Simon Mann's remarkable first-hand account of his life delivers like a thriller, taking listeners into the world of mercenaries and spooks, of murky international politics, big oil and big bucks, danger, love, and betrayal.
On March 7, 2004, former SAS soldier and mercenary Simon Mann prepared to take off from Harare International Airport. His destination was Equatorial Guinea; his intention was to remove one of the most brutal dictators in Africa in a privately organized coup d'état. The plot had the tacit approval of Western intelligence agencies, and Mann had already planned, overseen, and won two wars in Angola and Sierra Leone. So why did it go so wrong?
Here he reveals the full involvement of Mark Thatcher in the coup d'état, the endorsement of a former prime minister, and the financial involvement of two internationally famous members of the House of Lords. He also discusses how the British government approached him in the months preceding the Iraq War, and the pain of telling his wife, Amanda, that he believed he would never be freed.
©2011 Simon Mann (P)2011 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
I was in the Army at the same time as Simon Mann and remember him as a rather self satisfied arrogant young man. Sadly this does not seem to have changed, if his story is witness to his life, up to his time in prison in Zimbabwe. From then on I found myself admiring him for his courage and humility and his care of those around him. I found parts of the book incredibly boring as Simon Mann as the narrater had a very flat voice, it irritated the hell out of me how he would say things in full and then use the abbreviation as though he was writing a staff paper in the Army; for instance 'Ministry of Defence' 'MOD'. The way the book went backwards and forwards over his time in Africa was very distracting. The best part of the book was about his time in prison which he tells in great detail. I admire his courage and his loyalty to the men who did so little for him when he was in captivity, it is not difficult to find out who they were - just look in Wikipedia. Generally this book was an eyeopener, I always knew there was corruption and mayhem in parts of Africa but this book spelled it out. Worth reading but not listening too.
Tale of daring do in the seedy mercenary world. It gives the reader exposure to military planning and different social and national cultures.
Strangely, the bit you probably didn't buy the book for - Mann's years in prison.
The choice of the author as narrator is an obvious but brave one. It adds an element of authenticity but ultimately is a bit of a risk. Mann's lack of experience, his (possibly) slightly effeminate and lisping voice is a tad distracting and generally numbs the story.
Not the shortest of books but it keeps you coming back for more.
I read this book after reading My Friend the Mercenary (which is truly exceptional).This is a very enjoyable read. It tells several stories - mercenary work in Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and Angola, Mann’s military education and business dealings, and his years in prison.Quite how this is executed is pretty debatable.The standard of English is poor throughout. Sentence structure, storytelling, descriptions are all poor. There’s a mention that Mann had some help in editing the book but a decent ghost writer should have been employed.In terms of content, this is also questionable. Many key parts to the story are left out without explanation as to why (for instance, why Mann left the SAS and the various court battles). Mann also avoids being explosively revealing (as many people would have wanted him to be), calling key characters ‘The Boss’ and ‘The Croc’. Throughout, Mann tries to portray himself as an enlightened freedom fighter or a modern day Robin Hood, fighting for other people’s interests. This, rather than confronting the more blunt but plausible concept that he was in it for the money.That said, I still found this very enjoyable! You will probably find yourself questioning why he wrote some things as he did, or why certain parts of the story are left out / not explained / sound insincere. However, it is still a very interesting story told by a man with a very colourful life. So, I would say that, the road is a rocky one but that it is worth the ride!
How failure and abyss can come even to the most posh of us.
I'd like to bring out the book My Friend the Mercenary, since in the latter part of the book the stories interlock and you see the different points of views of the writers.
All of it. Takes a man to own up to mistakes and miscalculations. Even if he left some parts vague or completely off the pages of the book. Still, hats off to you mr. Mann. Or a proper salute.
Oh hell yes. But life and sleeping annoyingly kept interrupting.
Very interesting story about conflicts and wars that were overshadowed at the time by USA's endevours around the globe.
Simon Mann paints his storyline with the warts and all that is part and parcel of the underbelly of Africa.
Simon writes of his experiences in Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea, highlighting his prison journey in both countries and points out the instability of the countries he visited.
that book got me riveted.
Of course it is Simon Mann by Simon Mann, and he is offering his own version of events, but I didn't find that to make the story less interesting. In fact, that is what made it so fascinating, what a life!
it reads like a spy novel, except it is true, the fact that he reads it himself gives it a very authentic feel.
great insight in the world of mercenaries, special ops, oil and gold dealings in africa.
When checking a book, always check who is doing the reading. Simon Mann is an incompetent soldier, and a worse writer and an even worse reader. His monosyllable delivery butchers the deplorable text. It is like a nine year old child reading a French essay to a bored class.
The story is semi autobiographical about the life of an ex-British soldier who becomes a mercenary, and is the leader of the troops who so disastrously failed to organize a coup in Equitorial Guinea. Lots of dubious stories based around the facts of his life.
Did not finish it! Could never recommend it!
THere is no doubt that he had an interesting and intriguing story to tell but he should have got somebody to write it for him. He is no writer so it is not his fault. The story would have worked better presented as a simple straightforward readable story that one could actually follow in linear format. The flash back technique he used unfortunately did not work that it ends a incoherent mess in parts especially when you add in his endless unnecessary ramblings.I persevered until the end because I am Zimbabwean and his story was interesting on a personal level. To his credit he wrote the Chikurubi experience quite well. He fails to explain exactly how he was arrested and how he got to be sentenced to Chikurubi. He imposed a black out on those details which I thought gave the story an incomplete feel.
No. Its a plus point that he read his own story but unfortunately he did not add very much to it. You did not feel him or his emotions coming through because he failed to own his own story. In many parts he tended to lose concentration or even interest in what he was saying. That deadpan monotone of his was not very encouraging compounded by his habit of rambling which he did for about three quarters of the book
Sadness and boredom
It was good of him to attempt and write this important account of history. Commendable effort all in all.
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