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This review is of the book "Joining the SAS" by Barry Davies. I'll note at this stage that I don't intend joining the SAS (Special Air Service), I'm entirely unsuitable and would find it the job from hell, but I came across this book and thought that it looked interesting!
The book is aimed to be a serious book at how to join the SAS, but it was published around ten years ago, so parts are out of date. Anyone serious in joining should of course find more up to date information, but it's a good introduction guide, or a good book for the casual reader who is interested in the subject.
The author of the book, Barry Davies, had been in the SAS for nearly twenty years, serving around the world. He was originally in the Welsh Guards, but was able to win the British Empire Medal during his time in the SAS. He has written a number of different books about the history of the SAS, so was certainly qualified enough to be able to write this book.
In the book are details of the sort of candidate that the SAS are looking for, and practical ways in which you can pass the various physical fitness tests. The book also makes clear that it is a certain type of person who will fit into the SAS, so it is essential to have a range of skills, and it is not always obvious what skills the recruiters might be looking for.
I must admit that the selection course sounds incredibly frightening for me! The book explains how the first stage of the process is watching videos of what the service is like, as an introduction. But it soon gets harder with a three week course, usually in a mountain range in the UK, where long route marches with heavy kit are required, including the final challenge being over forty miles through difficult terrain.
The next stage of the process of jungle training, where you are effectively left on your own to try to stay hidden for a couple of days from pursuing army troops who are part of the exercise. You need to be able to fend for yourself in the forest, stay hidden, and try to repair the damaged clothing that you're given as part of the exercise.
The final part of the exercise is ensuring that you don't tell secrets to the opposition, so as part of the test, there is an interrogation to be faced, all at the end of an exhausting few days! At the end of all this, only a fraction of the recruits that started the process will be left, and they are able to join the prestigious SAS.
The book is a fascinating read, although it certainly didn't make me tempted to want to join! The information looked helpful, and the book provided a good oversight of the requirements of the SAS, and the sort of people who should join. The book was well written and seemed to contain the right amount of information that would be useful to a serious reader.
The book is now out of print, so you will likely only be able to find second hand copies. At the time of writing, these are available from sites such as eBay and Amazon for around three to four pounds including postage.
Overall, this book is an interesting guide to the SAS and how to join, even though for me it is only out of general interest rather than an intention to join. The book was published some years ago now, so will inevitably be quite dated in places, but it's still worth a look if you're interested in joining the army or SAS generally as some background reading. Definitely an interesting title.
If you're good enough. So, you're in the army and you reckon you've got what it takes to get into the SAS or you're just interested what you'd have to do to achieve such a post. Where do you go? Your CO? Nah, go to the book shop it's a lot less hassle. For less than £10 you can buy Barry Davies' excellent book on "Joining the SAS", it details many things that a potential recruit would find interesting, useful and informative and would almost certainly help your before you attempt or think about attempting "Selection". The book contains information on requirements for joining up, the selection process itself, fitness routines to help you build up to the required level, map reading hints, dietary information and much more. It's a tombe of information which would be helpful to the professional soldier as it is interesting to the interested civvie. A worthwhile read for those interested. ISBN: 0-283-06326-2