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

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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 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 Hunter, it is a prayer he says many times during his four-month tour of Iraq. His is the most dangerous job in the world — to make safe the British sector in Iraq against some of the most hardened and technically advanced terrorists in the world. It is a 24/7 job — in the first two months alone, his team defuses over 45 bombs. And the people they’re up against don’t play by the Geneva Convention. For them, there are no rules, only results — death by any means necessary. The job of a Bomb Disposal officer is a lonely one. You are alone with the sound of your own breathing and the drumming of your heart in a protective suit in forty-plus degrees of heat. The drawbridge has been pulled up behind you as you advance on your goal. It’s just you and the bomb. But for Chris Hunter, just when life couldn’t get any more dangerous, the stakes are raised again. From the Hardcover edition.


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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 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 Hunter, it is a prayer he says many times during his four-month tour of Iraq. His is the most dangerous job in the world — to make safe the British sector in Iraq against some of the most hardened and technically advanced terrorists in the world. It is a 24/7 job — in the first two months alone, his team defuses over 45 bombs. And the people they’re up against don’t play by the Geneva Convention. For them, there are no rules, only results — death by any means necessary. The job of a Bomb Disposal officer is a lonely one. You are alone with the sound of your own breathing and the drumming of your heart in a protective suit in forty-plus degrees of heat. The drawbridge has been pulled up behind you as you advance on your goal. It’s just you and the bomb. But for Chris Hunter, just when life couldn’t get any more dangerous, the stakes are raised again. From the Hardcover edition.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    ”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 ”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 ride through the hell of Basra, Iraq in the summer of 2004. Major Chris Hunter, an ammunition technical officer (ATO) with the Royal Logistics Corps, walks you through his life in this smelly, hot, dusty a-hole of the world, namely Basra, as he defuses Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). The guy and his crew have large brass ones, that’s for sure. This book is a very fast read, sucking you into the action right off the bat. His skill at disabling the bombs is pitted against the terrorists who devise ever more deadly devices to kill, and who eventually target him specifically. He brings you right into the action and the gallows humor of the “bomb squad”. When he tossed a defused arty shell from a bomb emplacement into his Warrior armored vehicle: (view spoiler)[ ”Dan, trust me,” I say in my best Del Boy Trotter voice. “What could possibly go wrong?” “Well, if it goes bang and we both get killed,” he replies, “don’t say I didn’t warn you.” (hide spoiler)] There are some seriously humorous stories here, mixed into the everyday tension. He spends an evening with some other EOD sappers, "a hardy collection of Jocks, Scousers, and Brummies" (what ever the hell that means—you will get a large dose of Brit slang): Suddenly one of the other Jocks lets out a loud, piercing scream. “Aaaaarrrgh, get off me, ya wee bastard!’ “What is it, what is it?” says another voice. “A fucking camel spider! You should see the size of the bastard! It’s just run over my fucking flip-flop! The fucking thing coulda killed me!” “Aaaaaarrrrgh! Aaaaaarrrrgh!” Now everybody’s jumping around screaming. All of a sudden these rufty-tufty airborne warriors don’t seem quite so tough. It’s hilarious. He mixes in a fair amount of wondering if his marriage will survive his deployment to Iraq and his job as an ATO. He loves the job and is fiercely dedicated to it. His wife, not so much. One scene cracked me up as he talks with a friend after a long day on IED patrol. Seeking some advice on how to keep his marriage from failing, his friend isn’t much help. But then his friend adds: (view spoiler)[ ”Can I ask you a serious question?” he says. “Of course, mate. Shoot” “If it doesn’t work out between you two, and you do end up getting a divorce, do you mind if I have a crack at her?” (hide spoiler)] The world Hunter lived in was a scary, dark place as he survived Iraq in 2004. He risked himself numerous times to save others from roadside bombs. An amazing story. His final view of the Iraq War is interesting: Iraq taught me that the world is a dark place. It also taught me that those who criticize our presence there while curled up safely in their beds at night are quicker to denounce a soldier’s existence that to stop to think of the lives he saves and the fears he allays. The burdens placed on the men and women sent out to preserve our way of life are greater than most people could ever imagine. Yet the good they do, the lives they touch, the scale of damage they prevent—those successes are rarely documented. There are evil people in Iraq—terrorists who bomb innocent civilians, husbands who beat their wives, and fathers who cut their daughters’ throats. But they’re the tiny minority. Iraqis are good people. People like us. People who want nothing more than to rebuild their country and live their lives in peace. They deserve that chance. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the war, it would be a tragedy to fail them now, simply because we all grow tired of trying. Sadly, the political leadership in the West has grown tired, leaving the Iraqis to an uncertain future. We’ll soon find out if they are able to overcome the sectarian and terrorist elements now freed to attack the fragile society. But whatever the outcome, this book is a great addition to the Iraq war history.

