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The End of Empire: Cyprus: A Soldier's Story

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The End of Empire: Cyprus: A Soldier's Story.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Martin Bell(Author)

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Martin Bell, the former BBC war reporter and Independent MP, served as a soldier in the British army in Cyprus in the late 1950s during the EOKA rebellion against British rule, and recently he discovered the letters he had written home during the conflict. They describe road blocks and cordons and searches, murders and explosions and riots - and a strategy of armed repression that failed. Now, almost sixty years later, he has used these letters to write The End of Empire. His narrative is a powerful personal account of the violent process of decolonization, of the character of the British army at the time and the impact of National Service on young men who were not much more than 'kids in uniform'. He also gives a graphic insight into the futility of the use of force in wars among the people and reveals, for the first time, the true story of the insurgency and the campaign to defeat it, for recently declassified documents show that the army commanders adopted misguided tactics that served only to strengthen support for their enemy.

Martin Bell, OBE is a former BBC war reporter and Independent MP who is now a British UNICEF ambassador. After leaving school he served as a national serviceman and was posted to Cyprus during the emergency. He then took an English degree at Cambridge and joined the BBC where he established a reputation as a leading war reporter coving conflicts in Vietnam, the Middle East, Nigeria, Angola, Northern Ireland and the Balkans. After leaving the BBC he was elected as the Independent MP for Tatton. His books include In Harm's Way, An Accidental MP, Through Gates of Fire, The Truth That Sticks and A Very British Revolution.

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Book details

  • PDF | 224 pages
  • Martin Bell(Author)
  • Pen & Sword Military (24 Jun. 2015)
  • English
  • 9
  • Biography

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Review Text

  • By Norman Kirby on 20 September 2017

    This is a fascinating story of a soldier's life in the troubles in Cyprus generated by the demand for Enosis and the the constant dangers of Eoka. I was a surgeon with the Paras during this period in 1958 and dealt with many of of the casualties that our troops sustained. It was stimulating to read of the high morale of our troops despite the constant drill and fatigues they underwent. I was pleased to read that despite the vicissitudes of active service life he realises how very un-miserable his service had been. The subsequent research he has made into the service and political background he made I found very enlightening.Having enjoyed many of his articles I consider this book was of his usual high standard and should be read by all of the military services who were present in Cyprus at that time. And those in power who ordered them there. There are lessons to be leant by those in power now.

  • By Ocadcollection on 1 November 2015

    The Cyprus Emergency was a complicated “domestic” affair that saw its climax in 1959. During the early postwar period Britain's empire was in steady decline, due to the financial burdens of two world wars and various growing nationalist movements sweeping across the globe. With the creation of Israel in 1948 Cyprus's strategic military importance was not longer as pivitol, however H. M. Government remained reluctant to relinquish colonial rule. This lead to the rise of the Greek Cypriot's EOKA organisation, and their goal of independence, which together with clashes against the Turkish Cypriots resulted in a tense atmosphere that would eventually reach boiling point.End of Empire is one man's perspective of the Emergency. Martin Bell MP and veteran television journalist served out his national service as a private soldier in the Suffolk Regiment, just prior to Britain's withdrawal. Through revealing personal letters to his family back home and recently declassified government papers, Bell paints a vivid picture of the political sabre rattling and military operations of the British Colonial Government, and the Greek and Turkish Cypriots.This publication covers a topic overshadowed by other major events in British history, and so in this respect it is a valuable addition to any modern military historian's library. The closing chapters of the British empire were in most cases volatile, and those sacrifices made by military personnel and civil servants deserve to be read about and remembered.What makes Mr Bell's offering particularly unique is not only his writing style and humour, but his first hand experiences and uncensored observations, combined with his thorough research of the “conflict” some sixty years later. His book also offers an insight into the life of a National Serviceman in an established regiment, so close to its amalgamation. Private Bell's soldering days in a large standing army would soon be a thing of the past, as would Britain's reputation as a global superpower.Hardback with an attractive dust cover showing the 19 year old Bell, the book's first impression was positive and it did not disappoint. At 203 pages it is a fair size and weight, making it reader friendly, while its chapters have been laid out in a chronological order. A central black & white image section also serves to re-enforce the book's contents.I enjoyed End of Empire - The Cyprus Emergency: a soldier's story. It was an interesting and informative read on a subject of which I had no prior knowledge, and I especially appreciated Mr Bell's humour and retrospect analysis of his letters. The photo section is a valuable addition to the text, although it would have been nice to see more images of the key personalities involved in the Emergency, however this is a personal wish and does by no means whatsoever detract from the book. It certainly holds its own on my book shelf and is recommended reading.

  • By Lizzie D on 17 January 2016

    Very good story about this journalist's time as a national serviceman.

  • By War Horse on 22 July 2015

    Martin Bell's wonderfully sublime view of his national service in Cyprus during the guerrilla war while it was being fought there in 1957-58 is smart, original and very funny. His warm, witty observations on army life as a corporal in the Suffolk Regiment are among the best since Kipling--even his own ditties. Not long ago, Bell found a box of letters he had written home at the time. From them, he gleaned the raw material for his mature reflections on the anti-colonial war in Cyprus, his somewhat jaundiced view of officers and NCOs at the time, and the makings of his future as a war correspondent for the BBC. I found it an engaging, delightful read.

  • By Roger Walker on 4 August 2015

    A very interesting book however it is of more interest to someone who knows the history of Cyprus or served there during the emergency, as I did. As expected of a man with such media experience the book is well crafted and obviously well researched. I will now read more of his books.

  • By Peter H on 14 August 2017

    I was in Cyprus as a National serviceman in the mid-1950s. This book, beautifully written, tells it as it was, at all levels

  • By Adrian Pearson on 3 June 2017

    My father, a Cyprus veteran really loved this book.

  • By Peter Foreman on 25 August 2015

    Interesting inside on dealing with an uprising against foreign rule


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