While serving in Afghanistan in 2012 I grew accustomed to regular bollockings from the Task Force Helmand Top Brass. My off-message evaluations were a constant thorn in their side and I was frequently silenced by an utterly charming but equally adamant senior officer. As the tour went on our conversations became increasingly strained.
Imagine my surprise therefore when I received a letter yesterday from a Brigadier General to inform me that he had ‘thoroughly enjoyed reading’ SPIN ZHIRA. He went on to state: ‘It also gave me a new perspective on what was going on’
The British Army currently employs fewer than 150 Brigadier Generals and it would be extremely indiscreet of me to reveal which one was kind enough to get in touch. However, I can say that it was not my charming, former nemesis in Task Force Helmand.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand is the unauthorised, unvarnished and irreverent story of one man’s midlife crisis on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan where the locals haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842 or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. Of course, all infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.
‘The best book by a soldier concerning the Afghan War that I have read’
Frank Ledwidge, bestselling author of Losing Small Wars and Investment in Blood
‘SPIN ZHIRA vividly conveys the disjointed essence of modern warfare and the impossibility of balancing the adrenaline of combat with ‘normal’ life. This book brims with authenticity and dark humour.’
Patrick Hennessey, bestselling author of The Junior Officers’ Reading Club and Kandak
‘If you want to read about political and military success in Afghanistan, this book isn’t for you. If you want a fresh perspective from someone who is not a career officer and who is brave enough to bare his soul, then SPIN ZHIRA is a must read.’
Lt Col Richard Dorney, bestselling author of The Killing Zoneand An Active Service
SOLDIER The official magazine of the British Army
‘A journey of love, service and adventure. Excellent.’