Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Eight Lives Down: The Story of a Counterterrorist Bomb-Disposal Operator's Tour in Iraq” as Want to Read:
Eight Lives Down: The Story of a Counterterrorist Bomb-Disposal Operator's Tour in Iraq
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Eight Lives Down: The Story of a Counterterrorist Bomb-Disposal Operator's Tour in Iraq

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  481 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Visceral and compelling, Eight Lives Down is the most exciting and nerve-jangling work of military non-fiction since Bravo Two Zero.

If fate is against me and I’m killed, so be it, but make it quick and painless. If I’m wounded, don’t let me be crippled. But above all, don’t let me fuck up the task.

So goes the bomb technician’s prayer before every bomb he defuses. For Chris
...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Delacorte Press (first published January 1st 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Eight Lives Down, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Eight Lives Down

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mike
Dec 03, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
”Jock, I’ve just been fucking shot.”

“You should know bloody better, shouldn’t you, you wanker,” Will says.

“Don’t tell me—if I’m looking for sympathy, I’ll find it in the dictionary between shit and syphilis.”

He grins. “At least the brain still works…”


If this type of repartee, along with big gunfights, tense bomb defusing scenes, ambushes, and explosions are your kind of thing, then you will like Eight Lives Down: The Story of a Counterterrorist Bomb-Disposal Operator's Tour in Iraq, a 4-Star rid
...more
Terri
I am torn between 2 stars and 3 for this book. My personal opinion of the book is that it is a 2 star book, and yet I hate giving only 2 stars to a Veteran's memoir. For a while I thought that surely he deserves an extra star for writing about his war experience? But I decided that it is a book and I am a reader and I am reviewing the book and the author, not the person.
I have to be honest about the book and the writer. I have to put aside my respect for Chris Hunter as a returned serviceman an
...more
Jay
Jul 24, 2012 Jay rated it really liked it
A gripping, terrifying, frustrating, and occasionally funny account of the author's stint in southern Iraq as the chief bomb disposal expert. Hunter's job was to identify and neutralize enemy IEDs, which became increasingly sophisticated and dangerous during his tour of duty; yet he was so successful not only at removing the devices, but also in helping to identify their makers, that his Islamist adversaries put a bounty on his head and planted some devices in order to try to kill him personally ...more
Jonathan
Feb 19, 2012 Jonathan rated it it was amazing
An honest memoir by a British Bomb Disposal squad leader. Its not all pretty, nor is it all horrible. Chris does a great job of conveying the give and take of the job, the moments of sheer excitement, absurdity, danger, boredom, and touching moments. The author and his team were called out to 48 disposals in 2 months time before he got promoted and put to a desk job to try and take the bomber cells out.

Whats also interesting is the natural drama of life he chose to include throughout the book,
...more
Stephen Phillips
In the current global war, improvised explosive devices have emerged as the terrorists’ weapon of choice. Like the acronyms “scuba” and “radar,” “IED” is now recognized with an entry in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. “EOD,” or explosive ordnance disposal, is not as well known. Through his memoir, Eight Lives Down, Chris Hunter does his part to shed light on this harrowing field of expertise.

In 2004, Hunter served as an EOD Technician (the British term is “Ammunition Technical Officer”) spearhea
...more
Ned Frederick
Mar 12, 2014 Ned Frederick rated it it was amazing
One of the best memoirs of combat I've read in many years. Some non-British readers may be put off by the many Brit metaphors and cultural references that pepper the book, not to mention frequent UK English phrasing, but it just made it more interesting and authentic for me. The actions scenes are written with astonishing lucidity and the first-person perspective is unsettling. Author Chris Hunter (a pseudonym) was a Royal Logistic Corps Ammunition Technical Officer (ATO) serving in Basra. His c ...more
Courtney
Feb 06, 2015 Courtney rated it it was amazing
Reading this intensified my respect for soldiers tenfold. Even though it was heavy on the military jargon, me knowing absolutely nothing about the military dictionary did nothing to sever my connection with this suspenseful tale of courage, love and comradeship. Neither did the colorful banter between the men. One could call it vulgar, but for me their chats were clouds of relief and release. Chris Hunter and his close-knit family were beautifully, wonderfully tight, and I wanted to hug them all ...more
Shira Karp
Jun 23, 2009 Shira Karp rated it really liked it
This book was very interesting. A unique insight into what's going on in Iraq. To be honest, when I picked up this book, I was under the impression it was a memoir of a U.S. soldier on the bomb disoposal unit in Iraq, so I was a bit surprised at first when the language was so... British. Obviously it's the memoir of a soldier in the British army, which made it even more interesting, to see more clearly THEIR involvement in this conflict.

