Monday, January 17, 2011

Warriors: British Fighting Heroes - Book Review

Warriors: British Fighting Heroes by Ross Kemp

Ross Kemp has encountered conflict and warfare the world over, broadcasting from some of the most volatile military hot-zones. From meeting the world's deadliest gangsters, to perhaps his hardest assignment of all; embedded with the British Army in Afghanistan's Helmand province, where he witnessed some of the fiercest fighting of the conflict and was trained in the tactics they use to stay alive. Stationed with British forces for his award-winning television documentaries, Ross Kemp has not only experienced the terror and exhilaration of life on the frontline, but also the courage and leadership of today's servicemen and women. The plight of our Armed Forces is one especially close to his heart, and here for the first time Kemp tells the breathtaking stories of commandos, medics, submariners, fighter pilots, infantrymen, sailors and engineers in daring raids, stirring last stands and acts of extreme valour. "British Fighting Heroes" is Ross Kemp's personal tribute to some of the most remarkable men and women to have served in the British Armed Forces during the two World Wars, many of them unsung or forgotten. From Sgt Major Stan Hollis, D-Day's only VC winner, to Freddie Spencer Chapman the reluctant war hero who spent three years behind enemy lines in Burma fighting guerrilla warfare against troops, each account is an extraordinary tale of courage, adventure and patriotic sacrifice.

This latest book by Ross Kemp looks at some of the many forgotten heroes of the British armed forces over the last one hundred years. The men who are explored in this book are some of the many people that were either forgotten through the passage of time or because their work was secret, some were just forgotten though because their achievements had fallen out of favour.

Mainly concentrating on some of the forgotten heroes from the first and second world wars this book looks are the astounding feats that were carried out, the risks taken and the background that spurred these men to such extraordinary lengths. Many of the stories read almost like action novels or films rather then something that would have occurred in the real world but amazingly everything in this book is true.

Ross Kemp tries to capture this amazement and his language is almost schoolboy like in its admiration but this just helps to convey the unbelievable nature of the events he is trying to chronicle and put back in to the public eye again. He also tackles things from a human angle and whilst he himself states he doesn’t want to delve to far back so the book becomes a dissection of the psychology of the men he does include enough background in each section to help give you the idea of the men’s characters.

Nicely divided up in to four sections, Army, Marines, Navy and Airforce, the book nicely packages up the events and actions without too much baggage and whilst some forces, such as the Marines, only have a small entry it brings home the extraordinary lengths men go to in times of war. There are nice little touches and bits of information for each man and the biography of what they did after their service is a nice touch that many historians forget and it really does bring home how forgotten these men really did become. There are also some nice bits of trivia and coincidence that could almost be made up, if you don’t believe me read the book and find out about the three men who have won the VC twice!

Over all a good read and something anyone wanting to find out more about true heroes, and not some over paid ponces kicking a bag of wind about that the papers call heroes, a good 4 stars from me but more down to the fact I felt there could be more men in it!

Available from: or
Warriors: British Fighting Heroes by Ross Kemp
Hardback • ISBN 9781846057991

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