Book Review: Barefoot Soldier (Johnson Beharry VC)

Posted: October 25, 2008 in British Forces, Inspiration, Marquesate, Military, Reviews, Soldiers, War, Writing
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Johnson Beharry VC is the youngest and most recent surviving recipient of the Victoria Cross, Great Britain’s Highest award for valour.

Now, I don’t buy any military themed books like autobiographies, manuals, how-tos or anything of that ilk for normal prices ever. They are just not worth it, because their literary value is usually nil, and I tend to buy them – if possible – in charity book sales for a few pence. I did the same with this book: barefoot soldier.

However, I am surprised. The book was written by Nick Cook (oh come on, it says with Nick Cook, but we all know that Beharry VC didn’t actually write it, and there is nothing wrong with that) and you know what? It is good. It is very enjoyable and actually very touching. No gung-ho, and no hoorah henry. On the contrary.

I mainly bought the book for 70 pence (and would gladly pay more for it, now that I know it is good) for the info on the citation action, for the VC investiture ceremony (I have to describe a GC investitature ceremony for Her Majesty’s Men II) and while I didn’t read all of the book (never enough time) I was struck by what Beharry VC (yes, for anyone who wonders, GC and VC become part of the name, and it is not right that Amazon lists him as Beharry without the VC) says and describes and experiences after the event. It is a striking case of PTSD and it is written with a lot of unexpected sensitivity and insight.

I buy these books, obviously, for research purposes, because the net doesn’t always get you everywhere, naturally. Also, while I am lucky to live with a real life sample 😉 Mr Marquesate does not know everything, of course not! How, then, would I describe what it is like to do a HALO jump? Books.

How do I decsribe what SAS Selection is like? Books.

How do I … you guessed it. Books. Plus real life info, questions to those in the know via Mr Marquesate, and via internet places, blogs, and websites.

Research, research, research!

But that’s not what this post is about, it’s about Johnson Beharry VC’s book which is a surprisingly good read.

I think you might enjoy it.

Barefoot Soldier on

Barefoot Soldier on


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