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It is January, 1978. Groups of nervous, dutiful white conscripts begin their National Service with Rhodesia's security forces. Ian Smith's minority regime is in its dying days and negotiations towards majority rule are already under way. For these inexperienced eighteen-year-olds, there is nothing to do but go on fighting, and hold the line while the transition happens around them. Dead Leaves is a richly textured memoir in which an ordinary troopie grapples with the unique dilemmas presented by an extraordinary period in history - the specters of inner violence and death; the pressurized arrival of manhood; and the place of conscience, friendship and beauty in the pervasive atmosphere of futile warfare.

Softcover, 196 pages. Published 2002.

Customer Reviews

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S.
Strong story from a territorial soldier

Very good and very well written. Much better detail than Fireforce but not so romantic as Cocks novel deals with the RLI and paints a real macho story while Dead Leaves is the story of a territorial soldier caught in the mundane training and postings of a civil war. Vividly detailed, it is a must read for anyone interested in the Bush War.
***Amazon Review - August 12, 2007***

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A.C.
Worth Your Time

I really enjoyed this book. It's written from the common soldier's point of view. That's significant for two reasons. He didn't serve in an elite unit like the SAS, Selous Scouts, or the RLI (Rhodesian Light Infantry) so what you've got here is a good story from a draftee (national serviceman), an "average joe". With that comes the sort of disgruntled outlook that you might expect from a somewhat disinterested conscript. It's a definite departure from books written by Charlie Warren, Chris Cocks, and Dennis Croukamp. I'm sure that sounds more harsh and unfair than I intended. This is not a story about a hard driving light fighter, but about an introverted kid thrown into the arena of combat with everyone else. The book is beautifully written, but at times, the smugness can get on your nerves. [In fairness to the author, he recognizes this "smugness" and charges it to youth.] His guilt about killing was a little taxing at times. It was war. You kill people because people are trying to kill you. That's all there is. Still, that's not enough to detract from the book and I heartily recommend it. Very good! Oh, I forgot the technical stuff. There is a map, bonus. There is a glossary of terms, good. There's no index but it really doesn't need one. Great book dude!
***Amazon Review - February 25, 2010***