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Eight Lives Down: The Story of the World's Most Dangerous Job in the World's Most Dangerous Place Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 29, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, April 29, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This isn't a book about the ethics of war ... it's a book about a soldier doing the most dangerous job there is and managing to remain not just sane but also incredibly sympathetic.... [Hunter] writes grippingly, honestly, thoughtfully and above all simply. There's no need for frills with raw material like this."—The Guardian, UK

“This is–literally–a ticking bomb of a book; breathtakingly tense, fast-paced and incredibly moving.  The best war memoir I have read in years.”—Andy McNab, author of Bravo Two Zero

“One of the best true stories you'll ever read–and better than fiction can ever hope to be. Don't start it tonight if you have to get up for work in the morning!”—Conn Iggulden

About the Author

Chris Hunter retired in March 2007 from the Defense Intelligence Staff, where he was the MOD’s senior IED intelligence analyst. He is a former chairman of the Technical Committee of the Institute of Explosives Engineers and continues to work as a counterterrorism consultant. He works regularly with U.S. military and law enforcement personnel, including a number of government agencies and the U.S. Special Forces. He has served on numerous operations in the Balkans, East Africa, Northern Ireland, Colombia, and Afghanistan and was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal for his actions during his tour in Iraq. He lives with his wife and two daughters in the west of England.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553806831
  • ASIN: B005Q8F6EQ
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,904,696 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Stephen Phillips on December 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In "Eight Lives Down" Chris Hunter does his part to shed light on the EOD operations in Iraq from his first hand experience as a Royal Logistic Corps Ammunition Technical Officer (ATO) serving in Basra. Hunter's counter-IED efforts were so successful that he was personally targeted by the Mahdi Army, a dubious honor previously reserved for ATOs operating in Northern Ireland.
It is enough that Hunter chronicles his team performing multiple hair-raising render safe procedures, but the impact on the reader is amplified by valuable insight tied together with strong writing. In "Eight Lives Down," military enthusiasts and historians will appreciate Hunter's reflective points about the challenges of counter-insurgency. Those new to the world of bomb disposal will find themselves suitably educated into its procedures and associated dangers. Any fan of non-fiction will empathize with the inclusions of Hunter's personal touch, describing the difficulty in maintaining family life from a war zone. Finally, those who served in Iraq will undoubtedly be transported back to their service there through these pages. I predict that in years hence, when queried about their service, EOD Technicians who served in Iraq will point to a copy of Eight Lives Down and say, "Read this first." Hooya, Major Hunter.

Also recommended: A Special Kind of Courage: 321 EOD Squadron Battling the Bombers,The Longest Walk: The World of Bomb Disposal, BOMB SQUAD: A YEAR INSIDE THE NATION'S MOST EXCLUSIVE POLICE UNIT, America's First Frogman: The Draper Kauffman Story
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Format: Hardcover
As an American Navy EOD operator, I've had the opportunity to rub shoulders with Chris's mates in the same theater of operations, and it doesn't get realer than EIGHT LIVES DOWN. From the numbing boredom and anxiety while waiting for "the call", to the controlled terror of "the long walk", Chris has done a spot on job of revealing the persona typical of the joes who go in first to save lives and property, without going so far as to reveal the techniques and secrets that allow most of us to come home with all of our fingers. This is the reason that, while you'll find scads of books about other special operations units (SEALS, SAS, Green beret's, etc.), you'll find very little written about these publicity shy operators. By far the best insight into military tactical bomb disposal I have ever encountered. Great job Chris...I trust you're enjoying Nine.
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Format: Hardcover
Mr. Hunter spent 17.5 years in the British army, 10 of which were in bomb disposal. Eight lives down focuses on 4 months of his tour in Iraq, with the first two as his last stint as an ATO (ammunition technical officer). He and his team were so successful in diffusing bombs that insurgents took a disliking to him with a price on his head. His next two months were spent as a weapons intelligence officer, a position he reluctantly accepted but grew to like.

Major Hunter was married with two kids when he deployed to Iraq, despite one more empty promise in a string of broken promises not to spend time away from his wife on dangerous missions. Iraq would become his longest mission away from home, during which he became borderline paranoid about his wife divorcing him. It's a wonder why a married man with two small kids would prefer the rush of adrenaline from diffusing bombs to spending time with his family. "I've never taken drugs," he said, "but I don't believe there's anything that will ever equal the exhilaration of that tour," referring to Iraq.

Chris Hunter wrote this book under an alias for security reasons. His intent was to share his experience of what it was like to be terrified, how his family coped with his time away and the ever present danger of losing him, and how soldiers like him react to the pressures of the day to day grind in battle.

In this action packed book, Mr. Hunter compiled the most exciting events of his tour in Iraq sure to satisfy the appetite of even casual military and combat enthusiasts.
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Format: Hardcover
Chris Hunter must have trouble finding affordable life insurance.

The job in question that he portrays in this book is that of a British Army specialist whose forte is disarming IED's - improvised explosive devices in Iraq. His tale - remarkably well written - is a gripping account of the job. You feel you are there, wearing 70 lbs. of body armor, sweating in triple-digit heat and loaded with another 80 lbs. of gear.

Tom Clancy couldn't write anything more absorbing. An undercurrent theme of "Eight Lives Down" is the huge emotional and marital toll that the job takes on Hunter and his unraveling relationship with his wife, Lucy. There are observations on the Yanks in Iraq, the nature of the Iraqi people, the job of winning hearts and minds and some touching vignettes of tenderness among ragamuffin street urchins.

"Eight Lives Down" is one of those books that you may find hard to put down!
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Format: Hardcover
This is a non-fiction account of the tour of duty of a British bomb disposal operator in Iraq in 2004. The title is a reference to the fact that the bomb disposal squad in Northern Ireland were called "Felix" (meaning that they have nine lives, like a cat). It's an amazing story, so packed with action and danger that it would seem unbelievable if it were fiction. The first half in particular is so tense, so fast-paced that you find yourself longing for the occasional brief interludes of downtime just so that you can catch a breath! The book was very reminiscent for me of the Jamie Foxx/Jennifer Garner movie "The Kingdom" - and it made me realize that the film was more realistic than I had previously thought.

Chris Hunter is a very likeable narrator who is also extremely brave and passionate about what he does. He doesn't just bring the action scenes alive, but also manages to convey what it is that soldiers love about what they do, even when it puts them in extreme danger. He also talks a lot about his family back in the UK and the strains that his army career put on his marriage. This fleshes his character out and makes it a far more interesting book than if it were just about the action on the ground.

I did feel that parts of this book got a little hard to follow due to the military jargon, but that probably more a reflection on the fact that this is an unusual choice of book for me rather than on the book itself. I was engrossed in Eight Lives Down and I highly recommend it.
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