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Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS,…

Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain's Secret Special Forces Unit… (2016)

by Ben Macintyre

Other authors: John Slim (Foreword)

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2359449,137 (4.14)47
  1. 00
    The Phantom Major: The Story of David Stirling and the SAS Regiment by Virginia Cowles (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Written just 15 years after the events based on extensive first-person interviews.
  2. 00
    Inside the Green Berets by Charles M. Simpson III (Omnigeek)
  3. 00
    Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab (Omnigeek)

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Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Ben Macintyre is one of my favorite authors, and I absolutely love WWII espionage and special ops, so I knew right away that I'd love this book. Macintyre has set out a brief history of the British SAS in WWII, using resources that have never been made public before (as he's been able to do in past books, to amazing and fascinating results).

I did find a few interesting things in the book. It seems to be a bit marred with the British tendency to downplay and criticize their allies in the war - I've seen it in other books, and it comes up again and again here. It isn't Macintyre -- it is the attitude of the folks in the SAS toward the French partisans, Russian soldiers, Americans, etc. that fought with them. But don't let that distract from a great narrative - just be warned up front that the attitude is there.

The SAS has a long and illustrious history, most of which has been deemed a state secret until now. It is my hope that more historians will take Macintyre's cue and investigate this most interesting of topics, and we get some more in-depth books about David Stirling and his men. ( )
  wkelly42 | Jun 15, 2017 |
The title tells one what the book is about. Inside the covers, much of this volume reads like an adventure story. Many of the men in the Special Air Service fought fearlessly while putting fear into the minds of the enemy whether Italian or German. Eventually Hitler made an order that anyone in uniform fighting behind the Axis lines was to be shot when captured and many were.

Using Jeeps in the main, these men would show up hundred's of miles behind the lines in the North Africa desert at an airfield to destroy aircraft, vehicles and men, In Italy and Europe they used the same technique to disrupt train and vehicle movement thus hindering the enemy's resupply system.

After the War, the military leadership planned to disband the Special Forces but soon realized that warfare of the future would demand their method of fighting. The result today is that most armed forces have a special unit that fights an unconventional type of war.

The book is also the background on David Stirling's development of the Special Air Service. ( )
  lamour | Jun 12, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
When I picked up Ben Macintyre’s book “Rogue heroes : the history of the SAS, Britain's secret special forces unit that sabotaged the Nazis and changed the nature of war“. I expected a British version of the joint Canadian US First Special Services, “The Devil’s Brigade”. I was wrong. The First Special Service was an unconventional unit, multinational, highly but conventionally trained to achieve conventional goals, capturing territory and destroying specific targets. The SAS formed unconventionally, trained unconventionally, for unconventional warfare. Their goal was to harass the enemy behind the front lines to force the enemy to use resources to guard posts that should have been safe. Resources that would otherwise have been at the front, modern day guerilla warfare.

Even though I spent the better part of a decade reading World War II history the book held several revelations for me. The SAS wrote the first playbook on training and working with Resistance fighters behind enemy lines, something the United States CIA has done in the middle east for over a decade now. The SAS was much more successful. The post war involvement of members of SAS in the Nuremberg Trials and the reasons for it intrigued me. As an American I a bit player in the story intrigued me, an American flyer shot down over France who spent time fighting with the SAS. A rancher from the American southwest named Lincoln Bundy. Was he, I had to wonder, related to Cliven Bundy and his family of terrorists?

I found this to be a well written work of military history. I fear it could lead me into another decade of reading about nothing but World War II. ( )
  TLCrawford | Apr 26, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I enjoyed the stories about the madly courageous men of the SAS, but when the government stepped in and reorganized & expanded the unit, the book seemed to run out of steam. It's probably because the actual facts suddenly became far less interesting and the stories personal, but I was glad that it wound up when it did.

The writing is clear and engaging, and the author makes it easy to keep the main figures straight in my head. The book hooked me -- I read it quite quickly -- and I will look for other books by this author.
  wenestvedt | Apr 18, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Rogue Heros is a very strong telling of the beginnings of Britain's secret special forces, from the concept of the special forces to the end of WW2. It is told through the memories of those that served.

David Sterling was an aristocratic from a Scottish clan that believed the way to defeat the Germans in Africa was to fight an unconventional type of war. These are the stories by those that served of how the SAS was used to disrupt the Germans and Italians and help bring the end of WW2.

This history is well written and by using the stories from those who served brings about a human element that makes the book more interesting. ( )
  Kaysee | Mar 31, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
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Slim, JohnForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 110190416X, Hardcover)

The incredible untold story of WWII’s greatest secret fighting force, as told by our great modern master of wartime intrigue
Britain’s Special Air Service—or SAS—was the brainchild of David Stirling, a young, gadabout aristocrat whose aimlessness in early life belied a remarkable strategic mind. Where most of his colleagues looked at a battlefield map of World War II’s African theater and saw a protracted struggle with Rommel’s desert forces, Stirling saw an opportunity: given a small number of elite, well-trained men, he could parachute behind enemy lines and sabotage their airplanes and war material. Paired with his constitutional opposite, the disciplined martinet Jock Lewes, Stirling assembled a revolutionary fighting force that would upend not just the balance of the war, but the nature of combat itself. He faced no little resistance from those who found his tactics ungentlemanly or beyond the pale, but in the SAS’s remarkable exploits facing the Nazis in the Africa and then on the Continent can be found the seeds of nearly all special forces units that would follow.
Bringing his keen eye for psychological detail to a riveting wartime narrative, Ben Macintyre uses his unprecedented access to SAS archives to shine a light inside a legendary unit long shrouded in secrecy. The result is not just a tremendous war story, but a fascinating group portrait of men of whom history and country asked the most.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 17 Jun 2016 22:15:01 -0400)

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