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Barrel of a Gun (Hardback)

P&S History > Humanities > Biography & Memoirs World History > Africa

By Al J Venter
Imprint: Casemate Publishers
Pages: 505
ISBN: 9781935149255
Published: 15th September 2010

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Anybody who says that the pen is mightier than the sword hasn't spent time in Somalia, or in Beirut during its bloody heyday. So begins this fascinating memoir of a journalist, filmmaker, and just plain raconteur who has made a career of examining warfare-on the ground as the bullets are flying. While the average citizen is aware of violent conflicts broiling all around the globe, Al J. Venter has felt the need to see them all in person, preferably at the centre of the action. Born in South Africa, Venter has found no shortage of horrific battles on his own continent, from Rhodesia to Biafra, and Angola to Somalia. He has ridden with the legendary mercenary group Executive Outcomes, flown with the Selous Scouts on their bounty hunts,' and traipsed the jungles with both guerrillas and national troops under whoever in the country then held power. During Sierra Leone's civil war he flew in the government's lone Mi-24 Hind gunship as it blasted apart rebel villages and convoys. In the Middle-east he went into southern Lebanon with the invading Israeli army, and at one point was held prisoner by Hezbollah. In his journeys, Venter associated with an array of similarly daring soldiers and journalists, from Mad MikeA" Hoare to Danny Pearl, as well as elite soldiers from around the world, many of whom, he sadly relates, never emerged from the war zones they entered. Al Venter here offers the reader his own personal combat experiences, in all their multifaceted fascination.

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About Al J Venter

Al J. Venter is a specialist military writer and has had 50 books published. He started his career with Geneva’s Interavia Group, then owners of International Defence Review, to cover military developments in the Middle East and Africa. Venter has been writing on these and related issues such as guerrilla warfare, insurgency, the Middle East and conflict in general for half a century. He was involved with Jane’s Information Group for more than 30 years and was a stringer for the BBC, NBC News (New York) as well as London’s Daily Express and Sunday Express. He branched into television work in the early 1980s and produced more than 100 documentaries, many of which were internationally flighted. His one-hour film, Africa’s Killing Fields (on the Ugandan civil war), was shown nationwide in the United States on the PBS network. Other films include an hour-long programme on the fifth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as well as AIDS: The African Connection, nominated for China’s Pink Magnolia Award.

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