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Quiet Soldier: On Selection With 21 SAS


At twenty-six, Adam Ballinger had a good degree, a fiancée, and a well-paid job. So what made him risk it all for the gruelling, year-long SAS Selection course, with a better than ninety per cent chance of failing to win the toughest badge in the British Army at the end of it?


Over the months of combat patrols, press-ups, punishing runs and Gas! Gas! Gas!, the ordeals of Long Drag and hostile interrogation, Ballinger learnt that who you think you are and what the Army wants you to be are very different things, and the end product of Selection bears little relation to either.


This vivid, often funny account of the varied characters who commit so much to training for the 'misfits regiment' is remarkable both for its unromantic authenticity, and for its objective attempt to find out why. A question, Ballinger discovered, that few, if any, in the SAS could answer.

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