My Friend the Mercenary: A Memoir

James Brabazon, Grove, $25.95 (496p) ISBN 978-0-8021-1975-9
The fog of war, informational and moral, permeates this adrenalized memoir of Africa's dirty wars and the men who fight them. British documentarian Brabazon entered Liberia in 2002 to film rebel forces in that country's civil war, taking along bodyguard Nick du Toit, a mercenary and former soldier in South Africa's apartheid-era army. Worlds apart politically, the two men bond amid the savage conflict—in one excruciating scene, Brabazon films rebels cannibalizing a prisoner—as the author comes to depend on and admire his tough, courageous companion. Nick joins a byzantine conspiracy to overthrow the government of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea and invites Brabazon to film the prospective coup, a proposal that crosses the boundaries of journalistic ethics, though it strongly appeals to Brabazon's lust for adventure and cash. His postmortem on the plot's disastrous outcome, with its cast of shadowy financiers, rival intelligence agencies, and soldiers of fortune, reads like a political thriller. Brabazon's searing narrative captures both the allure of war—the rush of danger, the deep camaraderie, the get-rich-quick mirages—and its brutal realities. It's both a seductive paean to and a harsh exposé of the mercenary ethos that fattens off of Africa's travails. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/08/2010
Release date: 03/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 457 pages - 978-1-84767-441-8
Open Ebook - 575 pages - 978-1-921799-01-3
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-84767-910-9
Paperback - 480 pages - 978-1-55468-549-3
Ebook - 480 pages - 978-1-4434-0542-3
Paperback - 457 pages - 978-0-8021-4573-4
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