  2. 4 out of 5

    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 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 and focus on the quality of the work. I have read many military memoirs and I feel this one is not very well written. In fact it read quite young, so young that it actually read like a Young Adult book to me. Written for teenagers. Very simple with a lot of teenage talk thrown in. The use of slang is excessive. It would alienate many non UK readers as it is not written with a care that anyone but an Englishman will understand it. As an Australian, I can decipher most of it, but most other countries would not understand and without someone to tell them what it all means, it would affect the readers ability to connect with the story and the author. It would have an alienating effect. I could not help feeling this book was written 'for the lads'. His peers and other Squaddies. In doing this and including so much slang and swearing outside of dialogue I think it brought the tone down and made it feel even more juvenile than it would have been if the swearing and non stop slang was in the dialogue alone. The help of a professional military writer and editor would have made this book a much better article, and definitely give it more appeal to a mature audience. Without that critical professional writers eye going over it, the book has turned out more for people who think fanny farts are funny. And that's not me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    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 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”) spearheading bomb disposal operations in Basra, Iraq. Due to their effective counter-IED operations, EOD Technicians in Iraq are considered high value targets by the enemy. Hunter’s own bomb disposal efforts proved so pivotal that he was personally targeted by the Mahdi Army in Basra led by Sheik Abdul Sattar al-Behadli. In one particularly daunting scenario, Hunter responded to an IED in front of the local Madhi Army headquarters. Behadli and other leaders stood on the building’s roof with a film crew, hoping to observe and record Hunter’s demise. Following the principle of completing as many tasks as possible through remote means, Hunter’s team sent an EOD robot forward. As it approached the device, the robot stopped. Its electronic control signal was jammed. Hunter then had to take the proverbial “long walk” to handle the device himself. Realizing that he was the intended victim, several members of his team urged him not to go downrange. They knew the IED itself might be booby-trapped, secondary IEDs might be laced along his path, and he would be exposed to snipers. Hunter displayed the improvisation shared by successful EOD Techs and derived a simple solution. At his request, two troops followed him toward the device as far as they dared, then pitched smoke grenades throughout the square to cover his movements and blind the enemies’ view. After the conventional war in Iraq, IEDs attacks increased. Coalition forces modified tactics, techniques, and procedures to minimize risk. Simultaneously, the EOD and intelligence communities worked to locate and capture the bombers. The second half of Hunter’s tour of duty was spent within this counter-IED apparatus. Hunter employed intelligence, CSI-like forensics, and his EOD experience to focus “left of the boom.” At one point, Hunter even interrogated a Sunni bomber, trying to garner information on another Sunni cell in Basra. Hunter describes the challenge of sitting face to face with his nemesis, trying to establish a rapport and gain his confidence. “It’s working. He’s actually starting to fall for this crap. He even draws me a circuit diagram of the bombs he used, showing me how he wired them up. We’re new best mates. But deep down, all I want to do is pull out my pistol and put a bullet in his head. To administer some summary justice for the horrendous crimes he’s perpetrated.” Working at the operational level, Hunter also discovered the challenges of counter-insurgency. While capturing the second group of Sunni bombers, British soldiers searched the surrounding homes as a ruse to protect intelligence sources and methods. Hunter recalls the distasteful dichotomy of preventing an Iranian couple from being marked as informants by entering their bedroom and rifling through their unmentionables. In a similar manner, Hunter provides the reader insight into the invasion of his own personal life. He willingly shares the difficulty of conducting bomb disposal while trying to maintain family life from hundred of miles away. One comes away with the notion that the sacrifices endured by loved ones left at home are as equally heroic as those in harm’s way. Eight Lives Down is an enthralling account of EOD operations in the war on terrorism at both the tactical and operational levels. Insights into counter-insurgency and life on the home front add to this worthy read. The whole story flows with Hunter’s clear and strong writing style that hopefully will be seen in future works.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    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 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. The psychological and physical strains of his job are brought out vividly in Hunter's prose; the gritty reality of life in Basra during the war are seen in his frequent use of British military vernacular. The book also brings to light an oft-overlooked facet of the war against Islamic terror, and that's the strain on the soldier's family. I highly, highly recommend this book for anyone wanting a glimpse into the sacrifices made by Western fighting men and women serving civilization in these primitive places.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

