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Summary

Anyone living in Rhodesia during the 1960s and 1970s would have had a father, husband, brother, or son called up in the defense of the war-torn, landlocked little country. A few of these brave men would have been members of the elite and secretive unit that struck terror into the hearts of the ZANLA and ZIPRA guerrillas infiltrating the country at that time - the Selous Scouts.

Twice decorated - with the Member of the Legion of Merit (MLM) and the Military Forces' Commendation (MFC) - Andrew Balaam was a member of the Rhodesian Light Infantry and later the Selous Scouts for a period spanning 12 years. This is his honest and insightful account of his time as a pseudo operator.

In later years, after Rhodesia became Zimbabwe, he was involved with a number of other former Selous Scouts in the attempted coups in the Ciskei, a South African homeland, and Lesotho, an independent nation, whose only crimes were supporting the African National Congress. Training terrorists, or as they preferred to be called, "liberation armies", to conduct a war of terror on innocent civilians, was the very thing he had spent the last 10 years in Rhodesia fighting against. This is the true, untold story of these failed attempts at governmental overthrows.

©2014 A.J. Balaam (P)2020 Tantor

What listeners say about Bush War Operator

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Please, please pronounce things properly!

how can you have a narrator of a soldiers life in the elite Selous Scouts (pronounced Sall-oo) who cannot even pronounce the units name properly!! its is not Sellus Scouts! so frustrating that I am stopping after less than 10 minutes...I will read the book instead and enjoy correct pronunciation in my head! surely there are Southern African narrators out there??

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Fascinating and an revealing diary of events but poorly written and performed

This worth the listen but would be great if re-written and has a more interested performance, the current performance is monotone and sound like reading of a phone directory.
The story deserves a rewrite and a good performance

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A poor poor book

The repetitive nature of the book in fairness probably didn’t help the narration which is not great. The book itself lends zero insight into the author’s motivation to actually fight in any of the conflicts he was involved in, no background or overview of the overall situation in Rhodesia or later South Africa either.
All in all save ten hours of you’re life and if you are interested in this subject matter there are many other authors who give a far more open account of there motivation and beliefs making you actually care whether they survive or not unlike Balaam who comes across as soulless.

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Down to earth account of the betrayal of Rhodesia.

Very moving. We never learn from history do we? A good recount told is here.

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excellent

what a rollercoaster ride. loved this book from start to finish. looking forward to the next installment as i write this.. fantastic read..

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  • Alejandro
  • 05-09-20

Decent book. Could have been better.

I liked the stories and found them interesting. I’m an Iraq veteran and felt a kinship with the author as only soldiers can feel. I said “stories” because this book was just that; a series of short stories that didn’t seem connected. Which is fine if your reading a book of short stories; but...

I felt like I was sitting at the bar at the local VFW chatting with an old salt, but the book didn’t really put anything into context.

What exactly was going on in Rhodesia that caused this soldier to get into this stuff? (I know the answer to that, but I want to hear his story).

Why did he join the army and Selous Scouts in the first place? One minute he’s a kid fishing with his buddy then all of the sudden he’s in the RLI

Later in the book he talked about his brother in law getting him out of a jam, but then said he was single at the time. And that’s just a few.

I liked it, but the book was very disjointed and had a lot of holes in the story line.

7 people found this helpful

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  • erik c.
  • 24-07-20

Incredible

If you are thinking of getting this book, stop thinking about it. Get the book. Amazing stories, and excellent narration.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dan
  • 23-10-21

Short Stories?

More like a collection of short stories than a book. It is disjointed and repetitive.

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  • David B.
  • 22-08-21

From an operator’s perspective - the day to day of the bush war

The author takes you through his life, from a young man to the RLI to the Selous Scouts to the SA Security Service. The heat, the flies, the wounds, the fear and introspection.

Great read!

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  • Jaime Guel
  • 18-06-21

Three sips of gin it is not

I started this book after reading three sips of gin by Tim bax. I have to say after finishing it I was not only confused most of the time but also very disappointed in the things he choose to describe in detail. The heat, the rancid meat, the bugs, and thr fear he felt pretty much throughout the entire book.

I don’t want to take anything away from his experience but I wish there had been more of a build up and more of a follow through with several of these stories. What I got out of this mainly was that Africa is hot, he are a lot of rancid meat, and he was miserable his whole career.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Copperhead
  • 17-03-21

Jumps around a lot, hard to follow.

I love everything related to military history, and I have a fascination for Rhodesia; but this wasn't as good as it could have been. Not to sound nitpicky, but the author was very redundant. How many times did we have to hear about the flies? Worth it for a one time listen but that's about it.

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  • Matthew S Lane
  • 11-02-21

Loved it

Brutal inviromemt. It gives you a good look at all the struggles soldiers had to deal with in the Bush War.

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  • geoff baldwin
  • 18-08-20

Fascinating and Unflinching

Fascinating and unflinching account of a very difficult time and place in history. I couldn't stop listening. The editing needs some work, as it is a little confusing at times. It is well worth the listen.

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  • Curt Hays
  • 06-08-20

No Glory, Just Honesty

This seems to be a chronological telling of various, connected-but-not-linear events in the life of the author during his time as a Selous Scout/Special Forces operator in and around what is now Zimbabwe.

Each story does not necessarily begin where the previous left off. This was not a problem for me because it seemed like the goal was to only tell the interesting parts of each story.

Most political/historical parts of the surrounding narrative are avoided in favor of the details seen from the perspective of the author. It comes off as an authentic telling that is not meant to glorify what he did but merely describe what he was part of.

This was a timely publication and has led me to further pursue an understanding of the recent history of southern Africa.