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WAR DOG: Fighting Other People's Wars -The Modern Mercenary in Combat Hardcover – February, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 664 pages
  • Publisher: Casemate; First Edition edition (February 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932033092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932033090
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #895,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

I J. Venter's reports over the past thirty years have spanned four continents. Twice wounded and now well into his sixties, he recently flew combat in Sierra Leone alongside Neall Ellis in an aging Russian Mi-24 gunship (that leaked when it rained), Venter still tries to go on operations when the opportunity presents itself. Of late, he has been spending a lot of time in West Africa.

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Customer Reviews

His first hand insight makes the book journal like in it's prose as well as an excellent historical document.
S. McCallum
Books like this go deeper into the real history and give you the inside picture which is made by people, soldiers and politicians.
Francesco Lancellotta
A good read, a better book and a great story for everyone who seeks to understand where we are and where we're going.
The Pen & Sword

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Nemo on July 1, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The main focus of "War Dog" is on mercenary pilots in Africa around the turn of the millennium. Flying 'outdated' planes and third hand Hind helicopters these pilots ruled the skies above the endless battles to control the diamond mines below. Land battles and treks in BMPs get their due too, but it's the helicopters and airplanes that get the most attention in this book.

The main thing I took away from "War Dog" is that as First World governments become more and more hesitant to have body bags full of -their- soldiers show up on the TV news Private Military Companies (PMCs) that run armies for hire have stepped up to do the dirty work. The rise of one such PMC "Executive Outcomes" is discussed at length.

A good book full of information, not a light read, but one people interested in current events will find useful.
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48 of 55 people found the following review helpful By The Pen & Sword on March 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
All I can say is reading this was a very emotional experience as I relived some of those memories from Ventor's book, War Dog.

It is not only a work of truth but an amazing story of historical facts that should be read by anyone who truly wants to understand the nature of modern, post cold war conflict and how closely integrated international economy is with these small wars.

He also, speaks not only of the 'contrary to popular opinion' fact, that most modern mercs were former distinguished soldiers who left their service and continue to serve with more honor than many civilians will ever know or have. Mercs who also were smart enough to see a way to make some money doing what they were already good at from years of service. Mercs who risk their lives for causes, not just money, and that many of these causes, still actually serve the good of their own homelands through indirect means.

Also, they understand that many of their enemies are not out for anything other than pure greed and will stop at no inhumane horror to attempt achieving this. Using child soldiers, hacking off limbs of old people with dull machetes, taking bets and then cutting the babies out of pregnant women to see if it's a boy or girl that falls out...

These mercs understand what no politician or self professed peace lover will ever understand or be able to say, much less take action on...And that is that some people in this world are not kind, but ruthless and the only way to stop them is with force...
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Nauta on March 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book has given me a completely different view of what I considered to be a mercenary. My impression was always hunting down the bad guy, defending the rich dude, protecting valuable assets. Finding this not to be always true put the modern mercenary in a different light!

I enjoyed reading the other side of the coin, the duties, responsibilities and difficult environment in which most of these private soldiers lived and worked in during their time on duty.

Definitely not the life for me!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By David G. Mcgrady on March 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Al Venter takes you behind the headlines, to show the wannabe's and ex-miltary what is really like to be a freelance warrior. A world where you can trust no one, the pay is usually low, the food/water is bad, you probably won't have the proper equipment, medical care is very limited to non-existant and no one is watching your back. More times then not, you are on your own, so don't expect the cavalry to come to your rescue. Its not a life for those that depend on others for extra firepower, medical or logistical support. You have to be really dedicated to a cause to choose mercenary work as a profession. It certainly isn't for the money or fame.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John A. Studdard on July 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I waited and waited for this book to come out. I wasn't disappointed. It covers the modern mercenary world from a a first had account. The primary focus of the book is on mercs in Africa. The author spent a significant amount of his time with these mercenarys, occassionally even going on missions with them. The book is long, getting into details that other books have skimmed over for lack of information.
I only give this book 5 stars because he covers a subject to a depth I haven't seen since the 80s mercs books. I'm tempted to give it 4 stars though because the writer skips around, referencing future chapters and re telling the same story several times. However if you are into true mercenarys this is the one and only book to get. I collect books on African mercenarys but this is my reference and encyclopedia book on the subject.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Eric Croddy on April 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a remarkable book. It turns like a thriller, yet the reader also is being educated from a first-hand observer of the sorry state of modern, post-colonial (sometimes proto-colonial) African states. If hiring professional soldiers is what it takes to do something--anything--to ameliorate the "Wretched of the Earth" and the biblical suffering in underdeveloped basketcases, then let's by G-d do it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mike V. on January 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Venter, a long time correspondent on African conflicts and Jane's employee, has written a very nice introduction to the various mercenary operations of Africa in the last half century. The book begins with a meandering overview of many of the conflicts covered elsewhere in the book - Biafra, Angola, Sierra Leone, and others. The book then delves into the 2000 Sierra Leone conflict, in particular covering the exploits of Ex-SADF chopper pilot and co-author with Venter of "Chopper Boys" Neal "Nellis" Ellis and his compatriots as they do their best to combat the RUF rebels on behalf of the government with a single Hind chopper. This part of the book goes on for sometime before he jumps back in time to cover the exploits of "Mad" Mike Hoare in the Congo and some of the characters of the Biafran Civil War. It then goes on to discuss some of the adventures of men such as Dana Drenkowski in Rhodesia and Chad; exploits which I had never heard of before and a nice diversion. the It also covers some of Nellis' ill-fated adventures in the Bosnia conflict in the early 1990's before coming back to Nellis again in Sierra Leone. Finally, the book covers in a decent amount of detail the much regaled and maligned operations of Executive Outcomes in Angola and Sierra Leone before finishing up with a cursory (and largely unnecessary) look at PMC's in Iraq.

As others have said, this book can be a bit hard to read at times. The first Sierra Leone account goes on a bit long for my liking, but for anyone interested in that conflict or the ins and outs of mercenary air units, it is a fine account.
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