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I was in the Army at the same time as Simon Mann and remember him as a rather self satisfied arrogant young man. Sadly this does not seem to have changed, if his story is witness to his life, up to his time in prison in Zimbabwe. From then on I found myself admiring him for his courage and humility and his care of those around him. I found parts of the book incredibly boring as Simon Mann as the narrater had a very flat voice, it irritated the hell out of me how he would say things in full and then use the abbreviation as though he was writing a staff paper in the Army; for instance 'Ministry of Defence' 'MOD'. The way the book went backwards and forwards over his time in Africa was very distracting. The best part of the book was about his time in prison which he tells in great detail. I admire his courage and his loyalty to the men who did so little for him when he was in captivity, it is not difficult to find out who they were - just look in Wikipedia. Generally this book was an eyeopener, I always knew there was corruption and mayhem in parts of Africa but this book spelled it out. Worth reading but not listening too.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Cry Havoc the most enjoyable?
Tale of daring do in the seedy mercenary world. It gives the reader exposure to military planning and different social and national cultures.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Cry Havoc?
Strangely, the bit you probably didn't buy the book for - Mann's years in prison.
What do you think the narrator could have done better?
The choice of the author as narrator is an obvious but brave one. It adds an element of authenticity but ultimately is a bit of a risk. Mann's lack of experience, his (possibly) slightly effeminate and lisping voice is a tad distracting and generally numbs the story.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Not the shortest of books but it keeps you coming back for more.
Any additional comments?
I read this book after reading My Friend the Mercenary (which is truly exceptional).This is a very enjoyable read. It tells several stories - mercenary work in Equatorial Guinea, Sierra Leone and Angola, Mann’s military education and business dealings, and his years in prison.Quite how this is executed is pretty debatable.The standard of English is poor throughout. Sentence structure, storytelling, descriptions are all poor. There’s a mention that Mann had some help in editing the book but a decent ghost writer should have been employed.In terms of content, this is also questionable. Many key parts to the story are left out without explanation as to why (for instance, why Mann left the SAS and the various court battles). Mann also avoids being explosively revealing (as many people would have wanted him to be), calling key characters ‘The Boss’ and ‘The Croc’. Throughout, Mann tries to portray himself as an enlightened freedom fighter or a modern day Robin Hood, fighting for other people’s interests. This, rather than confronting the more blunt but plausible concept that he was in it for the money.That said, I still found this very enjoyable! You will probably find yourself questioning why he wrote some things as he did, or why certain parts of the story are left out / not explained / sound insincere. However, it is still a very interesting story told by a man with a very colourful life. So, I would say that, the road is a rocky one but that it is worth the ride!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
THere is no doubt that he had an interesting and intriguing story to tell but he should have got somebody to write it for him. He is no writer so it is not his fault. The story would have worked better presented as a simple straightforward readable story that one could actually follow in linear format. The flash back technique he used unfortunately did not work that it ends a incoherent mess in parts especially when you add in his endless unnecessary ramblings.I persevered until the end because I am Zimbabwean and his story was interesting on a personal level. To his credit he wrote the Chikurubi experience quite well. He fails to explain exactly how he was arrested and how he got to be sentenced to Chikurubi. He imposed a black out on those details which I thought gave the story an incomplete feel.
If you’ve listened to books by Simon Mann before, how does this one compare?
No. Its a plus point that he read his own story but unfortunately he did not add very much to it. You did not feel him or his emotions coming through because he failed to own his own story. In many parts he tended to lose concentration or even interest in what he was saying. That deadpan monotone of his was not very encouraging compounded by his habit of rambling which he did for about three quarters of the book
Would you be willing to try another one of Simon Mann’s performances?
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Sadness and boredom
Any additional comments?
It was good of him to attempt and write this important account of history. Commendable effort all in all.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful