By Steve Heaney, MC, Damien Lewis
No back up. No air-support. No rescue. No chance.OPERATION MAYHEM is the first ever account of a truly epic elite forces mission: one of the most highly decorated in modern military history.Airlifted deep into the heart of the African jungle in the midst of a bloody civil war, twenty-six operators from the secret British unit X Platoon were sent into combat against two thousand rebels - being used as bait to lure the enemy into a decisive, do-or-die battle. High on blood-lust, voodoo and drugs, the rebels were notorious for their brutal savagery. Equipped with captured armour, heavy machine-guns and grenade-launchers, they vastly outgunned the men of X Platoon - who were kitted out with pitiful supplies of ammunition and malfunctioning rifles, plus no body armour, grenades or heavy weaponry.Intended to last just days, the mission mutated into a desperate siege, as the men of X Platoon - more formally known as the Pathfinders - faced what the rebels dubbed 'Operation Kill British'. Half-starved, surviving on giant African snails, fungi and other bush tucker, this handful of elite warriors were forced to make their stand unaided and alone. They fought using grenades made from old food-tins and 'punji fields' - rows of vicious sharpened bamboo-stakes - as the locals joined forces with them to defend against the onslaught. Sergeant Steve Heaney was awarded the Military Cross for taking control of the battle after X Platoon lost their commanding officer. His story is full of the rough-and-ready humour and steely heroics with which these elite soldiers carried out operations far into hostile terrain.The ferocious close quarter combat at the village of Lungi Lol brought to an end the horrific, decade-long civil war in Sierra Leone. OPERATION MAYHEM is the first ever account of this untold true story - one fought and won deep behind enemy lines.
By Michael Hastings
The inspiration for the upcoming movie WAR MACHINE, starring Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton and Ben Kingsley (streaming on Netflix from 26 May).General Stanley McChrystal, the innovative commander of international and US forces in Afghanistan, was living large. Loyal staff liked to call him a 'rock star'. During a spring 2010 trip across Europe to garner additional Allied help for the war effort, McChrystal was accompanied by journalist Michael Hastings of ROLLING STONE. For days, Hastings looked on as McChrystal and his staff let off steam, partying and openly bashing the Obama administration for what they saw as a lack of leadership. When Hastings' piece appeared a few months later, it set off a political firestorm: McChrystal was ordered to Washington, where he was unceremoniously fired.In THE OPERATORS, Hastings gives us a shocking behind-the-scenes portrait of Allied military commanders, their high-stakes manoeuvres and often bitter bureaucratic in-fighting. He takes us on patrol missions in the Afghan hinterlands and to hotel bars where spies and expensive hookers participate in nation-building gone awry, drawing back the curtain on a hellish complexity and, he fears, an unwinnable war.
On Thin Ice
By Hugh Rowland
From floating ice to snowstorms - meet the adrenalin junkie and death-defying star of the History Channel and Five USA's hit show ICE ROAD TRUCKERS.Every year a fleet of men travel to the Arctic Circle, a region heavily endowed with natural resources. Locating the abundance of natural gas, conflict-free diamonds and gold is relatively easy - but extracting and transporting these goods is another matter entirely. The truckers picked to deliver these precious commodities spend two months traveling hundreds of miles on a naturally formed road of ice. It is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world.For more than 20 years, Hugh Rowland has survived the ice roads like no other. Known by the ice road trucking community as 'The Polar Bear' - a reference to his legendary stamina, strong personality, bearish attitude and prowess on the ice - Rowland has performed amazing feats and survived spectacular wrecks to become the undisputed king of the ice road truckers. Each year when the temperature plummets to -70°C, Rowland leaves his family, home and successful excavation business north of Vancouver, Canada, to drive 1900 miles to Yellowknife, where he throttles up for another ice road season. ON THIN ICE traces the history of ice road trucking, the preparation for the trek and follows Rowland through his nine week journey across the infamous Ice Road. From the first snowstorm to the final thaw, this adrenalin-filled book follows his journey to the edge of endurance and back. It's an extraordinary look at an extreme life.
One Of A Kind
From the moment he first stepped onto a test pitch, cricket fans around the world were dazzled by Doug Walters' red-blooded strokes, his immaculate timing and his great enjoyment of the game. But they also loved him because he refused to be a star. He drank, he smoked, he loved a punt. The boy from Dungog was one of us.In -One of a Kind£, the man many regard to be one of Australia's greatest batsmen ever, talks frankly with Ashley Mallett about his years in cricket, his successes and his slumps. He doesn't hold back on his thoughts about the game's administration, the pampering of modern day players and selection decisions. And he makes some bold predictions about the future of the game.Doug Walters thrilled the nation with his batting. This is his story.
Other People's Daughters
By Ruth Brandon
A rich and fascinating account of the lives of Victorian governesses, exploring nineteenth-century attitudes to women, family and class.If a nineteenth century lady had neither a husband to support her nor money of her own, almost her only recourse was to live in someone else's household and educate their children - in particular, their daughters. Marooned within the confines of other people's lives, neither servants nor family members, governesses occupied an uncomfortable social limbo. And being poor and insignificant, their papers were mostly lost. But a few journals and letters have come down to us, giving a vivid record of what it was to be a lone professional woman at a time when such a creature officially did not exist.