Book Review: Jihad! by Tom Carew

Posted: November 13, 2008 in British Forces, Military, Reviews, Writing
Tags: , ,

jihadWell, what can I say about this book. First of, I found it badly written, but that was not unexpected. Mr Carew (which might or might not be a real name, but who cares, Marquesate certainly isn’t mine) had a ghostwriter, of course, but I’d still say *ouch*.

However, it was very very interesting, and it does seem that the main gist of it is actually correct – which does make it absolutely fascinating.

Without this book Dan McFadyen in Special Forces would not have done what he did in Afghanistan, because I wouldn’t have known about this specific UK Forces involvement. I would recommend this book for its content, and anyone interested in the background of Dan’s work during the Soviet war in Afghanistan (1980-89) should probably read it.

The Amazon.co.uk product description says the following:

In 1980, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher had taken over the leadership of the West and the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan – the most crucial battle of the Cold War was about to begin. In the high mountain passes of the north-west Frontier and the Hindu Kush, the CIA and MI6 saw an opportunity to bring the mighty Soviet army to its knees. Their weapon: the Islamic guerrillas of the Afghan Mujahideen. The first Western agent to link up with the Mujahideen was Tom Carew, a young ex-SAS soldier with a talent for “black bag” covert operations and veteran of the wars in Dhofar and Northern Ireland. In the course of an extraordinary year, Carew led a series of reconnaissance missions inside Afghanistan; he took part in an astonishing attempt to hijack a shipment of anti-aircraft missiles from Communist Bulgaria for use by the guerrillas and set up the first western-sponsored training camp for Mujahideen in Pakistan. In the course of these operations Carew was accepted and befriended by the fundamentalist Mujahideen and became as close to them as any European individual could ever get. In many ways he was a latter-day Lawrence of Arabia.

Amazon.co.uk: Jihad!: The Secret War in Afghanistan

Jihad! on Amazon.com

One thing, though, Carew portrayed himself as a soldier in the SAS in this book, while it appears that he never was. The BBC outed him on Newsnight, and the MoD does appear to endorse this, but see for yourselves and draw your won conclusions. The book is still very interesting.

BBC: Wednesday, 14 November, 2001, Author ‘lied about SAS membership’

The Guardian: Afghan book author ‘was never in SAS’

Carew’s publisher (Mainstream Publishing) Press release

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