Good Reading : October 2008
18 goodreading ı OCTOBER 2008 After my first book The Amazing SAS was published in August 2005, I discovered that many of the men I had written about had either left the regiment or were about to leave the ar my to take up some fascinating jobs around the globe. I felt there would be another good read in following these unusual men into their civilian careers and finding out how their extraordinary training and versatility equipped them for a world beyond the SAS. I wanted to explode a few myths, particularly that the only job for which they were equipped post-army was that of a Rambo-style gunslinger acting as hired muscle in the so-called war on terror. I wanted to show that these men are very far from the amoral mercenaries so beloved of popular culture and that most work in a clearly defined inner moral landscape. I had imagined, in fact, that once they walked out of the gates of SAS headquarters at Campbell Barracks in Perth, the men would move on and forge entirely new careers, leaving their army days behind them. As I began my research I uncovered something I had not expected: a vast new and global network of ex-Australian SAS soldiers working in a fascinating range of jobs, from paramilitary operations to global security consultants, allied military commanders and even politicians. A phone call here or a meeting there led to a whole new list of names, numbers and places to be pursued. Following the network across the globe, and bringing the stories to life was, once again, a delight and a steep learning curve.The book is a networked story because these are networked individuals.Their connections are comprehensive, strong and, with modern communications, immediate. Only 25 per cent of candidates who try out make it into the Australian Special Air Service, the parachute-capable force specialising in reconnaissance, surveillance and harassment deep in enemy territory, whose motto is ‘Who Dares Wins’. An SAS soldier requires a special kind of mental toughness to get through the intense training and trying combat. Is there a life after the army for these highly trained soldiers? IAN McPHEDRAN found out. behind the book who dares wins again Former commando and SAS major Ken Webb and his team undergoing extreme cold weather training.