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Showing 1-5 of 5 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on December 4, 2002
I stumbled across Robert Young Pelton's website while researching the topic of mercenaries in Africa, and paused to take a look at one of his books. The time was well spent, numerous typos and grammatical errors notwithstanding. Let's hope his next manuscript gets better proofreading.
Pelton's "The Hunter, the Hammer, and Heaven" chronicles the author's fearless journeys into three separate hearts of darkness: Sierra Leone, Chechnya, and Bougainville. Each is a place where surely angels would fear to tread, but Pelton, with careful persistence, deftly tiptoes through each, and not only comes back alive, but brings the raw, gritty truths of modern war with him. Places that are usually just a few lines buried in the back page of the Sunday paper spring to hair-raising life as Pelton gets to know the people in each place, and their motivations for fighting.
There is a lot of excellent material here for anybody who is trying to sort out all the players in these hellholes without benefit of a scorecard, and reading this book will impart a much deeper understanding of how and why such conflicts occur.
Another impression the reader will get is that the media outlets of the world are hopelessly out of touch, far more concerned with the color of Hillary Clinton's underwear than with the chaos, death and destruction that they are too lazy or corrupt to see. In my case, Pelton's reporting served only to underscore what I already knew - the media giants are completely out of touch, but in ways I never realized until I read this gutsy man's words.
The book also serves as a window into the shadowy private military operations (like Sandline International and Executive Outcomes) that have superseded the mercenary armies of the 60's and 70's. The book makes (in my opinion) a convincing argument for supporting such actions, rather than condemning them as has been done over and over in the mainstream media. Upon reading this book, you'll come away with a much better understanding of each hot-spot, and a profound respect for Pelton's awe-inspiring courage in seeking out and telling the truth. Highly recommended.
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on April 3, 2002
War buffs, adventurers, and fans of arcane political trivia will love this book. Robert Young Pelton illuminates three dark corners of the globe whose "dirty little wars" have been generally either misreported or overlooked by the mainstream media. His first person accounts of the people he meets make the book extremely readable and entertaining (if stories of torture, mutilation, and horrible deaths can be considered entertaining).
Pelton offers a refreshing alternative view to biased reportaganda that often originates from war zones, especially in "The Hammer" where he puts his life on the line to get the true story of Russia's brutal war in Chechnya. The best part about Pelton is that he tells it like it is, and he's not afraid to get his hands dirty: interviewing key players that most sane people would not want to meet in a dark alley...never mind a third world war zone.
Criticisms? Some may find the author's "tough-guy" persona to be hard to relate to, and there are numerous typos and grammatical errors in the text that can cause frustration. I hope that in future books RYP and his editors can do a better job proofreading.
Overall I found this book to be extremely valuable and thought provoking.
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on August 15, 2002
After finishing this book and reading some of the other reviews worried about typo's etc I have to feel that some of what this man does goes right over some peoples heads. I was so enthralled by what Mr. Pelton tries to accomplish in his travels that it was the little things I didn't notice.The insight gained from reading this book is huge. I now feel that what has happened in each of these countries is out there for all to know, and we all should know.I have been to a few of his most dangerous places, and most likely will go to some more. Not to brag about it, but to learn, hopefully not the hard way. I have great admiration for this man. Now if I could just find a way to meet him, and go on his next journey....that would be so cool. Americans read this book and learn "The real world" isn't on MTV!!
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on January 11, 2002
The Hunter, The Hammer and Heaven is a compelling book that transports you to places few of us would dare to go. Pelton is an old hand at surviving in the midst of danger and treachery.
The fast-paced stories of far away places are remarkably vivid and will leave you wanting more. When you're not right there with Pelton on the razor's edge in situations with people who have lived anything but ordinary lives, he's briefing you on the historical background and causes behind the chaos, tragedy and insanity of these places.
I highly recommend this book if you are ready to visit to the dark side of human nature.
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on January 9, 2002
The book was not only a hell of a ride, but also had deep comments on the political situations that most of the developed countries often neglect due to lack of information. Pelton exposes some of the saddest situations in the world with an easy read that is captivating, exciting, and also eye opening.
For those of us who have always wanted to learn about what is going on in the world without the normal prejudices, this is the book. I don't have the money or the balls to do what he did, but I have always wanted to.
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