SNIPER ELITE by Rob Maylor


The World of a Top Special Forces Marksman
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Another macho memoir of a special-forces badass but with a charming, mildly exotic British overlay.

Following the convention of military memoirs, Maylor, with the assistance of Macklin (My Favourite Teacher, 2011, etc.) describes an aimless youth (bored at school, heavy drinking, etc.) before he found himself after joining the marines in 1992. These were Royal Marine commandos, so readers will encounter the traditional sadistic training regimen designed to select those able to endure extreme pain, exhaustion and humiliation. Peacetime warriors kill few bad guys, but Maylor toured the world, enduring surprisingly grueling exercises from the arctic to the jungle, plus unpleasant tours in Northern Ireland before joining the snipers in 1995; military buffs will enjoy his description of their highly technical instruction. After years with no action in sight, he quit the service, married, returned to his native New Zealand, found earning a living difficult and joined the Australian army, where he repeated sniper training. The book is well past the midpoint when his unit arrives in Afghanistan, but it is worth the wait as the author paints a vivid picture of the experience during which his unit patrolled, fought and sniped with varying degrees of success until it was ambushed in one of the biggest battles involving Australian troops. Sticking to his role as a soldier, Maylor shows mild sympathy for Afghan civilians, no hatred of the Taliban, love for his comrades, satisfaction with his performance and no claim that he was fighting for a noble goal.

A satisfying stream of travel, training, horseplay and nuts-and-bolts military minutiae along with the usual fireworks.

Pub Date: Dec. 6th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-64541-0
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2011


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