An “in-depth [and] well-researched” look at soldiers-for-hire and their role in modern warfare around the globe—includes photos (Portland Book Review).
Mercenaries have been a part of warfare for centuries, and in today’s world, these hired guns are an attractive alternative for Western governments reluctant to put their militaries at risk for obscure causes that would otherwise be difficult to explain to their electorates.
This book provides a revealing 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; a quasi-military itself, it dispatched fighters throughout the continent. Like an ad hoc Foreign Legion, fighters came from countries around the world to participate in the combats. In the United States, the publisher of Soldier of Fortune magazine organized repeated expeditions from Laos to Peru. In Afghanistan, the renowned helicopter gunship pilot known as Nellis lent his skills after almost singlehandedly defeating gruesome insurgencies in Africa.
Now, foreign correspondent Al Venter, who was actively involved in the direction and production of segments of the Discovery Channel series Mercenaries, provides both background about this unique class of warriors and a fascinating look at their methods and actions.