Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.
With reviews of books that cover these topics
This is much, much more than a run of the mill warrior testimony. Jake Wood thinks – a lot. He writes with brio. But above all he is searingly honest; he wears his heart on his sleeve – and for most of the book, it is bleeding. A major theme of the first part of the book is his love life. This creates a rhythm for the emotional roller-coaster (mostly on a downward trajectory) that endures until the end. One is left wondering whether it is better for a soldier on ops to have no one at home (other than parents and siblings) to worry about, whether to be in a relationship, or whether to have a wife and a brood back in the UK to occupy waking thoughts.
The beginning is very impressionistic, and there is much more of that in the pages that follow. But there are also plenty of facts – and usually ones that are very uncomfortable – for author and reader alike.
This is one of the first military memoirs I have read by a reservist, a TA soldier. However Jake is not your average TA soldier: for a start he is a member of the HAC (some readers might have to flip to the glossary I’m afraid), and the HAC gets involved in more spicy stuff than your average infantry TA unit. Secondly he is more than your average HAC soldier (although he is too modest to point that out) – he has previously served in a unit about which he is a little coy (I have a good idea…). The proof of the pudding , and all that, is that he wears Para wings. So Jake is useful. The reader is left in no doubt that he is an alpha (+) male. He ticks a lot of boxes apart from soldiering: diving, a private pilot’s licence gained at Thurston Aviation , (I’m guessing), and so on.
The extraordinary story of a soldier broken by war
Jake Wood Mainstream, January 2013
About time Iraq and Afghanistan were added to the regiment's battle honours...