QUICK REVIEW: Dead Men Risen
'Dead Men Risen' by Toby Harnden
The British Ministry of Defence tried to prevent people reading this gritty report of the Welsh Guards' 2009 six-month tour of Afghanistan, going as far as to obtain thousands of copies and have them pulped. Fortunately, Harnden and his publishers fought to allow it to be read.
Dead Men Risenshows how politicians and those high up in the armed forces put their own troops in a fight they could not win - or even survive - by not providing enough equipment or support, and by believing that the British soldier would somehow win because he is inherently superior to his opponent.
This combination of stupid pride and half-hearted funding resulted in a well-trained but tragically under-resourced group. Harnden catalogues the ensuing tragedy superbly. He relates how the Welsh guards are allowed to die because they do not have enough helicopters, how their 300 fighting men are expected to hold vast areas, and how they are blown to smithereens to gain pitifully small stretches of countryside only to be moved a few weeks later, handing that territory right back to the enemy.
It is heartbreaking to get to know the soldiers and see their smiling photos, and to know they did not die protecting anything worthwhile at all.
- 'Dead Men Risen' is published by Quercus and available at Exclusive Books for R139