Rogue Heroes

Rogue Heroes

The History of the SAS, Britain's Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War

Book - 2016
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Random House, Inc.
The incredible untold story of WWII’s greatest secret fighting force, as told by our great modern master of wartime intrigue
Britain’s Special Air Service—or SAS—was the brainchild of David Stirling, a young, gadabout aristocrat whose aimlessness in early life belied a remarkable strategic mind. Where most of his colleagues looked at a battlefield map of World War II’s African theater and saw a protracted struggle with Rommel’s desert forces, Stirling saw an opportunity: given a small number of elite, well-trained men, he could parachute behind enemy lines and sabotage their airplanes and war material. Paired with his constitutional opposite, the disciplined martinet Jock Lewes, Stirling assembled a revolutionary fighting force that would upend not just the balance of the war, but the nature of combat itself. He faced no little resistance from those who found his tactics ungentlemanly or beyond the pale, but in the SAS’s remarkable exploits facing the Nazis in the Africa and then on the Continent can be found the seeds of nearly all special forces units that would follow.
Bringing his keen eye for psychological detail to a riveting wartime narrative, Ben Macintyre uses his unprecedented access to SAS archives to shine a light inside a legendary unit long shrouded in secrecy. The result is not just a tremendous war story, but a fascinating group portrait of men of whom history and country asked the most.

Baker & Taylor
Presents the story of one of World War II's most significant secret military units, citing the contributions of David Stirling and fellow strategist Jock Lewes and how they established a legacy that changed the nature of combat.

& Taylor

The best-selling author of A Spy Among Friends presents the lesser-known story of one of World War II's most significant secret military units, citing the contributions of brainchild David Stirling and fellow strategist Jock Lewes and how they established a legacy that changed the nature of combat.

Publisher: New York :, Crown,, [2016]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781101904169
Characteristics: xvi, 380 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Jan 09, 2017

But then courage, like death, seldom appears where it is expected.

Jan 09, 2017

To overcome frailty is one definition of courage: to acknowledge it with honesty is another.

Jan 09, 2017

Comedy and Tragedy are brothers.

Jan 09, 2017

The confident man will win,...

Jan 09, 2017

Bravery sometimes comes in unexpected forms, and in places far from the battlefield.


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May 01, 2018

An excellent read and an even better listen. The audiobook version also available through the library and read by the author himself is as engaging as the book.

It takes a practiced hand to turn a string of historical events into a narrative. It takes a gifted historian and writer to turn that narrative into a gripping story in such a way that the place names and dates melt into the background allowing the characters themselves to take center stage.

Warts and all, this story of the LRDG and SAS gives a balanced and nuanced account of the many triumphs and failures that created legends out of misfits. Also, the desert is more than a setting here. It is given a full role in this story, both an antagonist and protagonist to the desert soldiers who turned one of the harshest environments on earth to their advantage although any small misstep was punished harshly.

If I have any complaint it's that the Germans and Italians are not better explained. Repeated raids on important airfield and supply assets do get a response from the Axis powers but there is not enough of an account, for example, of how airfield defences were buttressed in response to the SAS raids. A small quibble with a truly excellent work.

Oct 14, 2017

I loved this book. The creation and deployment of the Special Air Service is a wonderful story.

Nov 16, 2016

Excellent documentary of SAS creation


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