SAS History / Book List

Discussion in 'Special Forces' started by COMMANDO, Jan 14, 2009.


    COMMANDO Senior Member

    What are the best books to buy about the formation, training and first actions of the SAS in N-Africa to buy ?
  2. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    I had recently read SAS Zero Hour... and was rather disapointed about it. Cannot say if what is written is fact or not, although I had the impression that there were lots of assumptions - however; when it came to the Incident at Jebel Sherif (had actually bothing to do with the SAS), the story was not given very accurate...
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2020
  3. the_historian

    the_historian Pillboxologist

    The classic work is The Phantom Major- can't remember the author though, sorry.
    There is also Red Beret by Hilary St. George Saunders. It's more Paras inclined, but does cover the early SAS.
    For later in the war, there's Winged Dagger and These Men are Dangerous. Roy Farrar wrote one, but I can't remember which.
    This might interest you; it's a bronze statue of David Stirling in 'Phantom Major' pose, erected on the edges of his family's former estate near Dunblane.
    41LR+4yVhvL.SX316.SY316.jpg 41FhRpjKs1L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
    Unknown.jpeg Unknown.jpeg
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2020
  4. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Virginia Cowles
  5. the_historian

    the_historian Pillboxologist

    Cheers Kuno.
  6. Bodston

    Bodston Little Willy

    I would second 'The Phantom Major' by Virginia Cowles and add in to the mix 'Born of the Desert' by Malcolm James. Malcolm James Pleydell joined L detachment SAS Brigade in 1942 as medical officer. He gives a very exciting and readable account of the early days of the unit 1942-3.

    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2020
  7. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    There is another one, a bio about Blair Mayne. Forgot the name of the book but it's very good reading - not only the early days of the SAS.
  8. spidge


    "Paddy Maine" by Hamish Ross?
    Only two used available!

    One at 32 quid and the other at 175 quid.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2020
  9. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Ooooooooooooooooooooooooops. Padddddddy. How could I....
  10. Tomcat

    Tomcat Junior Member

    I cant remember the author but I have seen this book in book stores here in Australia called, "SAS, Australians At War", I also have a book called, "Combat Techniques- The SAS & Elite Forces Guide" By Chris McNAB.

    If that helps:)
  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    "Winged Dagger" was written by Major Roy Farran DSO and Three Mc's - unfortunately he joined the second battalion in Algiers after recovering from wounds - so it does not relate too strongly of the beginnings of the SAS by Stirling and Mayne

  12. Stevin

    Stevin Member

    I have "One Of The Originals" by Johnny Cooper. He was one of the first 50. What I remember good reading, but it spans his whole career. I think only the first few dozen pages deal with the early days, if that.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2020
  13. G. O'Dowd

    G. O'Dowd Junior Member

    I suggest Stirling's Men by Gavin Mortimer, The Originals, the secret history of the birth of the SAS in their own words by Gordon Stephens orThe Regiment by Michael Asher in that order.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2020
  14. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Phantom Major.........I second the seconder.

    Good read
  15. G. O'Dowd

    G. O'Dowd Junior Member

    I recomend Stirling's Men by Gavin Mortimer, The Originals, the secret history of the birth of the SAS by Gordon Stephens and The Regiment By M.Asher, in that order.
  16. CWV

    CWV Junior Member

    I just came on to the board (still setting up my profile) but one of the best books I have ever read (this is a bit off topic, my apologies) was D. I. Harrison's THESE MEN ARE DANGEROUS. Graphic detail, similar to other books just mentioned.

  17. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    The SAS triggers me ever since I've posted a thread on 'Op Amherst' on WW2Talk. I therefore ordered this book in the hope to learn somewhat more about the operations of this special unit:

    I hope I made the right choice of book. But it looks to me to be a good 'primer'.

    Another one will arrive next August:
    SAS 2.jpg
    There seem to be two volumes of this book (?).
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2020
    JimHerriot likes this.
  18. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Good on you Stolpi!

    Just a word of warning, once you've started you will not be able to stop!!

    Just a few recommendations for further reading for you here, Nederlander stuff first (of course!), followed by some France related and general coverage publications, and apologies should you already have them in your book collection.

    Arie Noot.jpg

    Operatie Keystone front.jpg

    Operatie Keystone back.jpg

    Dutch Courage.jpg

    Fire from the Forest.jpg

    SAS With The Maquis.jpg

    The SAS at War.jpg

    These Men Are Dangerous.jpg

    The Secret Hunters.jpg
    stolpi likes this.
  19. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the warning Jim.

    Do you know if there are two volumes of Mortimers' "SAS in Occupied France". I only found the one (second volume?) in my post and searched for the first volume in vain.
  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    No it's not.
    Moved 3 posts from thread about a TV programme to one dealing with SAS books.
    JimHerriot and stolpi like this.

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