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'We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go, Always a little further; it may be, Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow.' If there was ever anyone who went a little further, a little beyond, it was Alastair MacKenzie. In a career spanning 30 years, MacKenzie served uniquely with the New Zealand Army in Vietnam, the British Parachute Regiment, the British Special 'We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go, Always a little further; it may be, Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow.' If there was ever anyone who went a little further, a little beyond, it was Alastair MacKenzie. In a career spanning 30 years, MacKenzie served uniquely with the New Zealand Army in Vietnam, the British Parachute Regiment, the British Special Air Service (SAS), the South African Defence Force's famed ParaBats, the Sultan of Oman's Special Forces and a host of private security agencies and defence contractors. MacKenzie lived the soldier's life to the full as he journeyed 'the Golden Road to Samarkand'. This extraordinary new work from the author of Special Force: The Untold Story of 22nd Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) vividly documents, in a detail that stuns, the experience of infantry combat in Vietnam, life with the Paras, the tempo of selection for UK Special Forces, covert SAS operations in South Armagh and SAS Counter Terrorist training on the UK mainland, vehicle-mounted Pathfinder Brigade insertions into Angola and maritime counter-terrorism work in Oman.


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'We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go, Always a little further; it may be, Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow.' If there was ever anyone who went a little further, a little beyond, it was Alastair MacKenzie. In a career spanning 30 years, MacKenzie served uniquely with the New Zealand Army in Vietnam, the British Parachute Regiment, the British Special 'We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go, Always a little further; it may be, Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow.' If there was ever anyone who went a little further, a little beyond, it was Alastair MacKenzie. In a career spanning 30 years, MacKenzie served uniquely with the New Zealand Army in Vietnam, the British Parachute Regiment, the British Special Air Service (SAS), the South African Defence Force's famed ParaBats, the Sultan of Oman's Special Forces and a host of private security agencies and defence contractors. MacKenzie lived the soldier's life to the full as he journeyed 'the Golden Road to Samarkand'. This extraordinary new work from the author of Special Force: The Untold Story of 22nd Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) vividly documents, in a detail that stuns, the experience of infantry combat in Vietnam, life with the Paras, the tempo of selection for UK Special Forces, covert SAS operations in South Armagh and SAS Counter Terrorist training on the UK mainland, vehicle-mounted Pathfinder Brigade insertions into Angola and maritime counter-terrorism work in Oman.

30 review for Pilgrim Days: From Vietnam to the SAS

  1. 4 out of 5

    ManOfLaBook.com

    For more reviews and bookish posts pleas visit: https://www.ManOfLaBook.com Pilgrim Days: From Vietnam to the SAS by Alastair MacKenzie is a memoir of the author who served in the special forces of several countries over his life. The book documents his life from serving in the New Zealand Army in Vietnam, to the SAS, South Africa, Oman, and finally as a private security agent. I don’t know who Mr. MacKenzie wrote this book for. Part of it reads like a memoir he wrote for himself, part of it reads For more reviews and bookish posts pleas visit: https://www.ManOfLaBook.com Pilgrim Days: From Vietnam to the SAS by Alastair MacKenzie is a memoir of the author who served in the special forces of several countries over his life. The book documents his life from serving in the New Zealand Army in Vietnam, to the SAS, South Africa, Oman, and finally as a private security agent. I don’t know who Mr. MacKenzie wrote this book for. Part of it reads like a memoir he wrote for himself, part of it reads as if he wrote it to the general public, and the best part of it reads as if he wrote to his children of memories we share of our life in the service. None of it is bad, it’s just a mix I’m not used to but still found it very interesting. The first part of the memoir Pilgrim Days: From Vietnam to the SAS by Alastair MacKenzie takes place during the Vietnam War, the author served with the New Zealand Army where he insisted that they operated differently than everyone else in the theater, however their field operations seemed the same to me (relying on artillery and air-to-ground attack air support). He and his men took part in major operations, but the battles they fought were small, yet casualties they suffered, and experience they earned. After coming home, suffering from untreated PTSD condition which alienated his wife Cecilia (who must have been a saint), the author resigned from the New Zealand Army to join the British paratroopers (Paras). Frankly, I had no idea that there were so many professional soldiers out there who are able to switch countries and “get hired” by different armies. Even though I knew that happened, I still find it strange but, I imagine, it’s not different than other professions. The author eventually joined the British 22 Special Air Service (SAS) Regiment patrolling Northern Ireland, and afterwards became a contractor with the South African Defense Force. I enjoyed reading some of his commentary on Northern Ireland, as someone who is serving there, but really has no stake in the long-term outcome. I found it to be what I expected, a ground level perspective of a professional, more interested in immediate strategy than the politics of the area. The author discusses training thought his long career and assignments in Hong Kong, Germany, Sudan, Italy, as well as a section devoted to the Sultan of Oman’s Special Forces which he was a part of engaging in counter-terrorism duties. The military, especially the Special Forces, is a young man’s game and eventually Mr. MacKenzie became a salesman for the Royal Ordnance and started his own security consulting company. I enjoyed reading this book very much, especially about the men whose occupation seem to be taken out of storybooks. I especially enjoyed the anecdotes the author tells, same stories we tell family and friends after a few drinks, but many of us never write down, regretfully.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Abibliofob

