Books.

Books about the war we were part of
and testimonies from the
forgotten heroes.

An Unpopular War

by J.H. Thompson

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In the seventies, eighties and nineties, conscription had a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of young men, particularly those who had to serve in the Angolan war. This book is a collection of reflections and memories of that time, collected by JH Thompson, who interviewed men who did National Service in the Apartheid-era South African Defence Force. Contributors include ordinary soldiers, Special Forces members, helicopter pilots, chefs and religious objectors. The book is a fast, fascinating read that captures the spirit and atmosphere, the daily duties, the boredom, fear and other intense experiences of an SADF soldier. For everyone who did military service, as well as their loved ones, this book is a must.

And they told us we might just Die

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by Ivor Whibley

At last, a book by the troops and not by the Generals. And they told us we might just Die, is a narrative of 19 young men conscripted into the South African Defence Force between 1970 and 1990.

This book follows them through specific time slices of their service, in a manner and with a dialog as the servicemen actually experienced them. You will meet them in those frantic first 24 hours, enduring tortuous inspections, suffering under sadistic instructors and you will experience with them the thrill of arriving in the operational area and their emotions of combat and death and the longing to come home.

The brief moments of history captured on this text are the history of not just these 19 soldiers, but the tens of thousands who served in this army during this time.

Ivor Whibley was one of these soldiers, and as an accomplished author in another field, has melded together a cast of characters in a narrative that you will find hard to stop reading.