Helmand to the Himalayas - One Soldier's Inspiration Journey, David Wiseman

Helmand to the Himalayas - One Soldier's Inspiration Journey, David Wiseman

This memoir falls into two very different halves. The first follows the author's military career through a quiet deployment in Iraq and on to Afghanistan, where he took part in the costly British deployment to Helmand Province. During his time in Helmand he was caught up in the aftermath of a costly attack on British forces by bogus Afghan policemen, and was very badly wounded. The second part follows his recovery from the physical and then mental injuries caused by the fighting.

I'd recently reviewed an autobiography set just before this, and some of the events carry over from one to the other, in particular the construction of a bridge that features heavily here, and that was planned in the earlier period.

One image that emerges from both memoirs is of an army struggling to carry out a difficult task with far too few men. As a result each of these isolated bases were virtually under siege, with any movement outside the base difficult. It becomes a combat operation to visit a unit 450 yards from the base. This same image emerged from the earlier book.

The most valuable section of this book comes after the author's recovery from his physical wounds, when we get an honest description of post traumatic stress. This includes a period before the author was willing to seek treatment, when the ghosts of the incident in the police station haunted him, and the author's participation in an expedition to climb Mt Everest that he credits with restoring his sense of purpose.

1 - Baghdad Blues
2 - The Road to Afghanistan
3 - Helmand
4 - Shin Kalay
5 - Contact
6 - IED
7 - Damage
8 - Police Station
9 - Aftermath
10 - Grizz
11 - Man Down
12 - Casevac
13 - Recovery
14 - Flashback
15 - Walking With The Wounded
16 - The Road to Everest
17 - Base Camp
18 - Khumbu Madness

Author: David Wiseman
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 256
Publisher: Osprey
Year: 2014

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