    What a journey Alastair MacKenzie takes you on. I had trouble putting the book down but I had to work... This was one of the most interesting books on its subject I have read in many years. Most books focus on the americans. He is a real fighter even long after his service going as far as America to support charities.I must thank #Netgalley and #Osprey for giving me this opportunity and help with the first version of this book that had some errors but was immediately fixed with a new version. If What a journey Alastair MacKenzie takes you on. I had trouble putting the book down but I had to work... This was one of the most interesting books on its subject I have read in many years. Most books focus on the americans. He is a real fighter even long after his service going as far as America to support charities.I must thank #Netgalley and #Osprey for giving me this opportunity and help with the first version of this book that had some errors but was immediately fixed with a new version. If you readers are interesting in reading about military careers then this is for you. #PilgrimDays by #AlastairMacKenzie

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mountain343

    For those of us who devour military history books, especially biographies, Pilgrim Days fills a special spot on our library shelf. Mackenzie served with a multitude of military units across the globe, from the New Zealand Infantry Regiment in Vietnam to the British Paras and SAS in Northern Ireland, and the Pathfinders in the SADF fighting SWAPO in Angola. He served alongside other authors such as Dave Barr, Jan Breytenbach, and Peter McAleese and his experiences help flesh out the stories foun For those of us who devour military history books, especially biographies, Pilgrim Days fills a special spot on our library shelf. Mackenzie served with a multitude of military units across the globe, from the New Zealand Infantry Regiment in Vietnam to the British Paras and SAS in Northern Ireland, and the Pathfinders in the SADF fighting SWAPO in Angola. He served alongside other authors such as Dave Barr, Jan Breytenbach, and Peter McAleese and his experiences help flesh out the stories found in their books, while putting his own unique spin on them. With his constant moving and changing of uniforms, he missed out on some major incidents like the Iranian Embassy Siege as well as the Falklands War, but his insight into the NZ experience in Vietnam, his work in Northern Ireland, his experiences in Africa, and especially his later training work in Oman and elsewhere as a private contractor are unique and definitely worth reading. Mind you, this man has had a extremely robust life and trying to encapsulate it all in one book has made it more of an overview, where the author more often just lists and tells one or two things about each experience, instead of delving into each one in any depth. But what I found most enjoyable was his attention to the people he served with and how no matter where he ended up, he was able to slide in and soldier on. This isn’t a fictional story about a one man army, but instead the true life of one man who served in many armies around the world, and was part of a period of time where armed conflict and instability made the cold war quite hot. With today’s global war on terrorism, and private military companies, it’s important to read Pilgrim Days and take notes of where he was, who he was with, and use it as a jumping off point to study more about the things he mentions, from South Armagh to Tim Spicer and what happened in Bouganville. Really good book, really good read, entertaining, and I’m so glad I have it on my shelf!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paul Sparks

    If you are going to write a description of a life lived to the full and a warriors tale then this book is it, I am ex military but in no way do I compare my exploits to the author, I honestly don’t know how he managed to do so much in so short a time, I have read a few military bios but this one I can honestly say is really worth reading, sit back and enjoy

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aaron rivers

    Wow what a fantastic book, A true warrior who has lived an amazing life! Best military biography I’ve read since Harry McCallions killing zone. I especially found his time in Vietnam interesting , there’s not a lot been written about the kiwis involvement in Vietnam.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kas

    This a very interesting book following a man around the world in some of the main armed forces regiments, really enjoyable

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dave Monds

    The laughing warrior One of the better SF memoirs of recent times. Hard to keep up with the authors many and varied movements. What a warrior. Loved it!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Harry

  9. 4 out of 5

    mark chinn

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tracy Barnes

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rod Basell

  12. 4 out of 5

    michelle varco

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lee Newton

  14. 4 out of 5

    Louise

  15. 4 out of 5

    John K. Maurer

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dogj

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ethan Macmillan

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andre Baardsen

  19. 5 out of 5

    David

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mike Beadle

  21. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Coleman

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

  23. 5 out of 5

    Meredith Lincoln

  24. 5 out of 5

    Giles Proctor

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pat

  26. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Butler

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rob Pipe

  28. 4 out of 5

    Steven

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bob

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cris Radu

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