In a fly-blown bar in West Africa, war reporter James Brabazon found himself discussing military plans to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea with one of Africa’s most notorious mercenaries - his friend Nick du Toit. The Byzantine plot, its farcical execution and its tragic consequences led to Simon Mann and a host of celebrated guns-for-hire falling victim to their own avaricious plans, Machiavellian scheming and perverse double-crosses. In a twist of fate, James Brabazon remained free. His mercenary friend wasn’t as lucky. Nick du Toit was supposed to serve thirty-four years in Black Beach Prison, Africa's most notorious jail - a sentence which James could have been serving alongside him. Their unlikely friendship began two years earlier on the bloody battlefields of the Liberian civil war. With Nick as his bodyguard, James was the only journalist to film behind rebel lines. Establishing him as a brave and talented filmmaker, the war tested James’s physical and moral boundaries to the limit – and opened a door onto a dangerous world of mercenaries, spies and violent regime change. My Friend The Mercenary recounts James's courageous journey into the Liberian war, and tell the inside story of the most infamous coup attempt in recent history. Through this gripping narrative, James Brabazon explodes the myth of the modern mercenary; and paints a moving portrait of an extraordinary friendship. It is a brutally honest book about what it takes to be a journalist, survivor and friend in the morally corrosive crucible of war.
The fog of war, informational and moral, permeates this adrenalized memoir of Africa's dirty wars and the men who fight them. British documentarian Brabazon entered Liberia in 2002 to film rebel forces in that country's civil war, taking along bodyguard Nick du Toit, a mercenary and former soldier in South Africa's apartheid-era army. Worlds apart politically, the two men bond amid the savage conflict in one excruciating scene, Brabazon films rebels cannibalizing a prisoner as the author comes to depend on and admire his tough, courageous companion. Nick joins a byzantine conspiracy to overthrow the government of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea and invites Brabazon to film the prospective coup, a proposal that crosses the boundaries of journalistic ethics, though it strongly appeals to Brabazon's lust for adventure and cash. His postmortem on the plot's disastrous outcome, with its cast of shadowy financiers, rival intelligence agencies, and soldiers of fortune, reads like a political thriller. Brabazon's searing narrative captures both the allure of war the rush of danger, the deep camaraderie, the get-rich-quick mirages and its brutal realities. It's both a seductive paean to and a harsh expos of the mercenary ethos that fattens off of Africa's travails.
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Can't stop reading
Is a documentary but feels like a novel. Once you start it, you just can't stop reading...