BOOKS: SAVE THE LAST BULLET FOR YOURSELF: A Soldier of Fortune in the Balkans and Somalia

A Real deal book about Mercenaries, Private Military Companies (PMC) and Civilian Contracting

Our Foreign Correspondent Rob Krott sent me a copy of the book  he wrote about the time he spent as a mercenary and contractor in the 90’s; “SAVE THE LAST BULLET FOR YOURSELF: A Soldier of Fortune in the Balkans and Somalia”.

As a big fan of books about modern Mercenaries, Private Military Companies (PMC) and Civilian Contracting I have been quite disappointed with the rash of so called mercenary and civilian contractor books that have been released lately.

Pretty much all of them are written by an observer or war tourist who would spend a week or two in a war zone and then proclaim themselves “experts” or an “authority” on the contracting and private soldiering business then write a book.

That’s why reading Rob Krott’s book was a breath of fresh air amongst the poser PMC books – this book was written by someone that actually did what he wrote about. For those of you that don’t know about Rob Krott he is the former Chief Foreign Correspondent for Soldier of Fortune Magazine and has been writing about the Mercenary, Private Military Company (PMC) and Civilian Contracting business for quite some time.

The book covers his adventures starting from his time spent as an Army captain in the US and follows him as he joins the Croat Defense Force in the Balkans, then works as a civilian contractor in Somalia then back to the Balkans with a few other adventures in-between.

Krott doesn’t hold back any punches when talking about his former mercenary brethren (a mix of scumbags, criminals, liars and occasional squared away guy) or his former contractor employer when he was working in Somalia (an incompetent company only worried about making a buck).

If you are interested in reading a book about Mercenaries, Private Military Companies (PMC) and Civilian Contracting that is the real deal the I highly recommend  “SAVE THE LAST BULLET FOR YOURSELF: A Soldier of Fortune in the Balkans and Somalia”

SAVE THE LAST BULLET FOR YOURSELF: A Soldier of Fortune in the Balkans and Somalia at Amazon.com >>>

You can read a little more about Rob Krott and his book on his website: www.robkrott.com

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~James G
Founder – Editor in Chief

James G is a Veteran Civilian Contractor who has worked in the Middle East and Southeast Asia for way too long. He spends his off time in Indonesia and Virginia getting drunk, shooting guns and writing poorly written articles.

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38 thoughts on “BOOKS: SAVE THE LAST BULLET FOR YOURSELF: A Soldier of Fortune in the Balkans and Somalia”

  1. Awesome. Don’t know how I missed this book. I was in the Balkans a few years ago and it’s still backwards now. I can only imagine how it was back then. Fascinating area-the 1900′s started and finished in that little known region of the world, both with wars. I’m gonna order this today.

    James, you read “My War Gone By, I Miss It So” by Anthony Loyd? Same place, same time frame. Gritty and poetic.

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  2. I’m reading this book now. I’m about halfway through it and I have to say I agree it’s a great book.

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  3. it reminds me of the books that showed up on SOF ads, during the Rhodesian war era.

    tomahawk

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  4. Expatriated,

    I read “My War Gone By, I Miss It So” in early 2001. It’s a very interesting book about the fighting in the Balkans. I really didn’t appreciate it until I had actually spent sometime in a war zone as a Marine.

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  5. I’ll definitely be picking this up. It’s on the Amazon wish list…

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  6. James, you read “My War Gone By, I Miss It So” by Anthony Loyd? Same place, same time frame. Gritty and poetic.

    No, but I will look it up and grab a copy

    ~James G

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  7. Eeben Barlow is supposedly writing a book about Executive Outcomes (EO).

    http://eebenbarlowsmilitaryandsecurityblog.blogspot.com/

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  8. James, what did you think of “Licensed to Kill” by Robert Young Pelton? I know he is not a contractor himself, but it does seem like he has put some time in, in various hellholes. He’s the only non-military guy I have ever put stock in, writing about the 3rd world.

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  9. James,
    Thanks for the plug, brother!

    I mention Lloyd’s book in my preface (because I had an editor at a major house say “Why can’t you be more introspective and philosophical like Lloyd… and more “non-violent” in the book” LOL.

    My response was I’m not going to go out and become a heroin addict to push the book! And that’s the problem I had with Lloyd. He was an ex Infantry officer like myself, but where we differed was he was a junkie and a failed journo who went there to make a name for himself.

    Everyone in publishing thought it was “sexy” that he did heroin. Go figure.

    Anyways… thanks again for mentioning my book, and if anyone wants a signed bookplate to paste onto the frontis page, let me know via my website.

    Rob

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  10. James, what did you think of “Licensed to Kill” by Robert Young Pelton?

    I have no thoughts about it

    Eeben Barlow is supposedly writing a book about Executive Outcomes (EO)

    Yep – I am totally looking forward to Barlow’s book, He is a living legend

    “Why can’t you be more introspective and philosophical like Lloyd… and more “non-violent” in the book”LOL. My response was I’m not going to go out and become a heroin addict to push the book!

    All great writers were junkies or drunks – I am not a great writer but I have the drunk thing down – lol

    My all time favorite writer was Hunter S – a drunk and junkie, I hope to be just like him someday

    So grab a needle and 40 of ya want to make that NYT bestsellers list Rob – hahahahaa…

    .Anyways… thanks again for mentioning my book, and if anyone wants a signed bookplate to paste onto the frontis page, let me know via my website.;

    Sweet offer dude!

    And no problem on the review, I really enjoyed and related to it unlike other PMC (I observed and reported) books

    ~James G

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  11. A very good and entertaining read.

    Kind Regards
    Brian Kroon

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  12. My all time favorite writer was Hunter S

    Doesn’t get much better than HST. That would have been awesome to be friends with that guy. He could have called you up at 2 am to come over to his house and shoot shotguns out the back door with Warren Zevon passed out on the couch.

    I’m a huge Hemingway fan, too.

    Looking forward to Rob’s book.

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  13. Was mixed up down there same time Rib was. He pretty much nailed it on the head as far as the state of combatants during that time frame.

    Knew Loyd too. Decent enough kid, a bit mixed up I suppose. The place affected different people different ways.

    My experience was mixed. I still like the place. And maybe strange to say, but I miss those times.

    J

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  14. Was mixed up down there same time Rib was. He pretty much nailed it on the head as far as the state of combatants during that time frame.Knew Loyd too. Decent enough kid, a bit mixed up I suppose. The place affected different people different ways.My experience was mixed. I still like the place. And maybe strange to say, but I miss those times.J  (Quote This Comment)

    I >Yep – I am totally looking forward to Barlow’s book, He is a living legend >

    Executive Outcomes
    Against all Odds
    (Soft-cover – 3rd Edition)
    by Eeben Barlow

    DUE APRIL 2010

    Eeben Barlow a former lieutenant-colonel in the Permanent Force of the South African Defence Force, served in the Engineer Corp, the Reconnaissance Wing of the elite 32-Battalion, Military Intelligence and in the shadowy Civil Co-operation Bureau division of Special Forces.

    When the government arbitrarily disbanded the CCB Barlow found himself on the street. Taking advantage of his exceptional military skills he formed Executive Outcomes, a private company under whose aegis he was invited to train the SADF’s Special Forces in intelligence skills and to stem the flow of stolen diamonds from the De Beers Corporation’s properties.

    He was then invited to recruit a force of ex-servicemen retrenched from the SADF to assist an oil company in the recovery of equipment that they had been forced to abandon at Soyo in north-western Angola after it was overrun by UNITA rebels. EO’s successes resulted in a contract to re-train the Angolan army and lead it in a fight to defeat the UNITA rebels.

    A contract to restore order in Sierra Leone and other like contracts followed, including one to rescue Western hostages taken by separatist rebels in Indonesia.

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  15. James, what did you think of “Licensed to Kill” by Robert Young Pelton?I know he is not a contractor himself, but it does seem like he has put some time in, in various hellholes.He’s the only non-military guy I have ever put stock in, writing about the 3rd world.  

