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Thursday, August 02, 2007


Book review -Squaddie, A Soldier's Story by Steven McLaughlin

Read this Excellent book,one of the best about the British Army in Iraq I've read-And written by a Rifleman in my old Battalion!-In a nutshell it's the true story of Steve McLaughlin,who at the age of 31 became the oldest recruit to ever pass the grueling Combat Infantryman's Course and joined the elite Royal Green Jackets ( My old Regiment! ) It follows his basic training and then into to sharp end of soldiering,first onto the war ravaged streets of Iraq and then into the Bandit country of South Armagh,Northern Ireland.What is unique about this book is it is written through the eyes of a normal,down to earth Rifleman,no frills,just the honest truth about what it is like to serve as a Rifleman in the British Army in the Twenty first century.After countless books written by ex members of the special forces,and officers and NCOs of the Paras and Royal Marines it is a breadth of fresh air to finally read a book telling the "Toms" story.If you want to know the REAL truth about what it's like down on your belt buckle in the mud and bullets then you must read this book!

Bought the book recently on impulse as I am not "miltary"- seemd to be an intersting storyline.Found the book fascinating - a truly honest account of ordnary solidering but from a lower rank infantry man with in mant ways extrodinary motivation and purpose.Highly recommneded especialy of you have been their and done it.

Got a feeling I might know of the author - is he from Blackpool area ?
This book is a pile of cr*p...DON'T BOTHER EVEN GIVING IT A MOMENT OF YOUR TIME....

So there... I thought I'd give my two penn'orth before anyone wasted their baggage allowance by taking it on holiday with them as a 'poolside book'.... like wot I did!

I think the book has been out for a while, but I picked it up as an easy read before going on holiday..... Mistake! Supposedly 'an account of army life by someone who has been there and done it' ffs... Covering his 3 years service in RGJs from joining as an old knacker at 31 years, I'll have to take his word for it that he 'went there and did it' coz I got half way through the book and binned it...

Spotty 14 year olds might like it .... but anyone who has put any time in would be just glad they didn't end up serving with him. A backsquadded muppet in training, who gradually comes across as a work-shy, whingeing cluster-fcuk. Military skills!! Certainly not a 'Chosen Man' rifleman, as he's forever complaining about how complex and fiddly the SA80 is and he couldn't hit a barn door from 2ft with his riflebutt by the sound of it.

But when he ends up crying off the Assault Engineer Course and begs his Sgt not to send him on it because he doesn't like big bangs and explosives...give me strength...


(I can't for the life of me work out why it's getting some good reviews.... Are you all brain dead??
This is a weak insight, maybe suitable for a 14-16 year old considering a career in the Army. The author is regarded as a Walter Mitty within military circles having served just 3 years and whilst he paints a picture of this from a private soldier's point of view well, he hasn't the experience or understanding of what is going on above him to add any real value. He talks about 'the gruelling combat infantryman's course' like it is SAS selection - its is Phase 2 infantry course every Infantry soldier completes; it is a minimum requirement. Had he served a bit longer he might have got to the School of Infantry in Breacon and attempted serious courses like SCBC, PCBC, or got to Brunie to attempt Jungle Warfare Instructors course which test you metal in a way which earns you a touch more respect.

I am especially amazed to learn the author finds work as an external speaker and spokesperson!!!! I just heard him on Radio 2 (30/11/12) saying that he would be willing to take jewellery from the dead as a war trophy - this is against the law and breaks the Geneva convention...he obviously wasn't listening during his basic training and this highlights his inexperience so bluntly. This man has no credibility within the military circles and he opinion is nothing more than child like.

Regards, an infantryman with a few more stories and rather more than 3 years under his belt.
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