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WAR DOG: Fighting Other People's Wars -The Modern Mercenary in Combat [Paperback]

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Item description for WAR DOG: Fighting Other People's Wars -The Modern Mercenary in Combat by Al Venter...

Mercenaries have been around since the dawn of civilization, yet today they are little understood. While many modern freelance fighters provide support for larger military establishments, others wage war where the great powers refuse. In War Dog, Al Venter examines the latter, in the process he unveils a remarkable array of close-quarters combat action.

Having personally visited everywhere he describes, Venter is the rare correspondent who had to carry an AK-47 in his research along with his notebook and camera. To him, covering mercenary actions meant accompanying the men into the thick of combat. During Sierra Leone's civil war, he flew in the government's lone Hind gun ship-piloted by the heroic chopper ace "Nellis"-as it flew daily missions to blast apart rebel positions. In this book Venter describes the battles of the South African mercenary company Executive Outcomes and after stemming the tide of Jonas Savimbi's UNITA army in Angola they headed north to hold back vicious rebels in West Africa.

This book is not only about triumph against adversity but also losses, as Venter relates the death and subsequent cannibalistic fate of his American friend, Bob MacKenzie, in Sierra Leone. Here we see the plight of thousands of civilians fleeing from homicidal jungle warriors, as well as the professionalism of the mercenaries who fought back with one hand and attempted to train government troops with the other.

The American public, as well as its military, largely sidestepped the horrific conflicts that embroiled Africa during the past two decades. But as Venter informs us, there were indeed small numbers of professional fighters on the ground, defending civilians and attempting to conjure order from chaos.

In this book we gain an intimate glimpse of this modern breed of warrior in combat. Not laden with medals, or even guaranteed income, they have fought some of the toughest battles in the post- Cold War era. They simply are, and perhaps always will be, "War Dogs."


"A disturbing insight into the ever growing world of unconventional private armies. Like it or not, Venter tells it to us the way it is."John Le Carre

"In this work Al Venter has delved into the real-life exploits of the War Dogs... to illuminate how the privateers have continued to conduct battle in the wake of the Colonial Age. The true stories in this work are more impressive than fiction, and in terms of Africa, this book should be on the must read list for the U.S. State Department and British Foreign Office." Frederick Forsyth

"...a gripping and hugely informative read. ...highly recommended. ...impressive and enlightening."The Herald, 07/2008

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Item Specifications...

Pages   664
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.9" Width: 6" Height: 1.5"
Weight:   2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Publisher   Casemate
ISBN  1932033904  
ISBN13  9781932033908  

Availability  0 units.

More About Al Venter

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Al Venter has been an international correspondent for nearly thirty years, most frequently for the Jane's International Group. Among his previous works are "The Chopper Boys: Helicopter Warfare in Africa" and "The Iraqi War Debrief: Why Saddam Was Toppled," A native of South Africa, he currently lives in Canada.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Military > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Military Science
3Books > Subjects > History > World > 20th Century

Reviews - What do customers think about WAR DOG: Fighting Other People's Wars -The Modern Mercenary in Combat?

very good book  Mar 28, 2008
still not done reading it, been pretty busy. but none the less the first and second person story telling realy takes you there, and the stories all have quite a bit of action. this is a ground truth acount of recent history that most do not want to talk about. i highly recomend it.
A monumental effort that pays off  Dec 30, 2007
Mr. Venter's book will be a text that people reference when discussing the wars in Africa during the 1990's for years to come. His first hand insight makes the book journal like in it's prose as well as an excellent historical document. There is an intimacy that Mr. Venter creates while talking about the lone Sierra Leonian gunship pilot Nellis that made me felt as though I had spoken to the man in person.
In looking at the activities carried out by Executive Outcomes during this period of time, Venter provides a picture that is clear, concise, and above all easy to read. His depth of knowledge and historical context provide an essential read to those interested in what can be called the proto-PMC of Executive Outcomes.
I hope that another book is forthcoming.
First Hand Account of Mercs  Jul 28, 2007
I waited and waited for this book to come out. I wasn't disappointed. It covers the modern mercenary world from a a first had account. The primary focus of the book is on mercs in Africa. The author spent a significant amount of his time with these mercenarys, occassionally even going on missions with them. The book is long, getting into details that other books have skimmed over for lack of information.
I only give this book 5 stars because he covers a subject to a depth I haven't seen since the 80s mercs books. I'm tempted to give it 4 stars though because the writer skips around, referencing future chapters and re telling the same story several times. However if you are into true mercenarys this is the one and only book to get. I collect books on African mercenarys but this is my reference and encyclopedia book on the subject.
Hind's First hand  Aug 22, 2006
I'm a "Hind-Nut" or a HUGE fan of the MI_24 Helicopter and all it's variants. (old & New) I get every book and read every thing on line I possibly can about this flying battle ship.
The only problem is that most all books on the hind are Technical manuals, discriptions and Histories of it, there is little or nothing written about actual combat in the hind. Not true anymore! The Authors stories of Neil Ellis' battles are very exciting and will be to any Hind Enthusiest.I knew little or nothing about the Bush wars in Africa (or even where Sieara Lione was)until I read this book and got a real education from it as well. NOT a light read though.
PMCs, Diamond Fields & Hinds  Jul 2, 2006
The main focus of "War Dog" is on mercenary pilots in Africa around the turn of the millennium. Flying 'outdated' planes and third hand Hind helicopters these pilots ruled the skies above the endless battles to control the diamond mines below. Land battles and treks in BMPs get their due too, but it's the helicopters and airplanes that get the most attention in this book.

The main thing I took away from "War Dog" is that as First World governments become more and more hesitant to have body bags full of -their- soldiers show up on the TV news Private Military Companies (PMCs) that run armies for hire have stepped up to do the dirty work. The rise of one such PMC "Executive Outcomes" is discussed at length.

A good book full of information, not a light read, but one people interested in current events will find useful.

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