Barrel of a Gun

Publication date:
September 2010
Publisher :
Casemate Publishers
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ISBN : 9781935149255

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Anybody who says that the pen is mightier than the sword hasn't spent time in Somalia, or in Beirut during its bloody heyday. So begins this fascinating memoir of a journalist, filmmaker, and just plain raconteur who has made a career of examining warfare-on the ground as the bullets are flying. While the average citizen is aware of violent conflicts broiling all around the globe, Al J. Venter has felt the need to see them all in person, preferably at the centre of the action. Born in South Africa, Venter has found no shortage of horrific battles on his own continent, from Rhodesia to Biafra, and Angola to Somalia. He has ridden with the legendary mercenary group Executive Outcomes, flown with the Selous Scouts on their bounty hunts,' and traipsed the jungles with both guerrillas and national troops under whoever in the country then held power. During Sierra Leone's civil war he flew in the government's lone Mi-24 Hind gunship as it blasted apart rebel villages and convoys. In the Middle-east he went into southern Lebanon with the invading Israeli army, and at one point was held prisoner by Hezbollah. In his journeys, Venter associated with an array of similarly daring soldiers and journalists, from Mad MikeA" Hoare to Danny Pearl, as well as elite soldiers from around the world, many of whom, he sadly relates, never emerged from the war zones they entered. Al Venter here offers the reader his own personal combat experiences, in all their multifaceted fascination.