The first thing I thought when I got this book was how blinking thick it is. OK, it is not exactly paperback cheap, but there is a lot of book for your money, always a good start in my book. Being as SAS book I presume that the author’s name is an alias that pays homage to David Stirling the founder of the SAS and maybe also the famous engineer Robert Stirling. Both I believe are from a similar place in Scotland. I could of course be over-thinking it and it is just a coincidence.
I’ve read a few SAS books in the past and they tend to be either very dry accounts of the strategic and tactical methods used or glamourized accounts of famous missions. This book is neither of those. To me it reads more like an infantryman’s primer that is aimed at young men thinking about joining the military. After telling you why you should pay attention to the author and not think he’s just some crackpot wannabe the first chapter is about your feet. You heard me, you’re feet. Soldiers spend nearly all of their time walking or standing, so looking after your feet and footwear is very important. The picture of toes black with frostbite still makes me cringe now, which is probably the point.
You will not learn any ninja mind-tricks or secret Vulcan death grips by reading this book. You will on the other hand gain a basic understanding of what it means to join the infantry. Other than that my take on reading this book is that the main difference between a normal foot-slogger and a special forces hard-case is mainly the training and the will to never stop. train hard both physically and mentally and never give up. By doing those things despite of any issues you are faced with and you might be SAS material.
This is not a book for the historical collector or a fledgling terrorist, but I believe there are a lot of young men who could benefit from reading this before signing up to serve in the armed forces. Overall I found this a really interesting read.