The Originals: The Secret History of the Birth of the SAS by Gordon Stevens

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The Originals: The Secret History of the Birth of the SAS by Gordon Stevens

Category: History
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Andy Heath
Reviewed by Andy Heath
Summary: The SAS is a regiment shrouded in secrecy, real boys own, adventure stuff. As a result, it is steeped in myth and folklore. The originals tells the story of the regiment's origins, but uniquely it does it through the voices of the men who were there.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: September 2006
Publisher: Ebury Press
ISBN: 978-0091901820

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The SAS is a regiment shrouded in secrecy. Since its spectacular rise to fame during the Iranian Embassy siege in 1978, it has become a part of myth and folklore. The paradox is that more words have probably been written about this organisation than any other military unit in the world. Some are well researched, and have a genuine historical perspective on the regiments operations and activities. Others are pure fantasy, which add little, other than further the mystique of a regiment that lives in the shadows. The Originals provides a fresh perspective. It tells the story of the birth of the SAS, by the people who were there. In a series of long forgotten interviews, the regiment is brought to life with fresh insight and wonderful anecdotes.

During the course of his life, Colonel Sir David Stirling, the founder of the regiment, never felt that anyone could tell the story of the SAS. He felt that the honesty and integrity would always be missing, and as a result, he rejected all approaches to publish his story. This book is the only one that he felt would capture the essence and camaraderie that shaped the early beginnings, and tell the story that he wanted told. From humble origins, and with a cast often described as misfits, Stirling constructed one of the finest fighting forces that the world has ever known. His was a military unit where everyone had a role and a voice and the results that he achieved are extraordinary. So much so that even to this day, the world's elite forces are modelled on the regiment that he created.

The Originals is a genuine page-turner. It's history writ large. Events and operations, viewed through the recollections of a cast of memorable characters, brought vividly to life. By using the words of the founding members and switching from one to another there is a genuine pace to the narrative, and Gordon Stevens has the storyteller's gift of tension building. For lovers of military history there is a lot to savour and enjoy. Fresh insight into the inner workings of a unit that, even to this day, is so heavily involved in shaping the outcome of major world events. However, it is not a book solely for the historian. Anyone interested in how the human spirit can triumph in the face of insurmountable odds will love this book. Through the words of the founders, there is warmth, humour, humanity and the sheer will to win. The Originals is a triumph and an absolute must on anyone's bookshelf.

If you enjoy The Originals: The Secret History of the Birth of the SAS, you may also enjoy:

The Burma Campaign: Disaster into Triumph 1942-45 by Frank McLynn
Destiny in the Desert: The Road to El Alamein - the Battle that Turned the Tide by Jonathan Dimbleby
A Broken World: Letters, diaries and memories of the Great War by Sebastian Faulks and Hope Wolf

Buy The Originals: The Secret History of the Birth of the SAS by Gordon Stevens at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Originals: The Secret History of the Birth of the SAS by Gordon Stevens at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Originals: The Secret History of the Birth of the SAS by Gordon Stevens at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Originals: The Secret History of the Birth of the SAS by Gordon Stevens at Amazon.com.


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