Rogue Heroes

Rogue Heroes

The History of the SAS, Britain's Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War

eBook - 2016
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a--Operation Mincemeat Ben Macintyre's latest book of derring-do and wartime intrigue reveals the incredible story of the last truly unsung secret organization of World War II--Britain's Special Air Service, or the SAS. Facing long odds and a tough slog against Rommel and the German tanks in the Middle East theatre, Britain turned to the brainchild of one its most unlikely heroes--David Stirling, a young man whose aimlessness and almost practiced ennui belied a remarkable mind for strategy. With the help of his equally unusual colleague, the rough-and-tumble Jock Lewes, Stirling sought to assemble a crack team of highly trained men who would parachute in behind enemy lines to throw monkey wrenches into the German war machine. Though he faced stiff resistance from those who believed such activities violated the classic rules of war, Stirling persevered and in the process created a legacy. Staffed by brilliant, idiosyncratic men whose talents defied both tradition and expectations, the SAS would not only change the course of the war, but the very nature of combat itself. Written with complete access to the never-before-seen SAS archives (who chose Macintyre as their official historian), Rogue Heroes offers a powerfully intimate look at life on the battlefield as lived by a group of remarkable soldiers whose contributions have, until now, gone unrecognized beyond the classified world. Filled with wrenching set pieces and weaving its way through multiple theatres of our grandest and most terrible war, this book is both an excellent addition to the Macintyre library and a critical piece in our understanding of the war's unfolding.
Publisher: [Toronto, Ontario] :, Signal, McClelland & Stewart,, 2016
ISBN: 9780771060311
Branch Call Number: DOWNLOADABLE eBOOK
Characteristics: 1 online resource : illustrations, maps
text file,rda

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IndyPL_SteveB Jan 07, 2019

War is Hell. But at the beginning of World War Two, it was still considered polite Hell. Even with the memories of the trenches from World War One, much of the early Second World War was fought not too much differently from the ways of war two hundred years earlier. Inserting “small groups of highly trained men behind enemy lines, to carry out special operations against high-value targets” was considered not quite “sporting.” However, as it became clear that the German Army was not going to play the “not quite sporting” game, it became apparent that something new was called for -- a new strategy with a new kind of soldier.

The history of the Special Air Service (SAS) is fascinating and fully documented by the author, who was given complete access to the records of the SAS in the war, as well as the ability to interview the modern survivors. But I caution you that it is bloody and violent indeed. This is not a World War Two comedy. The Nazi SS troops took few prisoners and were well known to destroy entire villages, killing everyone, to make their points. Late in the war, the SAS began using similar tactics with the SS troops they would capture or defeat.

If you are interested in military strategy and the psychology of the kind of men who would find it an entertaining challenge to risk their lives in the most dangerous possible situations, this would be a fine book.

May 01, 2018

An excellent read and an even better listen. The audiobook version also available through the library and read by the author himself is as engaging as the book.

It takes a practiced hand to turn a string of historical events into a narrative. It takes a gifted historian and writer to turn that narrative into a gripping story in such a way that the place names and dates melt into the background allowing the characters themselves to take center stage.

Warts and all, this story of the LRDG and SAS gives a balanced and nuanced account of the many triumphs and failures that created legends out of misfits. Also, the desert is more than a setting here. It is given a full role in this story, both an antagonist and protagonist to the desert soldiers who turned one of the harshest environments on earth to their advantage although any small misstep was punished harshly.

If I have any complaint it's that the Germans and Italians are not better explained. Repeated raids on important airfield and supply assets do get a response from the Axis powers but there is not enough of an account, for example, of how airfield defences were buttressed in response to the SAS raids. A small quibble with a truly excellent work.

Oct 14, 2017

I loved this book. The creation and deployment of the Special Air Service is a wonderful story.

Nov 16, 2016

Excellent documentary of SAS creation

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