    I know the comment was addressed to James, so forgive my jumping in… BUT -
    I used to think highly of Pelton but after he pretty well alienated a WHOLE lot of grunts in ‘Stan during his visit there – you can find the sordid details online by Googling – I haven’t had much use for the guy. Just one guy’s opinion. Semper Fi.

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  16. BTW – the title of the book…. is it coincidental that it reminds one of the last line of Kipling’s poem ? In tribute to the lovely muslime practice of the women coming out to butcher and disembowel any soldiers who were still breathing after a firefight, he wrote -
    “When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    An’ go to your Gawd like a soldier.”

    Good writing, but chilling!

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  17. I know the comment was addressed to James, so forgive my jumping in… BUT -
    I used to think highly of Pelton but after he pretty well alienated a WHOLE lot of grunts in ‘Stan during his visit there – you can find the sordid details online by Googling

    What search terms are you using?

    ~James G

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    1. James -
      here are a couple of the links as I first encountered them; one was sent by a son of a friend who is still there, the others have ‘dialogues’ between Pelton and critics, so the reader can draw his or her own conclusions…
      http://www.mensjournal.com/armyresponse

      http://zeroanthropology.net/2009/02/24/questions-and-allegations-about-robert-young-peltons-reporting-on-a-human-terrain-team-in-afghanistan/

      and – drumroll -

      http://www.soldiersperspective.us/2009/02/19/the-unraveling-of-pelton/

      The last one in interesting… if you totally dismiss the rather
      ( obviously) irritated tone of the post itself and just read the comments that follow, you glean a few insights to the overall nature of the controversy.
      Hope this helps!!
      Semper Fi and all the best -

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  18. What search terms are you using?~James G  

    Yeah, I’d like to know as well. The only thing I seem to be able to find is this article;

    http://www.mensjournal.com/new-war-for-hearts-and-minds
    http://www.mensjournal.com/armyresponse

    That the Army brass took issue with. Then again, Army brass tend to be unhappy with journos doing anything other than fluff pieces, on their new pet projects, so that doesn’t really turn me off to Pelton. If there is something else, please post links.

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  19. Just wanted to get the Kindle version: not avaiable for customers in Europe… :-(

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  20. What about the print version?

    ~James G

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  21. Yes, I can always order this.

    But, why wait several weeks and pay a premium for shipping, when I *could* read it on my Kindle if there is already a Kindle version???

    What about the print version?~James G  

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  22. Great book! Refreshingly honest and candid.

    P.S. Robert Young Pelton is a douchebag.

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    1. @ Witchfinder=
      RE : Pelton :
      You are totally on target.
      Fire for effect.

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  23. James,

    Have you ever read any of Al J. Venter’s stuff? One of his better books is called. WAR DOG: Fighting Other People’s Wars: The Modern Mercenary in Combat.

    http://www.amazon.com/WAR-DOG-Fighting-Peoples-Mercenary/dp/1932033092/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1307430270&sr=8-5

    If you have not read it I think / hope you will enjoy it. Real good stuff. Talks about one of my favorite figures, Neall Ellis former pilot for Rhodesia / South Africa both fixed wing and helicopter experience under his belt.

    Please do continue with the short write ups about other books of interest. Think these are a great addition to the other regular posts here.

    Got the book talked about in th article on order and am looking forward to it.

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    1. Al Venter is a good friend and mentor. He has some new books out since War Dog, also.
      Barrel of a Gun: A War Correspondent’s Misspent Moments in Combat
      http://www.amazon.com/BARREL-GUN-Correspondents-Misspent-Moments/dp/1935149253/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307556524&sr=1-1

      and
      GUNSHIP ACE: The Wars of Neall Ellis, Gunship Pilot and Mercenary
      http://www.amazon.com/GUNSHIP-ACE-Neall-Gunship-Mercenary/dp/1612000703/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1307556597&sr=1-1

      Ellis flew missions in Sierra Leone for Executive Outcomes in his own HIND D … and continued to do so on a contract basis …

      They (War Dog, Barrel of a Gun, Gunship Ace) are all from Casemate, which is my publisher also.

