How Beautiful We Were is, in a word, fatalistic. The villagers are fighting a lost cause,– The David vs. Goliath story slowly morphs into a nuanced conflict.
The book does a great job to taking a complex, and messy, narrative and shaping it for the reader to understand. It was amusing to read how an obscure, but genius, cryptographer working in a dank room had far reaching consequences on the other side of the world without anyone knowing about it.
Pilgrim Days: From Vietnam to the SAS by Alastair MacKenzie is a memoir of the author who served in the special forces of several countries over his life. The book documents his life from serving in the New Zealand Army in Vietnam, to the SAS, South Africa, Oman, and finally as a private security agent.
Karen Blixen (17 April, 1883 – 7 September, 1962) was a Danish author who wrote under the name Isak Dinesen.
Stan Mullens, together with his partner Frank Giordano, is an American mercenary who sees himself as a scholar/soldier who likes what he does but has philosophical issues with his job.
Silence in the Desert by David Longridge – 3 school friends join the French Foreign Legion, the The Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Luftwaffe during World War II
The text is interesting and informative, sometimes over the top
Mr. Mangan really gets into a character’s mind and when he tells the story through their lens he lends them credibility and authenticity.
It is terrifying to think that there are some incompetent nincompoops, or simply uncaring bureaucrats, in charge of programs meant to help millions of people costing billions of dollars.
The narrative is fast and bloody, the story is fascinating and complex with many sub plots to keep track of. The characters, both real and fictional, are well written and dimensional.