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The Wild Geese Paperback – November 1, 1978

14 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Books (November 1, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552108693
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553105186
  • ASIN: 0553105183
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #937,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Splatt on October 30, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book has it all! Lots of military action, but of the sophisticated kind. Romance, too. Exciting, very deep and moving at times. We get to see the mercenaries not just as shallow cutouts of soldiers, but as people, getting a glimpse into their inner selves. Very detailed and factual, almost as if Carney is writing from personal experience. Has a great closing paragraph! I could go on and on, but you'll have to read it yourself.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Rottenberg's rotten book review on February 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
A group of over-the-hill soldiers are called upon to assemble a mercenary army for a single mission: rescue the dissident leader of an embattled African nation. When the current regime proves intractable at the negotiating table, a consortium of British companies hits on the perfect plan to turn things in their direction. By springing the country's popular but jailed former leader out of jail (I guess he was supposed to be a stand-in for Patrice Lumamba, murdered former president of the Congo, but that's just a guess), they'll have the needed leverage. The mercs they hire sound like they're about ready for retirement, but gamely decide on "one-last-mission". The novel lightly but briefly plays up preparations in a way tat suggests the mission will be a walk-over. Eventually, it is - unfortunately, our heroes forget that being mercenaries, they are not the only side that owes no allegiance. When the regime caves in too quickly, the mercenaries' contractors decide that the Wild Geese are now a liability, and abandon them. Now cut off in enemy territory, the mercenary army must fight its way out. It's no easy go.
This was a great story, but it's not told all that well. The real meat of the book is the desperate escape, but the entire story feels rushed, even though there's a great story to be told. When our heroes are first introduced, the book hints at their complex lives ... without ever really fleshing them out. Also, it's hard to believe that our heroes - hardly innocent characters - couldn't see their betrayal coming. Still a great story, and certainly no small consolation for those who can't find the flick.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By W. Zeranski on February 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
What makes this book good? First: it's the writing, and the writing is good. Carney handles the narrative very well. He also inserts a discussion of Africa between two characters, a discussion about race, politics and the violence of the times, which hasn't changed all that much from then, circa 1970 to now.

Now, the book is different from the movie in that more characters are introduced, and these character have `depth,' and considering the story is basically about mercenaries finding a why to make them likable isn't just important, it's necessary, and Carney success there also. Each character on which Carney spends time has a history. All the characters change during the course of the story and many die.

This story has some romance, but is not a romance, just as it has `action,' but is not an adventure. There is gunfire, but no `gunplay.' There is no nobility of course, but no bloodthirstiness. Being a mercenary is a job. You pull for the characters simply because you don't want someone you like to die.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The late Daniel Carney (d 1985) was one of Africa's greatest writers and The Wild Geese was his finest book.
Mercenary action and some scary predictions about the Congo. Well structured which makes the story easy to follow.
The film starring Richard Burton, Roger Moore and Richard Harris is still available on video and is true to the novel
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eric on July 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I read The Wild Geese after seeing the movie and I was not disappointed! The novel covers everything from romance, action, politics and even takes a stab at racism. I truly love the film as it is one of my favorite films ever. The story is easy to follow, engrossing, and one feels for the characters. Terrific for those interested in Africa,military matters, and action. Note: After searching six years for the film on video (out of print unfortunately) I had to go on another trek to find the book also out of print! So my advice to anyone interested is buy it when you see it! Ebay is a good place, thats where I found mine.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Slokes VINE VOICE on June 30, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A tough novel about a tough life, Daniel Carney's "The Wild Geese" is a hard-as-nails depiction of a group of hard-bitten mercenaries who find themselves caught by the short and curlies when a mission to rescue an African statesman from his vicious captors goes horribly wrong.

Obviously inspired by the headlines of the day, not to mention Frederick Forsyth's best-selling "The Dogs Of War" which features a very similar plot, Carney's 1977 novel feels at times very close to the bone, pungently relaying a tale of not-very-honorable men meeting bitter ends in an environment so hostile it makes one wonder why anyone bothers having any ideals at all. But limp characterization, amateurish dialogue, and a plot confusingly rendered and laboriously drawn out bring the whole deal up a bit short.

Colonel Faulkner is a down-on-his-luck soldier of fortune offered both a lucrative contract and a shot at personal redemption. It seems former Congolese leader Julius Limbani, long thought murdered despite Faulkner's protection, is alive and badly in need of rescue from the thugs who have replaced him at their country's head. Working fast, Faulkner assembles 50 commandoes for a last-minute rescue mission.

I'll give the late Mr. Carney this: "The Wild Geese" is better-plotted than "Dogs Of War", with the actual military operation taking up a sizable amount of text, not crammed into the last few pages a la "Dogs Of War". He uses real place names (for the period, meaning Zimbabwe is still Rhodesia) and doesn't succumb to the easy temptation of giving Faulkner and his team a soft, warm side. They aren't without introspection, but it's a black sort of thing for them.

"When I'm not in action, I'm dead inside," Faulkner says.
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