthusiast would mind the difference between a standard and an automatic transmission. But that’s where I think the editors come in.

I don’t think he has a “ghost writer” in the traditional sense, but I think these two examples alone show other hands at work. And really, Andy doesn’t need them.

His own voice comes through so clearly in Brute Force and his other greats, it makes me wish he will one day send his editors the way of the Yes Man.

Jon

PS: Brute Force is in the Sunday Times Bestseller list this week at number 6

2008
25.08

In News of the World Douglas Wight writes about Andy’s upcoming non-fiction novel Seven Troop.

I can’t say that I like the article very much, for I’m sure it (Seven Troop) is meant to be more then this article suggests. I think it’s a very welcome change PTSD is recognised (or getting there) but I think this article doesn’t do right to the subject as it should not be read out of context. This seems just sensational journalism to me. But then that’s only my opinion. Decide for yourselves when you read the whole article. I’m only giving you some snippits here.

“THEY are Britain’s elite troops—but after the last whiff of gunsmoke in their careers of courage disappears, the men of the SAS often find themselves in a new kind of hell. And unlike their famous motto, when it comes to coping with life after danger, Who Dares does not always Win. In a gripping new book, Seven Troop, SAS hero Andy McNab—author of best-seller Bravo Two Zero—today reveals how some comrades were driven to madness, suicide and murder when their glory days were over.”

“After years of fighting in the army’s elite, McNab himself knows what it’s like to stare into the abyss of madness. He needed to undergo therapy after a failed mission in Iraq. “Until quite recently PTSD had been perceived in the military as a sign of weakness—guys often wouldn’t admit they were suffering,” he says. He claims today’s soldiers are exposed to horrors in Iraq and Afghanistan that used to be reserved for special forces. And he calls for more counselling to be made available for our crack troops before a “major mental-health crisis faces those who have served our country”.

“Special Forces men are never going to have an easy time of it in the real world. They just have to try to get on with it, and some do that better than others. “But it’s a chilling fact that more guys—about 300—have killed themselves since returning from the Falklands than the 255 that were lost in action there.”

“Meanwhile at night McNab deals with a recurring dream . . . about his three “brothers” who are now dead — Al, Frank and Nish — all of them freefalling in a parachute exercise. “We scoffed at the notion of brotherhood but that’s what we were—brothers in arms,” says McNab. Now he’s the only one left alive, fighting for the kind of treatment for our troops abroad that could have saved his SAS mates.”

You can read the full article here