There is little doubt that the hot commodity in the US book and film world are dramatization’s of recent military actions. We seem hooked on the adrenaline rush from sharing vicariously the danger of combat. There are few people that have not heard about SEAL team six, this crack force killed Osama Bin Laden. Yes they deserve credit, but rarely do members of any Special Forces or Intelligence  branch (pick your country) come forward and talk about a particular event.

I can count on the fingers of one hand the books that I have read that have an element of reality to them on the subject of Special Forces and how they operate.

There are a series of great TV ad’s for Dos Equis beer, they feature actor Jonathan Goldsmith who is billed as the most interesting man in the world. His catch phrase is “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do I prefer Dos Equis”.

I am going to shamelessly borrow his phrase. I don’t always read books about modern conflicts, but when I do, I choose Damien Lewis!

In his native Britain Damien Lewis is a household name, his books regularly make the best seller lists, yet here in the US he remains relatively unknown. I suspect that situation is about to change with the publication of Zero Six Bravo next week.

The book details a curious and dangerous episode in the second Iraq conflict. 60 members of the elite British SBS (Special Boat Service) with members of the SAS and US Tier One Special Forces embedded are tasked with what seems to be a suicide mission. Head to Northern Iraq and get the over 100,000 strong Iraqi 5th Corps to surrender. Yes, it sounds like the plot from a ‘B’ movie, but alas it is a true story.

Damien is bound both by British Law and a strong sense of ethics to protect the identities of the people involved:

For reasons of operational security I have changed the names of the men who appear in this book, and for similar reasons I have, where necessary, appropriately disguised and part-fictionalized certain operational details and elements.

Damien Lewis kindly permitted me a look at the manuscript, it is a superb and riveting read. I will be writing a full review next week.

Simon Barrett

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