Condor Blues is an action-packed account of contemporary soldiering that shatters the conspiracy of silence over the direction of British operations in post-war Iraq. Gallantry medals may have been awarded on a scale unprecedented 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, and 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.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 is the author of the acclaimed Ultimate Risk and Last Round, and writes for the Mail on Sunday. He is also the defence analyst for Sky, GMTV and Radio Five Live.