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The Fading Light: Memories of a Professional Soldier's Five Decades of War and Conflict in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

An Australian former Special Forces soldier describes his experiences and recollections of war and civil disturbance across continents and areas of conflict, interspersed with insights into the nature and character of his various employers, and insightful analysis of the factors contributing to the various conflicts in which he was a participant.

John Gartner saw action in the Australian Special Air Service, Rhodesian Special Air Service, Rhodesian Selous Scouts, South African Special Forces, Sri Lanka Special Forces, then onto as an Adviser to the Saudi Minister of Oil Protection, Director of Security for the Brunei Royal Family before starting his own security business in 1998, working mainly in Africa, Asia, Middle East & Libya.

385 pages, first published in June 2020.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Interesting life

This is a very good book on a subject that most people do but fully understand.

I enjoyed the book and look forward to any sequel.

Jim Truscott
What a read!

I have never met John Gartner, but I feel as if I now know almost every day of his life. The book is a detailed and enthralling capture of his multiple and nearcontinuous, gutsy-combat, high-risk training and jet-setting business experiences. He must have maintained a meticulous diary in order to have been able to so accurately recount his many life stories over such a long period of time. They stem from his initial peace time exposure in the Australian SAS, then war service in the Rhodesian SAS and Selous Scouts, through to being an Operator in the South African Special Forces, an Operative for the South African Government, followed by employment in private military companies in war zones and finally in the security business in all manner of dodgy countries.

Many of his former enemies, opposing forces and competitors are mentioned, and to some extent the book is an unburdening of his soul. The support shown by his wife and children during his long and sometimes high-risk absences is an enduring feature of his story. Occasionally they were with him. What I particularly liked was that he does not gloss over the stuff-ups. He candidly describes several situations that went wrong or which had gone off the rails and how he dealt with them. Some of his former enemies, opposing forces and competitors may be uncomfortable with what he has written, as it is an expose of the reality and morality of close quarter combat, shadowy government service and the bastardry of business.

Almost all individuals that he works closely with, or encounters, are described with their real names and they will almost be certainly be reading the book as it has just been published! He had several brushes with death and his ability to work alone and in small teams for protracted periods in often very tense situations is another distinctive feature of his story. Accordingly, it is a highly motivating read, especially for anyone once considering a similar career in conflict zones in special operations, in and out of uniform, or as a contractor. For the rest of us mere mortals, it provides gripping armchair adventure.


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