4 out of 4 stars
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Sod this for a Game of Soldiers: My Life in Conflict by Stephen Newman will take you on an incredible journey through various careers and around the world. This memoir is a true adventure book, so gear up for some action!
Stephen Newman was born in the UK and came from a long line of military ancestors, full of medals and trauma. The conflict was a constant in his life, starting with his early childhood spent in the volatile situation of Aden. The army seemed like the best career choice, so the author became a soldier for Northern Ireland. He discovered he liked to chase the bad guys, so he did it on the streets, as a policeman, and also from an office, investigating financial crimes. The MI5 tried to convince him to join them, but he declined. His career path continued and led him to new challenges. Are you curious to discover what he learned in the process?
The writing style was very engaging, and the poems and quotes from the beginning of the chapters were a nice touch. Nevertheless, the Military Slang index from the end of the book provided valuable information. I also appreciated the pictures from the personal archive that complemented the captivating stories. Despite the mentioned conflicts, it was not a grim novel because there were also some funny stories. For instance, the writer explained how the family tried to live a very British life (including during Christmas) in the scorching temperatures of Yemen.
The book was educational about Middle East history, Germany after WW2, and several exotic places like Taiwan. I discovered many interesting facts from history, such as the Falklands War that happened in 1982. The author also shared some important life lessons. For instance, military training taught him how to get an overall and objective image of any situation. The author went through some challenging circumstances, but he was not asking for pity; he just narrated the story. I loved how Stephen Newman presented his family in a very objective way. I admired his strong mother, the glue that kept the family together.
I had only a minor dislike; the author mentioned his partner and children in passing, but I would have liked to learn more about his personal life. However, that was not enough to drop a star. Therefore, Sod this for a Game of Soldiers: My Life in Conflict deserves a rating of four out of four.
I recommend the book to people who want to find out about life in the army or police. If you are interested in financial investigations and corruption, you should give the book a try. Readers that enjoy history lessons will surely appreciate this memoir. Please keep in mind the novel includes scenes of violence, abuse, rape, or bullying. Nevertheless, these disturbing scenes are mentioned in passing, without graphic details. However, I feel like a book is best suited for a mature audience.
Sod this for a Game of Soldiers: My Life in Conflict
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