Military History Book Shop: Intelligence and Terrorism

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Run to the Sound of the Guns, Nicholas Moore & Mir Bahmanyar. A very atmospheric account of the experiences of a US Army Ranger who was involved in the War of Terror from the start in 2001 until being wounded in 2011. This period saw the Rangers evolve from a unit that carried out large scale operations, to one capable of carrying out the sort of small scale raids previous left to the Special Forces, and Moore is an engaging guide to that development. We get a convincing mix of successful and unsuccessful operations, and a real feel for what it was like to carry out operations in the Afghan mountains or the Iraqi urban landscape (Read Full Review)
Special Forces in the War on Terror, Leigh Neville. Looks at the used of the many Special Forces units available to the Americans and their allies during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and during the wider war on Terror, looking both at how they were organised and directed at a top level, and at many of their individual missions on the ground, as well as how their equipment and techniques evolved over time. Ends before the rise of ISIS to prominence, although there are a few mentions along the way (Read Full Review)
US Army Green Beret in Afghanistan 2001-02, Leigh Neville. A look at the crucial role of the Green Berets in the fall of the Taliban in 2001-2 and the attempts to capture high value targets in the aftermath of the initial campaign. Provides a good overview of the Green Berets, and takes an unusual approach to the main campaign, following the exploits of a fictional Green Beret team during the initial campaign that led to the fall of the Taliban, before focusing on real events later in the war (Read Full Review)
The Regiment - 15 Years in the SAS, Rusty Firmin. A likeable, if rather sweary, autobiography of a member of the SAS who took part in the Iranian Embassy Siege, the Falklands War and several tours of Northern Ireland. The first half of the book covers the author’s transformation from very reluctant recruit to an enthusiastic gunner, then into the Commandos then finally the SAS, the second half his time in the SAS itself, ending with his views on the First Gulf War. Provides a valuable view of life in the SAS in the period that saw it rise to prominence after the Embassy Siege(Read Full Review)
A Tough Nut to Crack: Andersonstown, Steve Corbett. The story of a successful deployment of troops from an artillery battery in one of the most violent areas of Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles. A clear demonstration of the correct way to run a peacekeeping operation in difficult circumstances, a tour in which despite the best efforts of the IRA none of the soldiers were killed, and in which they managed to massively disrupt IRA operations in the Andersonstown area of Belfast. Covers the Bloody Sunday period, so we get to see the impact of that incident in Andersonstown (Read Full Review)
MI5 at War 1909-1918: How MI5 Foiled the Spies of the Kaiser in the First World War, Chris Northcott. A sober look at the performance of MI5 between its formation in 1908 and the end of the First World War, focusing as much on the internal structure of MI5, and the laws that allowed it to operate as on its activities and individual cases. This helps explain how MI5 achieved its successes, and also what sort of threats they believed they faced. [read full review]
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Women Wartime Spies, Ann Kramer. A study of mainly Allied women spies during the two World Wars (plus Mata Hari), with interesting material on the La Dame Blanche spy network that operated in Belgium during the First World War and the role of women in British Intelligence in both wars (including the famous SOE operatives and the less glamorous but just as important work back in Britain). [read full review]
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Ask Forgiveness Not Permission, Howard Leedham. A fascinating account of a successful covert operation funded by the US State Department using Pakistani Special Forces troops and American helicopters and for a year commanded by the author, a former member of British Special Forces. Operating on a financial shoe-string while US attention was focused on Iraq, the author achieved a great deal of success during his year. [read full review]
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The Rise of Militant Islam, Anthony Tucker-Jones, Despite the rather sensationalist cover this is a highly detailed and thought provoking book which chronicles the Western powers campaigns against the threat of  militant Islam. It looks at the countries involved in turn covering far more than the traditional look at the Middle East and Afghanistan, detailing conflicts from the Russian Republics and Bosnia to North Africa and Sudan. It helps the reader understand the wider context of Islamic terrorism and the complex international interactions where the misguided policies of West then had an impact across several countries and in many ways helped grow the problem. It is very up to date and detailed but at times the level of detail can be hard to follow across several countries with a wide range of names; it does end on a hopeful if cynical note about how effective Western efforts have been.[read full review]
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The Counterterrorist Manual: A Practical Guide to Elite International Units, Leroy Thompson. This well illustrated and up to date book covers the world of those who hunt the terrorists when an incident takes place, from Special Forces to special police teams. It covers the background and evolution of counter terrorism using some up to date examples of counterterrorism operations. Chapters also look at unit organization, training, selection and equipment, interspersed with many colour plates and diagrams. Its focus is very clearly on the teams that intervene during hostage or hijacking situations and does not cover the security and intelligence services and their operations against terrorist groups [read full review]
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New Cloak, Old Dagger: How Britain's Spies Came in from the Cold, Michael Smith. This book was written in a period of transition. It looks at the changes to the intelligence services role and the threats to security that emerged following the end of the Cold War, but it was written before September 11th and the emergence of the war on terror [see more]
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Secret Service - the Making of the British Intelligence Community, Christopher Andrew. This is a serious and detailed book on the history of the British Intelligence Services. Stretching to over 700 pages it is far from a casual read and a class apart from the paperback sensationalist books normally seen on the subject [see more].
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