Catalogue - New Works (Ficton & non-ficton)
The Silent War:
South African Recce operations 1969 - 1994
by Peter Stiff
Size - 242x168mm, 608 pages, 24 pp b/w and colour illustrations.
ISBN 0 620 24300 7 - hardcover
ISBN 1 919864 04 5 - softcover
|This amazing book tells not only the story of South Africas special forces, it has also been described as the most important and frank history of South Africa itself during the apartheid years. It is also the most illuminating book on special forces published anywhere. Not only does Stiff deal with military operations but he also explains the political dynamics that prompted them.|
|It is wide ranging and covers the first
counter-insurgency operations in Namibia in 1966, a
commando raid on Dare-es-Salaam, the Fox Street Siege,
South Africas intervention into Angola in 1975 and
subsequent pull-out, the rise of insurgency in
Moçambique, South Africas reentry into Angola,
strikes against SWAPO bases in Zambia, the training and
assistance to UNITA, the fight against ZANLA and ZIPRA in
Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and how the Recces staffed
Rhodesias D Squadron SAS, the fall of
Rhodesia, how the SAS and Selous Scouts were reformed as
Recce units in South Africa, the selection and training
of special forces, the raid against the ANC at Matola in
Moçambique, South African assistance to RENAMO and Recce
operations in Moçambique, Lesotho, Cabinda, Botswana and
Zambia. It also deals in detail with the final days of
apartheid South Africa and explains how close the country
was to a right-wing coup detat.
It was a book that should not have been published. In 1986 Peter Stiff was invited by the Chief SADF to write a history of the Recces, but two years later when it was found that he had discovered far more about secret operations than intended, permission was withdrawn and he was threatened with prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. He had to wait until after the 1994 elections before he could again pick up his pen.
The Silent War is the result, but it is well worth the long wait.
The press raved about this astonishing book:
Peter Stiff is acknowledged as the foremost writer on the counter-insurgency war in southern Africa.... It is clear The Silent War could only be published after the emergence of democratic rule in 1994.... In essence the book reveals the impact of what was really a rather small group of soldiers. They left a swathe of devastation across southern Africa, the cost of which the region is still paying....
Sunday Tribune and Saturday Argus - Durban and Cape Town
Stiff's research is impressive. He challenges the trite and misleading fallacy that South Africa's elite soldiers were unintelligent, deranged thugs, hell-bent on killing, raping and pillaging.... an astonishing weath of detail about Special Forces operations.
Eastern Province Herald - Port Elizabeth
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