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Publisher's Summary

In the summer of 1941, at the height of the war in the Western Desert, a bored and eccentric young officer, David Stirling, came up with a plan that was imaginative, radical and entirely against the rules: a small undercover unit that would wreak havoc behind enemy lines.

Despite intense opposition, Winston Churchill personally gave Stirling permission to recruit the most ruthless soldiers he could find. So began the most celebrated and mysterious military organisation in the world: the SAS.

The history of the SAS is an exhilarating tale of fearlessness and heroism, recklessness and tragedy; of extraordinary men willing to take monumental risks. It is a story of the meaning of courage.

©2016 Ben Macintyre (P)2016 Penguin Books Ltd.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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To those that came before us!

Incredible account of the origins of the commonwealth’s best and most daring soldiers! Lest we forget!

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Extremely well written and fantastic narration.

A thoroughly enjoyable book despite the difficult subject matter at times. A good dose of humour throughout and an amazing tale of courage, heroism and mateship.

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  • Renee
  • 08-11-2016

McIntyre narration and great narrator.

I am fascinated by The men who made a difference and won the War.
And these Roque heroes are real characters.
I have read all of Ben McIntyre's books.
This one is unique!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 25-04-2017

Brilliantly executed book.

This is the most comprehensive and detailed account of the SAS that I have ever read, or indeed listened to.
From the initial idea that formed in Sir David Sterlings mind through to the temporary disbandment of Special Forces at the end of WWII. Ben Macintyre explores and makes a bloody good job of defining the main characters and his research to put this much detail into the the events chronicled is astonishing.
This book, for me, is a testament to the bravery, and daring of the first men who understood their Regimental motto. But beyond that, it also tells of the foolhardy and sometimes downright idiotic exploits of those same men.
To a man they were all heroes, but the man who stood quite literally head and shoulders above all, Lt Col Robert Blair "Paddy"Mayne.
This is bloody good listen and I highly recommend it to those who enjoy listening to the extraordinary exploits of of extraordinary people in our history.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • matt
  • 20-11-2017

What a read

This is the story of, in my opinion, true heros, what these young lads went through was incomprehensible and very brave! Some say David Beckham is a hero for scoring a goal........

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonathan Ford
  • 25-01-2017

Exceptional insight. Rather monotone.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

The book is a true to life account of the story of the regiment. A brutal history. The attention to detail shown is perfect. Not too much war jargon etc.

Any additional comments?

The only negative I have is the monotone way in which it was read. Little to no life was brought to the fore. I appreciate this is, in essence, snippets from the archives and diaries etc But I found it droning from time to time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Helen
  • 15-08-2018

SAS

Very well read and highly informative, had never realised that they had done so much

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  • John
  • 11-08-2018

Well written and well read.

This is a great book about the birth of the SAS, many have tried but failed, however this book is one of the few to put into words the true understanding of the men's story.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-06-2018

True brilliance

Both informative and entertaining true brilliance from the narrator this sets the standard of historical audiobooks

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  • Anonymous User
  • 29-05-2018

very interesting and an eye opener to what it must have been like to be in the war

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  • C Stewart
  • 23-05-2018

Excellent and informative.

Very enjoyable listening. Book was gripping I could not wait to get in to the car and continue listening.

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  • SL
  • 09-05-2018

hard as nails !

fantastic record of the founding SAS troops , listened to the audio version which is read perfectly by the author. A book in its own right could be wrote about each and everyone of the men documented in this book. they were characters of very different personality and complexity but each one as brave and daring as it gets ! absolutely excellent book for anyone interested in world war 2 era and the SAS.

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  • franwan
  • 01-04-2018

Tragic Heroes

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Great telling of how the SAS started. All weird, wonderful and tragic characters. Makes one realise how tough special forces really are

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I was happy to listen in parts as it was quite emotional even though the narrator kept it as light as possible. The end in particular is still ringing in my ears