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This is a story about 32 Battalion and its people. In this book the casualties of war aren't just numbers, the author puts a name to the wounded and the dead and we get to know many of them personally (if only briefly in some cases), while living through their vividly retold stories.

Dr Bothma chronologically interweaves his own path to becoming a 32 Battalion platoon leader with the history and activities of the Battalion, providing both a comprehensive third-person retelling as well as an engaging personal account. The difficult early years of the unit perhaps makes for the most fascinating (and also tragic) reading. On top of the challenges of honing ill-disciplined troops from various factions into a cohesive fighting unit, there were many other problems: plagued by language barriers, poorly equipped, inexperienced and without air support once they crossed the border (not even casevacs were allowed) these men had a hard time against the more experienced and better equipped SWAPO insurgents, resulting in many avoidable casualties, often from friendly fire incidents or accidents.

It's a fascinating look into this "secret" unit, and the author manages it without any disrespect to either friend or foe on the battlefield. He reserves his anger and contempt for the politics and politicians behind the war, who forced these men to shed blood for them and then sold them out and threw them away

Third Revised Edition: Published October 2016, paperback 516 pages.

Outeurs Nota:

Die 3de uitgawe het meer teks as die oorspronklike 1ste uitgawe: 516 bladsye teenoor 383; twee fotoseksies teenoor een. 15 hoofstukke teenoor 10.

Nuwe inligting - veral van die SWAPO-kant (PLAN) en ook die plaaslike bevolking is sedert 2006 ontsluit. Die teks is nou baie meer gebalansseerd om al drie partye in die konflik te ondervang: SAW, PLAN en plaaslike bevolking. Derhalwe is die kaarte heeltemal oorgedoen en daar is ook kaarte bygevoeg. Die twee fotoseksies is aangepas om die nuwe aksente in die teks te reflekteer. Vir die wat wil kyk op Google Earth is daar 'n klompie GPS koördinate. Daarbenewens is foute in die teks reggestel (taal, spelfoute, name wat verkeerd geskryf was en feite). Hier erken ek almal se bydraes om alles so korrek as moontlik te kry.

 

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