    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, 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, he also writes about his family and how he came very close to losing his wife and kids because of his promises to them that he broke. He accepts responsibility for his actions and knows how close he came to losing it all. During his time in Iraq he also had a bounty put on his head by the terrorists and was specifically watched and targeted repeatedly. An excellent look at the war in Iraq through the eyes of a foreign participant (In my case that is, Im American the author is English).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ned Frederick

    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 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 counter-IED efforts were so successful that he was personally targeted by the Mahdi Army, an "honor" previously reserved for ATOs operating in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Hunter details his team performing multiple butt-puckering, render-safe procedures, but he also chronicles the far-reaching impact of his mission and his deployment on his family and his personal state of mind. Like all good reads there is also a mystery at its core. Eight Lives Down is a biography but also a procedural, in part, as Hunter and his team methodically piece together the evidence they need to track down the people behind the surge in IEDs and to document the adaptive evolution of the bomber's methods. It's a perpetual Cat-and-mouse game with the insurgents, and a personal struggle for Hunter. The title is inspired by the nickname, Felix, given to bomb disposal officers, implying that they have , or certainly need, nine lives, like a cat. Eight Lives Down chronicles Hunter's multiple withdrawals from that account. Fascinating.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    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 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. I loved their vibrant conversations, because they were coming together as a family. I can't believe soldiers go through such excruciating, life-threatening tension, all day, every day. I'm grateful for stories like this, because I am introduced to a world of nobility, emotion, trials and devotion. I am introduced to worlds in which heroes are born, in the darkest, most painful storms. And for them, I am grateful.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shira Karp

    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 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, if you don't speak British Royal Engineers acronyms, you WILL get confused at times in this book. There's a glossary, but, well, that's always a pain. However, if you can overlook the technical, it's a very personal account that I found touching. And often hysterical. There are quotes from this book I will be saying for a LONG time.

  9. 5 out of 5

    G.M. Burrow

    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 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 the chopper, in the firefight. My writing got sharper, my knowledge of hilarious (some dirty) British slang got bigger, and my appreciation for every soldier got stronger. Loved it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    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 :) 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 :)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    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. 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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    DC

    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. 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.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    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.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gerard Costello

    A solid memoir. It's a decent page turner. It is written in a clear, direct, non pretentious style. It is interesting and fun, though at times excessive description of the mechanics of bomb disposal is so boring as to be unreadable. In addition this book is purely descriptive, it tells what happened, but spends little time reflecting on anything. A problem I had with the book is that I could only identify four characters in it, all tropes. The writer, who is the heroic soldier, his angsty wife, A solid memoir. It's a decent page turner. It is written in a clear, direct, non pretentious style. It is interesting and fun, though at times excessive description of the mechanics of bomb disposal is so boring as to be unreadable. In addition this book is purely descriptive, it tells what happened, but spends little time reflecting on anything. A problem I had with the book is that I could only identify four characters in it, all tropes. The writer, who is the heroic soldier, his angsty wife, who is an angsty wife, a third character, who I will simply call 'the soldier', who is a hard talking, hard drinking, hard smoking, hard... man, and 'the enemy', who is the shit stinking Iraqi and his cohort of identically clad terrorist comrades. There are bits and pieces of attempts at descriptions of real people here and there, but none of them stick, the author is a decent memoirist and a hero soldier deserving of praise for his actions (if what he writes is true), but a mediocre writer at best. There was only one part of the book that really stuck with me, (SPOILER!!!); Hunter drives to a hospital in England to visit two of his men who both lost their legs in a suicide bomb attack (after his own tour). One of them had fucked up badly twice under Hunter's command, but, instead of sacking this inept soldier, sending him home and replacing him with a better soldier who could actually do the job well, he let the man away with stern warnings. When Hunter sees the now legless man, he reflects that he should have just sacked him, if he had, a better soldier would have been manning that checkpoint that day, perhaps no one would have lost their legs, and the man would still be whole. It is an interesting reflection, because it is very likely true, and a blunt confession of a serious professional error. Decent book, read it if you really want, if not, you're not really missing that much.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Belinda

