Patrick Hennessey's "The Junior Officers' Reading Club" is a lucid, witty account of all the horror, boredom and exhilaration of war. Patrick Hennessey is pretty much like any other member of Generation X: he spent the first half of the noughties reading books at university, going out, listening to early-90s house on his iPod and watching war ...
Patrick Hennessey's "The Junior Officers' Reading Club" is a lucid, witty account of all the horror, boredom and exhilaration of war. Patrick Hennessey is pretty much like any other member of Generation X: he spent the first half of the noughties reading books at university, going out, listening to early-90s house on his iPod and watching war films. He also, as an officer in the Grenadier guards, fought in some of the most violent combat the British army has seen in decades. Telling the story of how a modern soldier is made, from the testosterone-heavy breeding ground of Sandhurst to the nightmare of Iraq and Afghanistan, "The Junior Officers' Reading Club" is already being hailed as a modern classic. "Soldiers who can write are as rare as writers who can strip down a machinegun in 40 seconds". (Christopher Hart, "Sunday Times"). "An extraordinary memoir...Hennessey has a reporter's eye for detail and a soldier's nose for bullshit". (John Shirley, "Guardian"). "High tempo, full-on, honest and revealing". (Patrick Bishop, "Evening Standard"). "The most accomplished work of military witness to emerge from British war-fighting since 1945". (Boyd Tonkin, "Independent"). "Remarkable ...conveys vividly what it's like to experience combat". (Jeremy Paxman, "Daily Telegraph", Books of the Year). Patrick Hennessey (b. 1982) joined the Army in January 2004, undertaking officer training at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst where he was awarded the Queen's Medal and commissioned into The Grenadier Guards. He served as a Platoon Commander and later Company Operations Officer from the end of 2004 to early 2009 in the Balkans, Africa, South East Asia and the Falkland Islands and on operational tours to Iraq in 2006 and Afghanistan in 2007, where he became the youngest Captain in the Army and was commended for gallantry.
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Hennessy does a fantastic job of explaining his experiences as a soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan. His breathless voice suits breathless training and battle scenarios, but what impressed me most was his honest and gut-checking explanation of how difficult it was once the fighting stopped. A must read.
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