Book Review – “Rogue Heroes”

SAS patrol during World War II in Africa (Creative Commons)
SAS patrol during World War II in Africa (Creative Commons)

Ben Macintyre, the author of bestselling books about espionage during World War II has penned a book entitled “Rogue Heroes”. The book is about the formation of the Special Air Service (SAS) during World War II. Roderick Bailey has penned a book review on “Rogue Heroes” and it is less than kind. Bailey is a historian at the University of Oxford where he specializes in the study of irregular warfare in World War II. An extract of the review is below. You can read the full article at the link below.

“The greater problem for Mr. Macintyre is that the story of the SAS in World War II has been told and retold by historians and biographers repeatedly since the war. SAS veterans shared their stories freely. Many penned memoirs. The recollections of Malcolm Pleydell, a medical officer with the SAS in the desert, were published as early as 1945. The extent to which Mr. Macintyre depends on these sources will not be obvious to most readers since “Rogue Heroes” is without footnotes.

A study of foreign archives would have added something new. Mr. Macintyre confines himself to the SAS’s British contingent, so its French and Belgian members barely get a mention and the opportunity is missed to introduce a fresh perspective. Accuracy, too, could have been improved by greater reference to enemy records. His estimates of the damage and carnage of SAS operations are overly dependent on the claims of the raiders themselves. A rounded picture would weigh accounts from all sides, but Mr. Macintyre’s Italians and Germans tend to appear as faceless and craven caricatures.”

“The SAS: Who Dares Wins”, by Roderick Bailey, The Wall Street Journal, October 28, 2016.
www.wsj.com/articles/the-sas-who-dares-wins-1477675283

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