Condor Blues is an action-packed, dramatic and true account of contemporary soldiering. It also shatters the conspiracy of silence over the direction of British operations in post-war Iraq. Gallantry medals may have been awarded on a scale unprecendented for half a century but in winning the battles, the British Army lost the peace.
Author Mark Nicol focuses on the lives of two platoons based at the isolated Camp Condor in Iraq's Maysan Province. The soldiers' task was to live with and train Iraqi Civil Defence Corps recruits. Their lives jack-knifed from moments of force to farce, they engaged in disturbing yet amusing pranks on a daily basis.
They were also plunged into the biggest and bloodiest battles involving British forces in Iraq. After one firefight they carried the broken bodies of those they had slain from the battlefield - the emotional impact was devastating.
Based on hundreds of hours of interviews, Condor Blues is an honest and visceral account of soldiering in a brutal environment dubbed 'Hell with flies'. The flawed thinking, the missed opportunities and the 'heavy metal' tactics that proved so counterproductive are all laid bare making this essential reading for anyone seeking an impartial account of the most violent and controversial period of modern British military history.
Mark Nicol was educated at Belmont Abbey in the SAS’ home town of Hereford. His father, a Lieutenant Colonel, served in the SAS between 1970 and 1988 and was awarded the MBE. Mark, 31, worked on regional newspapers after graduating from Reading University with a degree in Politics and International Relations. He was then a reporter for the Evening Standard, Sunday Mirror and the News of the World before writing Ultimate Risk, SAS Contact Al Qaeda the story of the biggest and most destructive battle of the SAS’ history. Ultimate Risk, set in Afghanistan in November 2001, was seri...
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"Now, journalist Mark Nicol has taken on the brave challenge of producing an unbiased, fair account of the events leading to, and the fallout from the tragic day. Nicol has used all the tricks of his trade to get the reader into Iraq and at the heart of the action. The story moves at a furious pace and is littered with intricate detail – some of which is not for the faint-hearted."
TANK (Journal of the Royal Tank Regiment)
"In describing the firefight, the author has used a lot of first-hand dialogue, which can give a sense of the tension and confusion that reigns in battle. Mark Nicol has combined a measured and analytical assessment with a fast-paced description of events to produce a thoroughly readable and thought-provoking account of this tragic episode."
The Royal United Services Institute
"The real strength of Last Round is that it lays out the facts of the day through meticulous research and even-handedness whilst at the same time, when it gets down to it, makes for a very exciting and compelling read."