The invasion of Iraq in August 1990 precipitated the first Gulf War, which started in January 1991, and almost immediately an RAF Tornado crew are shot down and captured whilst flying their first combat mission of the war. Flight lieutenants John Peters and John Nichol endured seven weeks of what can only be described as the ultimate nightmare - something most of us cannot even conceive let alone imagine. This tells their story.
First off, I was really impressed. I was slightly worried after a few pages as the switching between the writing of the two protagonists was a bit jarring, but you soon get used to it. Like other stories of this ilk, I expected a bit of exposition on how the pair got where they were, but there was very little of that, except to introduce the war itself. Before you know it, Peters and Nichol are flying over an Iraqi airfield, and moments later are racing away from their burning Tornado in the Iraqi desert, but they are quickly captured and taken to prison.
The story is incredibly honest, and they share their fears and hopes throughout. They explain their self-loathing when they talk. When one finally cracks, he beats himself up, only to feel even worse when the other says he had not talked. They are moved between prisons run by Baath party fanatics, and those run by the army. They endure an air raid that all but destroys the prison they are in and meet with American and other pilots who have also been captured. There is harrowing moments, such as when another man's screams become a source of irritation, even hatred and when an American pilot lose his fillings.
Overall this is an excellent, if sometimes tough read, and I thoroughly recommend it.
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Michael Joseph; 1 edition (15 June 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1405937572
- ISBN-13: 978-1405937573
- Product Dimensions: 18.1 x 1.9 x 11.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 200 g
- Customer Reviews: 122 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 135,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)