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Painting the Sand

Narrated by: Oliver Hemsbrough
Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
Categories: Biographies & Memoirs
4.8 out of 5 stars (90 ratings)

Non-member price: $23.41

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Publisher's Summary

This is a book about science, bombs and what happens to the human psyche when every day you go to work might be your last.

Kim Hughes is the most highly decorated bomb disposal operator serving in the British Army. He was awarded the George Cross in 2009 following a gruelling six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, during which he defused 119 improvised explosive devices, survived numerous Taliban ambushes and endured a close encounter with the Secretary of State for Defence.

The backdrop to Painting the Sand is the Afghan War, the conflict where the cold courage of the bomb disposal operator rose to national prominence. No other field of warfare offers the chance of a single individual to come so close to his enemy and fight out a battle of wits where losing means death. This is one of the best memoirs that will come out of a 10-year struggle to defeat a hidden and enduring enemy.

©2017 Kim Hughes (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

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Note to Author

I'd like this to be a note to the author. I myself had been considering joining the army here in Australia as a combat engineer and to specialize in EOD, I found this book thanks to my Dad and It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. This is probably the first time I've ever heard a real, raw recount of a serviceman's time deployed with such detail. Although incredibly confronting with some of the situations that arose, I am only more driven to join, that might sound insane to some after hearing/reading this. I don't want to just try and be a hero or get into contact for some war story, but its clear to me that people need help. Not just friendly soldiers but also the innocent men, women and children caught in the crossfire, and I want to do my part. Thank you for writing this book and delivering bluntly how war is in its raw form, and although I'm not from the U.K, thank you for your service after all, its a combined effort over there.

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Enlightening & Interesting

Easy listening & an enjoyable read. Thanks to all armed forces personnel for their service

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Hard hitting reality

Honest powerful book full of truth and epic real life war and life stories and messages. Thankyou so much for sharing what goes on for an EOD operator

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Outstanding

One of the best listens I have had in a long time. Not over the top full of crap like US military books. I highly suggest a listen. Fantastic narration by Oliver. I will listen to more of his books

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Excellent first hand account of EOD work in the field

A fantastic first hand account of the Explosive Ordinance Disposal and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal work in Afghanistan during Herrick 10. Interesting, gut wrenching, and gripping personal stories of managing a team of engineers, dealing with casualties, responding to a constantly changing environment, while addressing the intellectual and psychological challenges of working in this area. Highly recommended.

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gripping story.

really makes you think seriously about war and the things people give up to be part of it.

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You see through his eyes

I heard Kim Hughes interviewed on 3AW and thought I should give it a go. Well let me tell you the book is astonishing, you feel the anguish of his early years and the pride that develops as he discovers his unusual calling. Thank you Kim Hughes for this insight into the brave, the terrified, the injured and the dead that serve us all and deserve greater daily recognition. I will listen again.

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Brilliant

AMAZING story. a true hero. great listen for everyone military or not. will not disappoint

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  • Julie B.
  • 29-03-2020

Breathtaking and unfiltered

True look at the war in Afghanistan, soldiers’ life, and the job of a bomb disposal expert. Unfiltered, incredibly moving, humbling, incredibly impressive. Very well written and great narration. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-11-2018

awesome read

I was Gripped from start to finish. written honestly and the writer ulled no punches

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  • D. J. Craig
  • 31-10-2017

A truly great read!

An in depth recollection of life on the frontlines of IEDs in Afghanistan. An honest encounter of what really happened, what went on and what it was like. No bullshit, dampening of the situation or moderated views to achieve a life like feel of what it was like without actually being there. The story of the army told by someone who has become the army. Well worth a listen. NB - not recommended if you will be unable to listen to descriptions of fatal scenes

28 people found this helpful

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  • Tony Hanley
  • 13-02-2018

Much respect !

Chillingly true life unglamorous account of fighting the terrorist war as a bomb disposal SNCO brings home the reality of being there and all the raw emotion that comes with that. Im in awe of the sacrifices made by our troops that were made, and it’s also good to know that the authors views on whether it was actually all worth it, were not suppressed. The audiobook puts you in the middle of it all.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Melvyn Pini
  • 08-02-2018

A privilege

This book is an experience the like of which I cannot match. I am humbled by the honesty and integrity of Kim Hughes GC. This country cannot hope to repay what we owe to Mr Hughes and his fellow soldiers wherever would we be without them.

17 people found this helpful

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  • Chris
  • 31-10-2018

Great book, honest, gritty and gripping.

I highly recommend this book, I listen to a lot of books and find at times I will drift in and out of the story. not once did I do this with this book. I was gripped from the first word. Thank you for your service Kim.

7 people found this helpful

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  • ryan
  • 28-11-2017

Excellent and compelling listen

I can't fault the content or the narrater, it was a fantastic book and it was a shame when it ended. It was easy to listen to and captivating with the real-life tales of war. Great book.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Robert Gibbs
  • 06-12-2017

A realistic and thoroughly interesting real life story.

Loved this book, it’s honesty and utter realism. Read it if you have the slightest interest. Being EOD is a seriously punchy role needing nerves of steel and top level skills. Well in Staff!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Kirstine
  • 04-12-2018

Awe-inspiring courage

This is an amazing story of a young man who transformed himself from a barely literate and bullied schoolboy into a courageous leader of men in what must be one of the most dangerous jobs in the army: bomb-disposal. He is unflinchingly honest about his unhappy childhood, failed marriage, what he sees as his character faults and how the men in the field are let-down by governments who expect them to fight in intolerable conditions without the best equipment available. His detailed descriptions of his work in Afghanistan leave me humbled by what soldiers have to endure in a war zone. The fear of being blown up at any moment by hidden IUDs seems to me even worse that combat, but what do I know safe at home. I'm glad that this amazing man survived to tell his story and tell the wider public what war really involves. I can't help feeling that it's wrong that so many brave young men have died in countries for which they feel no allegiance and where their sacrifice has made no difference. The narrator is excellent.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-11-2018

gripping and informative

loved this book. highly recommended for anyone. highs and lows of war explained. the mental demons and the mindset needed to survive

3 people found this helpful

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  • Spark
  • 25-10-2018

Gripes from start to end

A fantastic listen and good insight into army life. Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this and will listen again.

3 people found this helpful

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  • J Z A
  • 17-01-2019

True story

An open and honest account of one mans journey from fat kid to George Medal winning Bomb disposal Afghan veteran. A heroic story. My only criticism (and it is a small one) is that he puts the pedal to the metal and keeps it there. More variation in tempo would have enhanced; such as description of the mundane side of camp life. As it is, everything is wonderful or shit. More tone please. But, an excellent first book.

2 people found this helpful