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Immediate Action

(Andy McNab's Army Memoirs)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  2,962 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Immediate Action is a no-holds-barred account of an extraordinary life, from the day Andy McNab was found in a carrier bag on the steps of Guy's Hospital to the day he went to fight in the Gulf War.

As a delinquent youth he kicked against society. As a young soldier he waged war against the IRA in the streets and fields of South Armagh. As a member of 22 SAS Regiment he was
Paperback, 490 pages
Published 1996 by Corgi (first published 1995)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Jan 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have always been fascinated by the various Special Forces. I had heard about Andy McNab's Bravo Two Zero and when I saw that this book is about his days in the SAS I decided to give it a try.

Written in simple language and liberally interspersed with soldier’s lingo, this book chronicles his early days as a “juvenile delinquent”, his service as a “Green Jacket” in the infantry, his obsession with the Regiment (SAS) and what grueling tests and training people undergo for the privilege of being
Stewart Cotterill
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As realistic an account of real life pre his selection for the SAS as you're ever likely to get in an autobiography, every word making you realise the day to day existence of someone brought up in the 60s and 70s in Britain.

The stories of selection make you exhausted just reading them and the missions are as non glamorous as you could possibly imagine. This is not the world of James Bond or John Wayne.

I really enjoyed reading this, as you can probably tell, by the fact it only took three days to
Arun Divakar
Special Forces ever since I came to understand them has been a source of fascination for me. The fact that a handful of soldiers could inflict deeper damage into ant enemy's heart than a conventional military force is nothing sort of a brilliant albeit successful idea. I had heard of McNab from the Bravo Two Zero legend (which interestingly i am yet to read) and Immediate Action was in fact called a stepping stone for B2Z.

The book sketches the career of McNab from the time when he was a
Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it!!

Although I was never in the Regiment, I did serve in the infantry around the same time as the author and as you would expect with a diminishing list of destinations at that time, served in almost all of the locations described in the book.

I guess this was the main reason I found this book so compelling and identified with it so well.
Dec 16, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
Given the subject matter--an autobiography of an SAS soldier up to Desert Storm--you would expect one of two things: a) insightful commentary about the SAS, its methods, its role in the world, and it's interrelationship with Thatcherian policies, or b) a great escapist thriller with lots of action, whether interpersonal or military.

Given the lurid cover Bantam/Dell gave the mass market edition ("The explosive true story..." "The controversial book the British government tried to suppress!"
Feb 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books-read
I find with Andy McNab’s books that on average I enjoy every other one. Unfortunately this wasn’t one of the books that I enjoyed. The last one I read by McNab prior to this was ‘Bravo Two Zero’ which I thought was fantastic. Although a lot of reader think that the authors writing style adds to the authenticity of his books, I don’t think it lends itself particularly well to this autobiography. I felt that some of the operations weren’t described in any detail, which is unusual for an ...more
Jun 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The way to evade dogs is to get on flat, open ground," the handler said. "If you start running along riverbeds, it just keeps the scent in those areas." "Running over a stream is lack shit use, too," he panted as we jogged along behind the dogs. "All the dog does is a thing called casting on the other side, and he'll pick up the scent again. If you get into a wide-open field, the scent is dispersed. You want to do a lot of zigzagging, which slows the dog down, makes it harder for him to pick up ...more
Demien Hieriem
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book reveals that even killer elite squads like the Regiment are afraid of a hippopotamus.
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Andy McNab's IMMEDIATE ACTION is his successor to BRAVO TWO ZERO, although it's actually set before that infamous mission in Iraq. This one's an autobiographical account of McNab's days as a delinquent kid, before he joined the army, saw action against the PIRA in Northern Ireland, and eventually joined the Regiment (aka the SAS). The book then follows McNab through a couple of detailed missions and a whole lot of training.

Although it's a lengthy book, this is inevitably a fast read due to the
Occhi Aperti
This is an interesting reading about the trials and tribulations of someone who makes it through the ultra difficult selection process of the SAS and then goes out into the field. The toll that the life takes on couples and individuals is well described. The operational logistics at the end will make anyone interested in details take notice. if you want to know the reality vs the film version, read this book.
I enjoyed this even more than Bravo Two Zero probably because the scope of this book was farther reaching. McNab provides a good account of the training involved in becoming a Regiment member and the wide variety of missions they can be tasked with. He also reveals how difficult the strain on relationships can be for those who commit to a life in special ops.
Dave Monds
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Authentic, moving, funny

Such a great read. Authentic, funny, moving. One of, if not, the best memoirs of the British SAS. You can be fooled I thinking it was all a lark by the authors colloquial style but make no mistakes, these guys are true warriors, masters at their craft but still human underneath it all.
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Slow start