    An interesting read, I learned a lot and it certainly opens your eyes to what these guys have to deal with on the ground. At times I felt it was a bit repetitive but that is the nature of what they do and they can't get complacent about it, the end result could be death. Chris also explains the relationship challenges and the way his wife feels and reacts to his time away. I think he explains it really well and it gives you an insight into how each of them are coping or not coping and how they d An interesting read, I learned a lot and it certainly opens your eyes to what these guys have to deal with on the ground. At times I felt it was a bit repetitive but that is the nature of what they do and they can't get complacent about it, the end result could be death. Chris also explains the relationship challenges and the way his wife feels and reacts to his time away. I think he explains it really well and it gives you an insight into how each of them are coping or not coping and how they deal with it. The camaraderie of the team is hugely important right up to the end of the book. And I think this is one of the things that really shines through and helps you to understand what they are going through. This is a real account of terrifying events and they are the ones going in to defuse the bombs. I think they really must be mental.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kt

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I love books about soldiers in war zones, whether they be fiction or non-fiction; and Eight Lives Down is one of the best non-fiction ones I’ve read. The story of Hunter’s time in Iraq as the boss of one of the English Army’s bomb disposal units; Eight Lives Down balances the huge risk he faces on a daily basis, the price on his head and his troubled marriage. I don’t know whether it’s because the author is a Major, and therefore being higher up the ranks he has a different perspective t ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I love books about soldiers in war zones, whether they be fiction or non-fiction; and Eight Lives Down is one of the best non-fiction ones I’ve read. The story of Hunter’s time in Iraq as the boss of one of the English Army’s bomb disposal units; Eight Lives Down balances the huge risk he faces on a daily basis, the price on his head and his troubled marriage. I don’t know whether it’s because the author is a Major, and therefore being higher up the ranks he has a different perspective to lower ranked soldiers with what he can bring to the story; but Eight Lives Down had me gripped right from the start. The writing was brilliant and so descriptive that you felt like you were right there with Hunter and his crew in Iraq. If you like this genre of books or are a fan of Chris Ryan or Andy McNab, then you’ll love Eight Lives Down.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Trevor

    Non-stop, edge of the seat action in this account of a bomb disposal expert on a tour of Iraq. Chris is so good at his job that he is specifically targetted by insurgents. This is a well written account, no waffle, no bull, just a constant thrill, plenty of highs and lots of lows as he struggles to keep his marriage today whilst away. This is the best book of it's kind I've read for some time, superb. Non-stop, edge of the seat action in this account of a bomb disposal expert on a tour of Iraq. Chris is so good at his job that he is specifically targetted by insurgents. This is a well written account, no waffle, no bull, just a constant thrill, plenty of highs and lots of lows as he struggles to keep his marriage today whilst away. This is the best book of it's kind I've read for some time, superb.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melyssa Hensler

    3.5 stars. The bomb disposal aspects of this book were very interesting and certainly my favorite parts. From a literary standpoint, the writing wasn’t phenomenal. Part of that could be because I found some of his colloquialisms to be cumbersome. Overall, an easy, quick read though. So, if the topic interests you, I would say this is a book worth reading. If you aren’t captivated by the topic though, you might not enjoy it as much.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bob

