Published: 28th March 2007
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This is the searingly honest story of a brave man who served his country in war and on the streets - and the appalling price he paid.
Simon Bywater fulfilled his ambition to become a Royal Marine Commando by surviving a gruelling training, where mind and body were tested to the extremes.
He learned jungle warfare with the aid of head-hunters in Brunei, saw a friend's leg sliced off by a propeller, and saved his colleagues from tragedy by spotting that live ammunition had been substituted for blanks during an exercise.
But then came the Gulf War and even more horrific experiences in Northern Iraq, such as a truck load of Kurdish guerrillas spilling its occupants one by one as it careered down a mountainside, and children bartering live mines for food.
Unknowingly suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome, he joined the Greater Manchester Police, serving in crime-ridden estates where the culture of violence only added to his trauma.
Even a move to the more tranquil Cambridgeshire Police failed to halt his breakdown.
Simon Bywaters courage in telling all aspects of his story will undoubtedly help many others now suffering in silence and ignorance.
When I read a book I always end up reading sections over to try to understand the writer better.
This is one book that I found very easy reading, mainly due to the fact that I could clearly see through the writer’s eyes, due in the main to having seen the life portrayed. Though I think this would be the case even if I had not had this slice of life.
It makes you re-live distant memories many you thought were buried and gone.
We all take for granted in many ways the training, which earned us the right to wear the coveted green lid. The one thing this book provided was the realization that what we endured was, what would be for all who go down the path, the most demanding test of stress and physical strain anyone could ever undertake.
We know the pressure of the long wait, the tension, which can build for weeks prior to landing on distant shores to engage the enemy. The pressure is around us for the term of our lives in the Corps, is it any wonder many seek to find the same pressure and stress when they leave.
The one thing Simon does very well is to show what stress is like how many differing forms this plague takes and how it manifests itself into daily life.
His views on life in the Police are presented and show the hardships of this demanding profession.
This is a book that has no daring deeds with no glorification, just pure picture painting. Done through the eyes and mind of an ordinary man (well how can anyone call any man ordinary who shares his emotion and life), who has been round the block and now has to live with his feelings.
Yes Simon was right the tears do come easily once you have read the book, guilt, remorse, loss, longing, need, fear and knowledge, knowing that what we have done we never can repeat or turn back to undo what we have seen and done, and it will be with us forever. Though it also shows that no matter who we are we will all miss the life in the Corps for many differing reasons. The main one the loss of friendships of those who we worked with who made us their friends and made us part of the team.
I commend Simon for his portrayal of his life and know that this book is sure to have critics but I say this is a true portrayal of what life is about when you take the road so many of us took and are taking.
DON’T MISS OUT!
I put it down and Marie picked it up, she had the same problem, PUTTING IT DOWN.
WELL DONE SIMON
It's certainly that. It took me right back to CTC as I sat on my commuter train and I couldn't put it down - it sparked off so many memories that I had thought were gone forever (I've got the memory of a goldfish - coping strategy methinks). I was going to launch into one about it this morning but Ratso sums it up and his veiws are spookily close to my own - I couldn't put it any better. My missus picked it up and kept saying "What? You did all that?" and I couldn't suppress an inward smile as I said yes. Anyone thinking of joining the Corps must read it.
There is a very serious side to it though and again I can't add to what Ratso has said.
In writing the book Simon has decided what he wanted to do and gone for it in true bootneck fashion. I think we can all be proud of him, it's a great achievement.
Simon Bywater's book an excellent read, find out about training in the 8's and what it is like to go through along with life in the Corps after training. And later the Police Force in Mancheter...
This book covers many aspects of the Military and Police service including PTSD...
New for 2003 go and buy it it is a very good read, no crap, just how it is. I read it in 1 sitting.
Simon congratulations on a well written book.
I'm another that could not put this book down, as I was drawn by the attention and detail.
This book will appeal to anyone that has earned the coveted Green Beret and anyone that has an interest in the Royal Marines.
The book is well written, plain simple and easy to understand, even military terms and slang have been used and explained there meanings to readers that would not understand.
Simon tells his story in so much detail that you feel you're there inside him looking out through his eyes, and experiencing what he went through at a young age.
From leaving home to training and out on operations, you will not get a better insight than from his untold story.
I would well recommend this book if your considering joining the Royal Marines, first hand account on training, the hell and torture that the writer puts his body and mind though, but he stood his ground firmly and managed it all the way.
From a Green Beret to the Police force and the modern pressures of our society today.
It finally takes its toll, tears and reality kicks in and depression has to be handled and controlled with advice after admitting to yourself there's something's not quite right.
If you have ever suffered from this form of depression, you will understand the accounts told. Again Simon describes the feelings and mixed up emotions well.
Rasto has summed up well what there is to say and I'll agree 100%.
Once again well done Simon.
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