My Friend the Mercenary

My Friend the Mercenary

by James Brabazon
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My Friend the Mercenary by James Brabazon

In February 2002, British journalist James Brabazon set out to travel with guerrilla forces into Liberia to show the world what was happening in that war-torn country. To protect him, he hired Nick du Toit, a former South African Defence Force soldier who had fought in conflicts across Africa for over three decades. What follows is an incredible behind-the-scenes account of the Liberian rebels—known as the LURD—as they attempt to seize control of the country from government troops led by President Charles Taylor. Brabazon takes his readers into enemy jungles, following a group of LURD rebels—led by Sekou Conneh, a former used-car salesman; Brigadier-General Deku, the senior field commander; and a tough twenty-seven-year-old Brigadier General dubbed Dragon Master—as they attempt to change their nation's fate. The men must deal with limited supplies—in the midst of firefights they are forced to retreat as they run out of bullets—and battle not only opposition forces but extreme heat, hunger, and sheer exhaustion.

Brabazon's friendship with Nick opens a door to a dangerous world of mercenaries, spies, and violent regime change. Nick invites James to film a coup to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea. In a story line out of a Frederick Forsyth novel, a group of mercenaries, intelligence operatives, and international financiers plot to fly a plane full of hired guns to this tiny West African nation fabulously rich in oil—but the plot goes awry. The mercenaries are arrested, and Nick is sentenced to serve thirty-four years in Black Beach prison, Africa's most notorious jail. In a twist of fate, Brabazon remained free.

In this gripping narrative, James Brabazon paints a brilliant portrait of the chaos that tore West Africa apart: nations run by warlords and kleptocrats, rebels fighting to displace them, ordinary people caught in the crossfire—and everywhere adventurers and mercenaries operating in war's dark shadows. It is also a brutally honest book about what it takes to be a journalist, survivor, and friend in this morally corrosive crucible.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781847674418
Publisher: Canongate Books
Publication date: 07/28/2011
Pages: 457

About the Author

James Brabazon is a frontline journalist and documentary filmmaker. Based in London, he has travelled in over sixty countries - investigating, photographing, filming and directing in the world's most hostile environments. His awards include the Rory Peck Trust Sony International Impact Award 2003, the Rory Peck Trust Freelancer's Choice Award 2003, the IDA Courage Under Fire Award 2004 and the IDFA Joris Ivens Competition Special Jury Award 2004. He has also been nominated for two BAFTAs and two Emmys. He has made thirty international current affairs films broadcast by the BBC, Channel 4, CNN, SABC and the Discovery Channel. He lecturers on the ethics and practicalities of journalism in war zones and has written for the Observer, the Independent and the Guardian.

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My Friend the Mercenary 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
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JEisenberg More than 1 year ago
an intense edge of your seat read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GAN More than 1 year ago
The more I read, the less I liked the author. First, he had no objectivity during his filming. He prearranged to give reports to intelligence services. So this should be a reason why a military should never allow press to be imbedded. Second this guy spoke about fear like he was a baby. If you are gonna get scared, don't go into a wAr zone. I then wondered why an experienced military man would hang around a guy like the author...something else must have been going on not covered in the book. The author films death, young kids getting killed and then profits from it by selling his work to the media. He also glorifies in getting awards for his filming. Ok to fill time reading in an airport, but really nothing special here.