    This is a well written memoir. I read this book before watching the 'Hurt Locker' movie, and the only way you could enjoy Hurt Locker is if you never had a clue what EOD was beforehand. I've read memoirs from Navy Seals and Marines, but Combat Engineers/EOD experts are in their own class. This is a well written memoir. I read this book before watching the 'Hurt Locker' movie, and the only way you could enjoy Hurt Locker is if you never had a clue what EOD was beforehand. I've read memoirs from Navy Seals and Marines, but Combat Engineers/EOD experts are in their own class.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nick Boldrini

    This is a great read. It reads like a thriller, which makes some of the incidents even more shocking because they are real. The author reveals the reality of his job as an EOD operator, as well as the situation in Iraq at the time, and the affect it has on his personal life in a very readable way.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Gripping true story of a British bomb disposal officer.

  22. 4 out of 5

    David Heritage

    Good read I've read many books by soldiers in Iraq. Everyone is similar and everyone is different. This one is another that portrays how much of much person is out in to survive. Good read I've read many books by soldiers in Iraq. Everyone is similar and everyone is different. This one is another that portrays how much of much person is out in to survive.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Campbell

    A must read for anyone interested in modern warfare

  24. 4 out of 5

    Linda Laver

    This is more a biography rather than a story interesting about a bomb disposal squad and other teams in Iraq

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A mind blowing insight into the world of war VS the world we live in day to day.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vicky

    I liked it! I could relate to much of the writing angst and decisions about stepping away from the novel writing. Not sure I’d recommend it for non-writers though.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jacki (Julia Flyte)

    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 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 just so that you can catch a breath! The book was very reminiscent for me of the Jamie Foxx/Jennifer Garner movie "The Kingdom" - and it made me realize that the film was more realistic than I had previously thought. Chris Hunter is a very likeable narrator who is also extremely brave and passionate about what he does. He doesn't just bring the action scenes alive, but also manages to convey what it is that soldiers love about what they do, even when it puts them in extreme danger. He also talks a lot about his family back in the UK and the strains that his army career put on his marriage. This fleshes his character out and makes it a far more interesting book than if it were just about the action on the ground. I did feel that parts of this book got a little hard to follow due to the military jargon, but that probably more a reflection on the fact that this is an unusual choice of book for me rather than on the book itself. I was engrossed in Eight Lives Down and I highly recommend it.

  28. 5 out of 5

    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 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 secondary triggers and stuff. Sometimes you drive around and get that feeling that something isn't right...and there are firefights and that's scary and you think of your wife and daughters back in england and how you're not there for them, but miss them a lot, and how your marriage is suffering, etc, etc. Fortunately you have your bros in Iraq. The style was dry, the narrator was only sympathetic because of his strained marriage, and the technical crap about bombs wasn't enough to make it interesting. Couldn't get through it, each chapter was a new mission which was basically the same as the previous mission. I know memoirs dont always have plots, but they can at least tell a good story. Fail.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Larsen

    An engaging and visceral military memoir of one man's tour of duty in one of the most dangerous and deadly places on earth. Enter British Army EOD High Threat Operator, Chris Hunter. As he takes the reader on a thrilling and fast-paced journey through the eyes of one of the world's top bomb technicians. From rendering safe IEDs in Columbia, to heading downrange diffusing danger in Basra, Iraq. The exploits of Major Chris Hunter will both amaze and terrify you as he and his band of High Threat Op An engaging and visceral military memoir of one man's tour of duty in one of the most dangerous and deadly places on earth. Enter British Army EOD High Threat Operator, Chris Hunter. As he takes the reader on a thrilling and fast-paced journey through the eyes of one of the world's top bomb technicians. From rendering safe IEDs in Columbia, to heading downrange diffusing danger in Basra, Iraq. The exploits of Major Chris Hunter will both amaze and terrify you as he and his band of High Threat Operators struggle to survive harrowing missions outside the wire. Also highlighted is the extreme personal cost paid by a bomb tech's family and the struggles of maintaining a healthy but strained relationship with one's spouse. Major Chris Hunter's memoir is both engaging and thought provoking. This book puts "The Hurt Locker" to shame.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steve Parkes

    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 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 historian the book provides an insight into the stresses involved in a highly dangerous tour of duty in a war zone where death could come at any time, and where every civilian is potentially a killer.

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