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Desert Sniper

How One Ordinary Brit Went to War Against ISIS
By: Ed Nash
Narrated by: Finlay Robertson
Length: 8 hrs
4.5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What makes an ordinary but highly educated Englishman, with no previous military training, decide to travel and fight in one of the most brutal conflicts on the planet?

Desert Sniper is an extraordinary true account of one man's journey from well-meaning volunteer to battle-scarred combat sniper, placing himself daily in the line of fire to fight one of the greatest evils of this new century.   

Ed Nash has travelled across the globe and is working with refugees in Burma when he first becomes aware of the terrible atrocities being committed under ISIS' newly established caliphate, covering vast tracts of Iraq and Syria. In June 2015, he chooses to undertake the hazardous journey, via Northern Iraq, to Syria, to join ill-equipped and poorly trained but battle-hardened Kurdish forces as they attempt to halt Daesh's relentless advance. 

Nash is an articulate, insightful and refreshingly honest companion as he unpacks the shifting complexities of the political and military situation in which he finds himself. As one of a motley band of foreign volunteer fighters - veterans of other conflicts, adventurers and misfits, from many different countries - we follow him through his rudimentary training and early combat operations as he and his companions slowly gain the trust and respect of their Kurdish colleagues.

Nash shows us the realities of the war on the ground in Syria in fascinating detail: the privations of the ordinary Kurdish soldiers, the terrible price paid by civilians caught in the cross fire, the ever-present danger of lethal suicide bombers and occasional moments of striking beauty in amongst the carnage. 

A modern classic in the making, Desert Sniper will prove to be one of the most unforgettable accounts to emerge from the war against ISIS.

©2018 Ed Nash (P)2018 Hachette Audio

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  • Joe
  • 22-07-2019

Decent, but VERY misleading. NOT a sniper book.

First the non-spoiler part: If you are interested in the situation in Syria, and if you are interested in the inner workings of a modern-day civil war and all the good and bad that goes with it, then this is an OK book. The author is comprehensive and detailed. The narrator is good. HOWEVER, if you are looking to read a SNIPER story, then go elsewhere!

"Sort of" spoiler part: This is a book wherein a normal guy with no training is given a snipers weapon and told to do stuff. He is NOT a sniper and this is NOT a sniper book. Throughout the whole book, there is a total of TWO times where he MIGHT have killed someone. There is no confirmed kills, no skilled shooting, and mostly just a guy banging away at buildings and hoping he got someone. The book has some redeeming qualities, but if you are looking for a snipers story, this is not it.

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  • Lee Ward
  • 05-02-2019

Thrilling war memoir

This one is going to hook you from the start and feel like easy listening, because of the clarity of writing and professional narration. Now I understand why it took so long to put ISIS down despite massive effort and expense. I think this book could go on to win some awards.

Ed Nash had been a journalist covering the conflict in Myanmar. He got inspired to fight ISIS (Daesh) in Syria, a fight against evil (e.g., rape on a scale that's impossible to comprehend). With no military training, he simply showed up to see what he could do to support the Kurds. That may sound impulsive, but his experience in Myanmar helped him figure out his presence itself would be powerful. He wasn't the only one; there were others.

Nash got placed in a unit of foreign volunteers and literally learned on the job how to be a competent sniper, although not on the precision level of U.S. military snipers. He and his unit of foreigner volunteers were, in my view, entrepreneurial in their approach. The found ways to make a difference, and the Kurds were grateful. Nash used several anti-material rifles, among the many weapons he carried and used.

Nash's brigade of foreigners transmitted the sense that the world hadn't forgotten about the Kurds. You know how timing can be everything? The Kurds had their own foreigners amongst them, up close and personal, right when they needed a morale boost. They made progress when the world was looking for a way to defeat ISIS. Seeing this, coalition forces rallied to them. It followed that Kurdish forces went on a long campaign, over-watched by A-10 Warthogs, AC-130 Spectre Gunships and drones providing support from above. Nash tells what that was like. What a series of events! US, UK and French special forces next arrived.

That all sounds great, so why did it take years and loads of money to defeat ISIS? Well, the media didn't tell us why, and wasn't that the big question? Nash tells why.

