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Who Dares, Wins: The S...
Virginia Cowles
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Who Dares, Wins: The Story of the Phantom Major - David Stirling and His Desert Command

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  254 ratings  ·  22 reviews
In the dark and uncertain days of 1941 and '42 when Rommel's tanks were smashing forward toward Suez, a handful of daring raiders were making history for the Allies.
They operated deep behind the German lines, often driving hundreds of miles through African deserts where there were no roads and the nearest water might be 200 miles away.
They hid by day and struck by night,
Paperback, 255 pages
Published 1959 by Ballantine Books (first published June 1st 1958)
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Start your review of Who Dares, Wins: The Story of the Phantom Major - David Stirling and His Desert Command
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 ½ 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 cor
I thoroughly enjoyed the slow read I took within this book – very well written, it reads more like a novel than it does of history but the fascinating thing here it reads well and is historically accurate. The British Special Air Service (SAS) and the destruction it caused on German and Italian Air Forces in North Africa during the Second World War is a fascinating story unto itself. The operational missions were all daring and often challenged not by the mere geography alone but often by those ...more
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book on David Stirling, who put the S.A.S. ("Who dares wins") on the map in North Africa in World War II.

Stirling was truly a great leader, after two deaths due to faulty materials with the parachutes:
The next day the men were taken up again. Their faces were strained and their fingers yellow from too many cigarettes. This time David was the first man to jump. The others followed in quick, orderly succession. The tests were successful.

The job of the S.A.S. was not to engage the en
Neil Funsch
A good companion to Ben Macintyre's Rogue Heroes. It covers the SAS' birth and activities behind the German's lines in the Western Desert campaign during WWII. Readers who are familiar with one of the books will recognize many of the same people and actions in the other book. It is always instructive to get the different 'reads' an author brings to their subject. I would recommend reading Rogue Heroes first since the author goes much deeper into the personalities of the unit members, and he has ...more
David Cozens
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of David Stirling who founded the S.A.S. during the North Africa campaign 1941-43.
Loren Shultz
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great story. Well and engagingly written
Joseph D Foresi
Phantom major is an interesting read about Sterling and the SAS. It covers a number of his daring military achievements with a James Bond like flair. However, the character back story and development are very light so unless you want straight military adventure, it may not work for you.
David Lucero
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Joe Vess
Jul 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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. ...more
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book, written well. Interesting recap of a daring group of individuals in world war 2.
Tellings of unbelievable, sometimes funny opportunities that the enigmatic David Striling and his group took. Things that made them the interesting and quite successful group in WW2.
Rupert Matthews
Nov 11, 2013 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.
Amazing saga! Great read!
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating insight into the life of David Stirling of the SAS during WWII.
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An incredible story, riveting to read.
Very enjoyable.
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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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