At times this book got a bit too technical for me- warning
...more
Gwen Burrow
Sep 24, 2013 Gwen Burrow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Discovered this book while searching for realistic descriptions of bomb explosions, and I wasn't satisfied with "earsplitting roar" and "big mushroom cloud" and "the earth shook." Anyone can say that. I wanted better words from someone who actually knew what they were talking about. Major Chris Hunter does. He isn't just a crazy talented bomb tech (okay, technically, EOD operator), he's also an impressive writer with strikingly vivid prose that puts you right there with him--beside the bomb, in ...more
Mike
Apr 17, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is probably the most action-packed book I've ever read. It doesn't really read as a story, just 515 pages of the day-to-day life of a bomb disposal technician in Iraq. I couldn't put it down though, read it in two days, which is astonishingly fast for me. Lots of explosions, shouting, swearing and descriptions of bits being blown off people. A proper boy book :)
Dave
Oct 29, 2008 Dave rated it it was amazing
This guy and his team did the toughest job in the world. Bomb disposaland neutralization of IEDs for the British Army. He was so effective, Al Queda put a $50,000 reward on his head.
Steve Parkes
Jan 02, 2017 Steve Parkes rated it really liked it
Written from a purely British viewpoint this book is a tense, gripping memoir from a British army Ammunition Technical Officer (ATO) working to dismantle improvised explosive devices (IED's) in war torn Basra.
The text is peppered with army acronyms and army speak which some might find off putting.
Chris Hunter was recognised and deliberately targeted by the bomb makers, his convoy of vehicles was ambushed and he tells of friends and colleagues maimed and killed during his tour.
For the military h
...more
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Apr 04, 2015 Jacki (Julia Flyte) rated it really liked it
This is a non-fiction account of the tour of duty of a British bomb disposal operator in Iraq in 2004. The title is a reference to the fact that the bomb disposal squad in Northern Ireland were called "Felix" (meaning that they have nine lives, like a cat). It's an amazing story, so packed with action and danger that it would seem unbelievable if it were fiction. The first half in particular is so tense, so fast-paced that you find yourself longing for the occasional brief interludes of downtime ...more
Marley
you'd think it'd be interesting but it really wasn't. The tedium and pointlessness of war came across though: bad people set up bombs, good people dismantle them. Or the bombs explode and people get killed. There are really only the 2 outcomes. It's like a game and the point is for insurgents to give the bomb-dismantlers something dangerous and technical and scary to do. They even watch from the sidelines as people go in to dispose of explosives. But! sometimes bombs are extra tricky with second ...more
Mark Monsma
Mar 05, 2013 Mark Monsma rated it really liked it
Shelves: military-war
This is one heck of a good book! As the summary describes, it is a thriller tabt compels you to keep reading. Your heart is pounding as you imagine yourself in place of bomb technician defusing an IED in Iraq. What makes this book special, in my opinion, is that it is not written from the perspective of the US military (which 90% of the recent military conflicts are). It is written by a British technician. This is a definite read for law enforcement personnel and military history gurus. Two thum ...more
Rob
Aug 20, 2009 Rob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those that like military fiction
From the angle of this being a story it failed, not much depth and fairly repetative. However the fact that the majority, if not all of it is true - based on the experiences of the author - this really entertained and informed me more than the usual military fiction, with a facinating insight into the world of bomb disposal.
DC
Aug 15, 2015 DC rated it it was amazing
This, to me, is the ultimate EOD book. It's written by an English bomb tech, who was so good at his job that the tangos eventually put a bounty on him. His stories force youth taste the sand, and smell the exploded ordinance in the air.

Another one that I've got to re-read an highlight. Lots of great leadership insights from this account.
Terri
Nov 11, 2009 Terri rated it it was amazing
I loved this book my son served in Iraq in the Army, so I would read for a while then put it down and go back to it. It is a great read for anyone who would like to get a true feeling for what our troops do for us everyday they serve over there! I could see my son in the twelve step program for leaving the Army. I think my son talked about each step in some form while he was in the Army.
Tasha
May 26, 2011 Tasha rated it liked it
Shelves: modern-military
An interesting read. This guy is a daredevil who knows his s%#*t about defusing some scary stuff, not afraid to confront some dangerous things.. I enjoyed the story, felt my heart racing in places, laughed at his sense of humor and loved the slang used throughout. The writing just didn't grip me like a 4 star read would but it was an interesting read nonetheless. 3.5 stars.
Elizabeth☮
Jun 21, 2008 Elizabeth☮ rated it it was ok
Chris Hunter is an expert at dismantling bombs for the British Army. He has served tours in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq. This memoir focuses on the most recent war in Iraq. His writing leans towards the technical side, but thankfully there is a glossary available. I think this wasn't emotional and therefore lacked a certain dimension for me.
Carissa
May 06, 2012 Carissa rated it really liked it