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  24. Thank you for the reply it is much appreciated! I actually have that second book of his that you mentioned in my current possesion. Will look into that book on Neall Ellis, thank you for the link.

    Ill have to check with a friend in South Africa if there were any other books specifically on him published there.

    A gem he helped me accquire was “The War For Africa – by Fred Bridgeland” i do belive
    Apologies on no link am doing this up from a mobile device. But the book is a highly fascinating look into a conflict in a part of the world that is rarely spoken about in the us.

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    1. Ken, if you google Al Venter you will find a south African website with several of his books. heres’ another site: http://www.allbookstores.com/Al-J-Venter/author
      Amazon carries about 6 of them… I have an old first edition of Portugal’s Guerrilla War… you can get the out of print stuff via http://www.abebooks.com

      I don’t think anything else has been published on Ellis… he’s been mentioned in a few books… but Venter’s will be the definitive account as he and Ellis are close friends and Al has flown missions with him.

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      1. Rob, cheers for the information. I just went and picked up a copy of that Portugal’s Guerrilla War. A few other titles of his that are on my shelf were there too.

        The book store in south africa that im friendly with is the following
        http://www.goodbooks.co.za/Latest%20News.html
        Have done business with him multiple times and orders always came through. Real stand up guy. Got my copy of Pamwe Chete from him when it was harder to
        find in the US.

        Will browse the links you sent further snd thank you once again for them!

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        1. Ken,
          I’ll blatantly and unabashedly brag and say my copy of Pamwe Chete was inscribed / signed by Uncle Ron (Col Ron Reid Daly) and handed to me in person…

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          1. Haha ok you win, dont think i can get even close to beating that one.

            On another note how did you like that Executive Outcomes Against All Odds book? Didnt get the chance to read mine yet since chose to take the barrel of a gun book with me. Havent met anyone else yet that has read the book yet and would be greatful to hear any opinions.

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            1. http://www.rhodesia.nl/bridglan.htm

              Got a link with info about that war for africa book by fred bridgeland.

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              1. I have a stack of books at home to pick up next time i’m CONUS…
                First on the list is Barlow’s book…then Babrazon (sp) “My Friend the Mercenary”
                I recommend a book (e-book) out soon by “Simon Chambers” – a good friend. I hooked him up with Bob Kasper (RIP) and got him hired on as first non-US operator in the sandbox for BW … He’s written a book on his time with Erinys after that. “Keepers of the Gateway to Hell” — i’m reading the galleys right now. I’ll be posting a review here when it’s published.

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                1. Thank you for the reading suggestions once again Rob. Will most def. check them out eps. the ebook title once its released. Hope that it will be available for the android platform.

                  Ive seen that book my friend the mercenary unfortunately did not pick it up. Thats the one which talks about Nick du Toit right? If so am going to put it on the list.

                  While not on the topic of books ever watched the documentary Shadow Company? Had checked it out after seeing that there was an appearance by Neall Ellis in it.

                  http://www.shadowcompanythemovie.com/

                  Spoken with the director and hes a pretty nice guy.

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                  1. Sorry for late reply., Yep, have Shadow Company on DVD. Nick is a good guy. I was asked to participate in that but politely refused. Would have caused problems with employment.

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  25. Thanks for the heads-up on this book James. Mr. Krott, I got the book 2 days ago and have barely been able to put it down. I should finish it up tonight. I have really loved it so far. With all of your in-depth commentary on the places you have been, I feel like I have been in the Balkans for the last two days. I also have to say that all the small-arms porn, even in text form, was a very welcome surprise, and has had me googling for pictures of a lot of the arms that I was unfamiliar with.

    Really enjoying it, thanks.

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  26. Church,

    sorry for late reply. glad you liked the book. write me through my website: http://www.robkrott.com and I will send you a signed numbered bookplate for it.

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