To be honest, I didn’t like this book with reading the first few chapters but then it changed. There’s an insight into the author combined with the unique role of the SAS that is so compelling. A fantastic book!
Peter J Manna III
The follow-up to "Bravo Two Zero", "IA" provides more background into McNab's SAS career.
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great insight on how the training is for the SAS commando. Great book with many details and the struggle to finish one of the hardest trainings in the world.
Lex Redding
Sep 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ahhh I found this book so frustrating. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Bravo Two Zero but found Immediate Action difficult to read, jumping around all over the place and not as engrossing.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
Just like all of His books , this story is quite amazing , knowing what they had to go through being in this regiment is already something quite amazing . Something worth reading
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome and action packed
Samuel Barwick
Loved it as much as his first book.
Stephen Barlow
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steve Smy
This is a memoir that shows that even the author can find it difficult to find any redeeming features about themselves! This work by Andy McNab reveals, with brutal honesty, what an unpleasant, dishonest young person he was - the kind of youth we cross roads to avoid. More, he exhibits an egocentricity ruling his life for many years that many will find extremely unattractive. Indeed, apart from very rare hints of a better nature, it's not until the last moments of the book that he suggests that ...more
Published after Bravo Two Zero, in IMMEDIATE ACTION McNab takes us back to his early life. He starts, albeit briefly, with being raised by his adoptive parents after being found as a baby on the steps of Guy's Hospital.

In McNab's very matter of fact style he relates how, as a juvenile delinquent, he decided he had a choice between jail and a nothing much of a life, and the Army. After fighting against the IRA in South Armagh McNab decides that the SAS is where he wants to be and he goes in for
Procyon Lotor
Mr McNab could be an ideal neighbour. Some years among SAS troops, an autobiography. Who joins the Regiment (hungry orphans, angry young boys, white trash and eccentric or particular people); what the Regiment does (everything but flying planes or floating ships); when they need to be fit and ready for action: immediately; how heavy and tough their drill is (as tough as hell). Where: Brunei, Malaysia, Ulster, Oman, Belize, Botswana, UK, Beirut, Colombia, Iraqi desert. Unexpectedly, weaponry is ...more
Sep 10, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: military
Good book, however I had to learn all new words to understand what he was talking about. I served in the armed forces, and the jargin is entirely different. When I began to read the book I was having to read paragraphs twice to understand what exactly was going on. The author did attempt to explain some of the terms, and how things relate to American English.
One of the quotes on the exterior of the book said in essence that the government tried to suppress the release of this book. I kept
Interesting topic lines but not necessarily the best writing. A lot of time spent in the minute details which if combined with a wider perspective, i.e. the politics of the events, may have added to the readers enjoyment. There was probably a fair amount of editing that occured as a result of the potentially sensitive material and I am sure that the author was writing with this possible sensorship in mind as well as the fact that he would not want to compromise past present and future regiments ...more
I know for a lot people Andy McNab is their initiation into the special forces world and therefore, there first love. And I respect that. He is not that for me.
I will say his writing has a quick paced, adventurous style that mirrors his life and is impressive to read. But I do feel like there is something lacking. I just can't put my finger on it. It could be depth or introspection.
Mark Dawson
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An impressive biography from a writer who - by his own admission - couldn't read or write particularly well until his adult years. McNab is an easy read, with a loose and informal style that means the pages turn quickly. McNab has led an interesting life and he relates the highlights (and lowlights) with characteristic honesty.
Lots of acronyms to go with the action in this book. I could have done without the intelligence officers being called 'slime' every time. Once for verisimilitude would have been enough. However I did enjoy it and found it amazing that so many men actually want to be in the SAS and put themselves in harm's way - with absolutely no voice in where they go or when.
Feb 23, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very descriptive analysis of the selection process and the counter terrorist methodology in eliminating opponents (very useful in mock trial criminal self-defense claims). Also has recollections from the British Special Air Service incursions, against the IRA, in Belfast.
Oct 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James here again. Read this book to learn all about the secret world of the SAS the masters of CQB. Fun to read and amazing that people are alive to tell the tell. Jason Bourne is fiction. Andy McNab and his team of SAS guys are real.
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Andy McNab joined the infantry in 1976 as a boy soldier. In 1984 he was badged as a member of 22 SAS Regiment. He served in B Squadron 22 SAS for ten years and worked on both covert and overt special operations worldwide, including anti-terrorist and anti-drug operations in the Middle and Far East, South and Central America and Northern Ireland.

Trained as a specialist in counter terrorism, prime

Other books in the series

Andy McNab's Army Memoirs (3 books)
  • Bravo Two Zero
  • Seven Troop
“The Omanis had feasts called haflas where they’d bring a goat in and cook it in the fire. It was always a fantastic gathering. They’d turn up in their Land Cruisers in the middle of nowhere, put the carpets out, and start a fire up. Sometimes they’d tow in a small water bowser as well. There was a huge amount of ritual involved; the animal was treated with immense respect before it was killed, in accordance with Islam.” 0 likes
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