Great book! It was a slower read than I'm used to, but definitely worth the effort. It provided powerful insight into what our troops(and the troops of all nations present in Iraq) are facing.
Tin Wee
Dec 05, 2011 Tin Wee rated it liked it
Good paced memoir of an operator in charge of bomb disposal in Basra, Iraq. It brings to fore the emotion and uncertainty in attending to every job, interspersed with (short) episodes of his own emotional helplessness at how his family was falling apart while he was in a war zone.
P.A. DePaul
Jun 07, 2014 P.A. DePaul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book by Chris Hunter. As an American, I will admit that I found some of the slang hard to decipher but I got the point overall. I'm amazed and thankful for what this man and his team faced daily.
Iain
Aug 07, 2011 Iain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Superb. It has the potential to be repetitive, but manages not to be. Part memoir, part war story, part thriller and a bit of a detective and spy story thrown in as well.

A very honest perspective of a very unenviable job. Well worth a read.
Katy
Oct 04, 2009 Katy rated it did not like it
Shelves: rosie-wannabees
Between the British slang and the army acronyms and slang, I sometimes felt like I was reading a foreign language. I think kids would be disappointed at the lack of mention of U.S. forces. Not young adult in my opinion.
Marcia
Jan 09, 2013 Marcia rated it really liked it
Chris Hunter is an excellent writer. His prose flows, he captures the moment and really makes you understand what it might be like to be a bomb-disposal operator in Iraq. I saw the movie The Hurt Locker before I read the book. Great movie...great book.
Gregory
Nov 05, 2010 Gregory rated it really liked it
An engaging, exciting, sometimes appalling modern war memoir. Realistic and convincing. I tip my hat to Hunter and his ilk. Brave souls, all.
Jessica
Sep 03, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Surprisingly, I bought this book for $1.00. It is an amazing memoir and gives the reader an inside look at theWar on Terror, and the soldiers constant battles.
Jonathan
Dec 02, 2009 Jonathan rated it really liked it
Scary look at the war in Iraq from a British bomb disposal tech. A good read, about the war, from a man on the ground.
Kinderplatz
Jul 23, 2008 Kinderplatz rated it it was amazing
Gripping memoir of a British Army officer tasked with heading the bomb disposal operations around Basra after the invasion of Iraq.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Apache. Ed Macy
  • What Was Asked of Us: An Oral History of the Iraq War by the Soldiers Who Fought It
  • Apache Dawn
  • Sniper One: The Blistering True Story of a British Battle Group Under Siege
  • Making a Killing: The Explosive Story of a Hired Gun in Iraq
  • 3 Para
  • We Were One: Shoulder to Shoulder with the Marines Who Took Fallujah
  • No True Glory: A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah
  • Bomb Hunters: Life and Death Stories with Britain's Elite Bomb Disposal Unit in Afghanistan
  • Baghdad at Sunrise: A Brigade Commander's War in Iraq
  • Spoken From The Front: Real Voices From the Battlefields of Afghanistan
  • Roughneck Nine-One: The Extraordinary Story of a Special Forces A-team at War
  • The Real "Bravo Two Zero"
  • Barefoot Soldier
  • Roberts Ridge: A Story of Courage and Sacrifice on Takur Ghar Mountain, Afghanistan
  • Greetings From Afghanistan, Send More Ammo: Dispatches from Taliban Country
  • Land Of Fire
  • The Circuit: An Ex-SAS Soldier's True Account of One of the Most Powerful and Secretive Industries Spawned by the War on Terror
Chris Hunter is the author of Eight Lives Down, a riveting first-person account of a high-threat bomb disposal tour – the world’s most dangerous job in the world’s most dangerous place.

He joined the British Army in 1989 at the age of sixteen. He was commissioned from Sandhurst at twenty-one and later qualified as a counter terrorist bomb disposal operator. He served with a number of specialist co
...more
More about Chris Hunter...

Share This Book