SAS: The Illustrated History of the SAS

by Joshua Levine

On Sale: 05/11/2023

SAS: The Illustrated History of the SAS

by Joshua Levine

On Sale: 05/11/2023


About the Book

The authorised illustrated history of the SAS by the number one bestselling author of Dunkirk, Joshua Levine. With never-before-seen photographs and unheard stories, this is the SAS’s wartime history in vivid and astonishing detail.

The SAS began as a lie, a story of a British parachute unit in the North African desert, to convince the Axis they were under imminent threat. The lie was so effective that soon a small band of men were brought together to make it real. These recruits were the toughest and brightest of their cohort, the most resilient, most dynamic and most self-sufficient. Their first commanders, David Stirling and Paddy Mayne, would go down in history as unorthodox visionaries. Yet this book tells much more than the usual origin story of the unit and seeks out less well-known leaders like Bill Fraser, who was essential in helping the SAS achieve fame for their devastating raids. By looking beyond the myth, this book brings back to life a group of men who showed immense bravery and endured unimaginable risks behind enemy lines.

Written with the full cooperation of the SAS and with exclusive access to SAS archives, Levine draws on individual stories and personal testimony, including interviews with veterans and family members. On every page, the book gives a visceral sense of what it was like to fight and train in the SAS in both North Africa and Europe during the Second World War, focusing on their failures as well as their successes.

This book is vivid with the characters of the men, their eclectic personalities, their strengths, weaknesses and many disagreements. Levine has uncovered a remarkable portrait of this enigmatic unit with photographs and stories long thought lost to history

Critical Praise


'Incredible photos from a never-before-seen archive show the SAS in all its remarkable dash and splendour; With incisive commentary, this is a fine wartime history and a must for any special forces library’ <b><i>Damien Lewis</i></b>


“A first-class portrait of that traumatic and tragic time, conveyed largely through the worlds of those who experienced it. Spiced with sexual and criminal statistics, Levine reveals a Britain of loose morals, opportunistic pilfering and cheating, and hedonistic pleasure, alongside the more familiar virtues of courage and community.”
<i><b>Sunday Telegraph</b></i>

‘Interviews with soldiers and civilians, including a German pilot, reflect a world previously masked and glorified by official propaganda’

‘Anyone who wants to learn about human courage and human endurance should read this account. It is more powerful than any drama, more convincing than any fiction’
<b>Peter Ackroyd</b>

‘A vivid, moving story of the men who fought the Great War in the Air. Quite superb.’
<b>Max Arthur</b>

‘Those magnificent men in their flying machines recount in their own words just how mad and magnificent it was to be an air-ace in World War One. Joshua Levine's compilation is enthralling and breathtaking’.
<b>Chris Powling, Classic FM Guestlist</b>

‘This is a superior example of the genre from a writer at the top of his game.’
<b>Air Marshal Stuart Peach</b>


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780008549978
  • ISBN 10: 0008549974
  • Imprint: William Collins
  • On Sale: 05/11/2023
  • Pages: 320
  • List Price:24.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : HISTORY / Military / World War II
  • BISAC2 : HISTORY / Military / Special Forces
  • BISAC4 : PHOTOGRAPHY / Photojournalism
  • BISAC5 : HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain

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