ISIS enjoyed unlimited support from Turkey and therefore had the best infantry weapons, supplies and as we all know, a steady stream of dedicated fighters willing to die for the cause. ISIS had access to very well-schooled military minds. It even had its own drones. And nothing could turn off the tap. During Nash's time in country, it wasn't prudent to cut the supply lines into Syria from Turkey for fear of bringing the Turkish military itself into Syria. It took Nash to tell the story in a way that makes it intuitive. ISIS was a heavyweight, much stronger than the media was letting on.

Nash makes it all easy and interesting. This book communicates. Narration was also spot-on.

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  • Richard Casto
  • 14-11-2018

Firsthand viewpoint of the Syrian conflict

This was a captivating story that held the attention of me and my son on a long road trip. The Author does a great job of putting you directly into the conflict. You experience moments of laughter, horror, near death and the joy of success. It is more than just combat as you get a better understanding of the Syrian conflict including the motivations of the various participants on both sides. While Daesh (and its supporters) is clearly the villain in this memoir, those with which the Author fought with are also described with brutal honesty as well. The audio performance was very good and the pace was good with it picking up toward the end as the noose was tightened on Daesh. I very much recommend this book.

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  • Zak
  • 12-11-2018

Great book, crazy story

A little politically tricky, but what a story! I hope someone interviews Mr. Nash sometime, so I can associate his real voice instead of the narrator's.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 13-01-2019

Challenging and really thoughtful

Clearly people are able to follow the feeling of responsibility they hold to extraordinary lengths.

This book will leave you feeling that quite possibly, we all hide behind our own comfort and routine. That just possibly there are things that deep down, we know we should fight for, and be far more proactive in, that we may not know the best route of access to.

Maybe not giving up life and fighting in a foreign legion, but there are things, that could fit in our routines and comfort, that could impact positively on others.

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  • george applegate jnr
  • 17-06-2019

What a man, what a story of war and close shaves.

Easy to listen to, interesting story with a British perspective on the field in Syria. Its just so sad that its possible for him to get charge under the terrorism act uk when he was fighting for the people of a country who were being slaughtered by isis. Shows how wrong our country is on many geopolitical stances. I have the utmost respect for the foreigners and the kurds in stopping such a evil idealogy.

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  • Royston
  • 30-12-2018

Astounding and an eye opener

Ed Nash is to be congratulated for his efforts in Syria. This book reveals the evil that is ISIS, one that is hidden from the British public by our fatuous media.

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  • Lewis C.
  • 30-12-2018

Outstanding insight into the fight against ISIS

This a brilliant look into the experiences of an extremely brave men and his colleagues. I would love to buy the author a beer as I'm sure he has many more tales to tell!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-12-2018

Incredible!!

I honestly could not stop listening to it!! I finished the book the same day I bought it! What this man and others like him did is beyond anything anyone could imagine. He tells his version of events without ever trying to glorify himself or what he was doing and it appears to be very grounded.

An honestly brilliant brilliant book that I will certainly be recommending to many people!!!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-11-2018

An Interesting Education. <br />

Interesting book. A refreshing change to read a book written by someone who can, firstly, write; as well as expressing intelligent and articulate arguments from one side of the conflict.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-11-2018

Excellent book, a “must read”

Ed Nash delivers in his book a good mixture of war and danger mixed up with what it’s like to live as a sniper imbedded with the Kurds. This book is more than just a guns and bullets book, as it provides an accomplished account of the wider political and historical situation. That said there is plenty of death and destruction if that’s what you’re looking for. If Nash shoots as good as he writes then I wouldn’t of liked to have been down range from him.

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  • David
  • 04-11-2019

informative book

loved the book and was very interesting. the narrator was spot on. I would recommend this audiobook to everyone

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  • Smeesh
  • 17-10-2019

Sorry but he’s not even a sniper

I will give him respect for his bravery and volunteering to help in a war zone but that’s it.

It’s probably the worse book I’ve read so far out of all the military books I’ve read
1,he’s not a sniper he just used a sniper rifle so that’s misleading
2, he didnt take (kill) any enemy soldiers
3, has no military training apart from what he learned there

It’s not even a story am actually puzzled why there is a book out about sitting in a war zone then coming home , crazy

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  • Stu_DHer
  • 09-07-2019

inspiring and enlightening

had a really good balance of time in fire fights, day to day activities, challenges the Kurds face, political situation and of course the evil of ISIS. The fact main stream media have been forced to tow the line and we hear little about the Kurdish situation is sadly the way all political propaganda works even when its clear thousands and possibly millions of innocents are being targeted by dictatorial regimes.