Mercenaries

Putting the World to Rights with Hired Guns

Al J. Venter

Mercenaries have been a part warfare for centuries, and though the names have changed, continue to play a part in global military conflicts. In today's world these "soldiers for hire" are an attractive alternative when Western governments are reluctant to put their militaries at risk for obscure causes that would otherwise be difficult to explain t
Date Published :
May 2014
Publisher :
Casemate
Language:
English
Illustration :
36pp color photos
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Hardback
ISBN : 9781612002446
Pages : 344
Dimensions : 9 X 6 inches
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In stock
$32.95

Overview
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Mercenaries have been a part warfare for centuries, and though the names have changed, continue to play a part in global military conflicts. In today’s world these "soldiers for hire" are an attractive alternative when Western governments are reluctant to put their militaries at risk for obscure causes that would otherwise be difficult to explain to their electorates.

In this book noted author and foreign correspondent Al Venter provides a fascinating look at modern merc actions in the Middle East and Africa. From brushfire wars in the Congo to outright genocides in Biafra, highly skilled mercenaries were called upon to fight for order, and also for a living. Whether facing fanatics in Somalia or revolutionaries in Rhodesia, staving off cannibals in Sierra Leone or assisting a civil war in Angola the mercs put their lives on the line for a cause.

Many mercenaries freelanced, but under talented freebooting leaders some groups became crack outfits. South Africa’s Executive Outcomes became a legend in its own time like a quasi military itself, as it dispatched fighters throughout the continent. Like an ad hoc Foreign Legion, fighters came from all countries around the globe to participate in the combats. In the US, the publisher of Soldier of Fortune magazine organized repeated expeditions from Laos to Peru. In Afghanistan the renowned helicopter gunship pilot Nellis has recently lent his skills after almost singlehandedly defeating gruesome insurgencies in Africa.

In this book Al Venter, who was actively involved in the direction and production of segments of the TV series "Mercenaries,” provides both background to this unique class of warriors, and a fascinating look at their methods and actions.

About The Author
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Al J. Venter is a specialist military writer and has had 50 books published. He started his career with Geneva’s Interavia Group, then owners of International Defence Review, to cover military developments in the Middle East and Africa. Venter has been writing on these and related issues such as guerrilla warfare, insurgency, the Middle East and conflict in general for half a century. He was involved with Jane’s Information Group for more than 30 years and was a stringer for the BBC, NBC News (New York) as well as London’s _Daily Express_ and _Sunday Express_. He branched into television work in the early 1980s and produced more than 100 documentaries, many of which were internationally flighted. His one-hour film, _Africa’s Killing Fields_ (on the Ugandan civil war), was shown nationwide in the United States on the PBS network. Other films include an hour-long programme on the fifth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as well as _AIDS: The African Connection_, nominated for China’s Pink Magnolia Award. His last major book was _Portugal’s Guerrilla Wars in Africa_, nominated in 2013 for New York’s Arthur Goodzeit military history book award. It has gone into three editions, including translation into Portuguese.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Acknowledgements

1 Privatizing War
2 Africa’s Great Mercenary Tradition
3 Profile of a Mercenary: Cobus Claassens
4 Cuban Mercenaries in the Central Intelligence Agency’s Air War in the Congo
5 Mercenaries in Biafra’s Aerial War of Attrition
6 An American Warrior in South Lebanon
7 Profile of a Mercenary: Fijian Warrior Fred Marafono
8 The Battle for Soyo: Mercenary History in the Making
9 How the Private Military Company Concept Evolved
10 Mercenary Wings
11 Profile of a Mercenary: Helicopter Pilot Arthur Walker
12 “Operation Impossible” – On the Run across Africa
13 Soldier of Fortune in Iraq
14 How Executive Outcomes Ran Its Wars
15 Bounty Hunt in Rhodesia
16 Profile of a Mercenary: American Professional Greg Lovett
17 Taking Angola’s Diamond Fields from the Rebels
18 The Future Role of Mercenaries on the African Continent
19 Profile of a Mercenary: Gunship Ace Neall Ellis
20 Freelance Pilots Fly Chopper Support Missions in Afghanistan

REVIEWS
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"...should please nonfiction readers who enjoy in-depth military works...well researched and methodically executed."

- Portland Book Review

"...takes the reader into the mercenary world –into their real-life exploits – and lifts the curtain on their operations in a fascinating read, one in which their true exploits are more impressive than fiction."

- Small Wars and Insurgencies

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