The Special Air Service
by PHILIP WARNER
ISBN 0718301722 (0-7183-0172-2)
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Hardcover, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 1971
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Book summary: This is the first time the full story of Britain's toughest and most secret regiment has ever been written, and what a story it is. The men of the S.A.S. started with raids in the Western Desert and Mediterranean, where they specialised in destroying aircraft on the ground; they moved on to Sicily, the Aegean and the Adriatic, where small S.A.S. forces tied down whole German divisions. They took part in the liberation of Athens, where their Commanding Officer rode in first on a bicycle, and passed onto Italy and France, where they set up headquarters behind the enemy lines, to Belgium, Holland and Germany, where they were always ahead of the armies. After 1945 they undertook deep probes into the jungles of Malaya and Borneo, developing the art of parachuting into trees and living for months on end in swamps. They also took part in operations in Southern Arabia, and developed entirely new techniques of training. This book was written with the full co-operation of the regiment and undoubtedly bears out the adage that 'truth is stranger than fiction', Five per cent of those who apply for the regiment are eventually accepted and it is even harder to stay in, for performance is the sole arbiter. The unique quality of the S.A.S. was not, however, physical toughness, but its combination with philosophic mental stamina. In these pages the reader will find many famous names, politicians, international athletes, artists, steeple-chasers, intellectuals, explorers; there has never been a regiment like it. The book is an immensely exciting, almost incredible story of the regiment from 1941 to 1971, on land, sea and air.
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