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The Phantom Major: The Story of David Stirling and the SAS Regiment
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The Phantom Major: The Story of David Stirling and the SAS Regiment

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  142 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In the dark and uncertain days of 1941 and 1942, when Rommel s Afrika Korps was sweeping towards Egypt and the Suez Canal, a small group of daring raiders made history for the Allies. They operated deep behind the German lines, driving hundreds of miles through the deserts of North Africa. They hid by day and struck by night, destroying aircraft, blowing up ammunition dump ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 15th 2011 by Pen & Sword Military (first published 1958)
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3.75 stars, rounded up for the narration. Robert Whitfield, aka Simon Vance, is simply an amazing reader, neatly portraying Scottish, French, German, and British accents. Augmenting this book, I also watched YouTube videos on David Stirling, SAS.

The topic itself is outside my field of expertise, and I occasionally felt my interest waning, but it's also historically intriguing, humorous, heartwarming, and suspenseful.

Told in 3rd person, this account covers from 1941-1944, from the origins of t
Jane Stewart
4 stars. Great subject, but the book could have used something more. I’d like a different author to do it.

The greatest thing about this book is the character David Stirling and the unbelievable things he and his guys did. David conceived the idea of the SAS and got permission to train a group of men to go behind enemy lines, onto enemy property, and blow up planes, trucks, and supplies. This book is about the SAS in northern Africa in 1941-1942. I believe it was written from interviews and corr
Nov 15, 2016 Ronald rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
probably read in fall 1968
David Lucero
Jul 10, 2016 David Lucero rated it it was amazing
Virginia Cowles did a superior job describing how L Detachment was the brainchild of David Stirling, eventually developing into the S.A.S. (Special Air Service). This book is highly entertaining for those who enjoy historical novels about World War Two, and it's equally entertaining for fiction-lovers.

Stirling faced many obstacles within the British Army when he brought his idea of this clandestine outfit to the General's office. Fortunately he was determined and when someone finally listened,
Aug 23, 2016 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book when I in my last years of school, I loved it. I have just listened to it this time on audiobook and it's as good as I remember some 30 years ago when I first read it. It made such and impact that I still remembered many of the raids in detail.

It's a real boys own attitude to warfare, coupled with Science, Determination, and commen sense. It appetimises the change in character from the long in the tooth ideas of warfare served up by some in the army at this time to the ne
Curtis J. Correll
This book starts out with a humorous account of a Scot sneaking into a general's office to finally get past the red tape and get an audience for his brilliant idea to sabotage Rommel's war in North Africa. There are other fun stories, such as the one where the unit (short on supplies) boldly enters the New Zealand camp in broad daylight and packs up their supplies including a grand piano. They justify this in their minds by saying the New Zealand Government takes better care of their soldiers an ...more
Aug 01, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
My Father had this book and I read and re-read it. In the 1970s we only had two television stations to view and AM radio so he was a member of the Readers Book Club and received a new book on a monthly basis. His copy was named "Who Dares Wins" and this book told of how David Stirling formed a new type of "behind the enemy lines" military unit in the western desert campaign against the German General Rommel. As I remember this book it was a good read and why I have purchased a new copy of this b ...more
Ashley Webb
Feb 22, 2013 Ashley Webb rated it it was amazing
This was a right riveting read.I thoroughly enjoyed it. Really amazing exploits carried out by the men who started the SAS and those of the Long Range Desert Group. I do like the way the books of the fifties and sixties were laid out. The maps are really clear and simple, and placed in the right place within the text for easy reference, unlike the maps in Tip and Run, which is a modern book. The writing was at times a bit "Jolly Hockey Sticks" but otherwise an excellent book.
Aug 10, 2010 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun, old-style book about the founding of Britain's SAS. I like it since most of it takes place in Egypt, and it was recommended to me by a prof since it's all about the "indirect approach." A little differently, granted, than we learned about in IPCR, but indirect (and effective) nonetheless.
Rupert Matthews
Nov 11, 2013 Rupert Matthews rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A cracking read about the origins of the SAS in the desert war of World War II. Meticulously researched with the help of veterans and full of detail about the thrilling exploits of the early SAS.
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Mar 06, 2015 Thaddeus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful audio book. Fantastic Scottish brogue!
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(Harriet) Virginia Spencer Cowles OBE was a noted American journalist, biographer, and travel writer. During her long career, Cowles went from covering fashion, to covering the Spanish Civil War, the turbulent period in Europe leading up to World War II, and the entire war. Her service as a correspondent was recognized by the British government with an Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1947. Af ...more
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