Originally published as Survival Course in 1999, now long out of print, Out of Action is a reworked and updated edition, the sequel to the best-selling Fireforce—one man’s war in the Rhodesian Light Infantry. The book is divided into two distinct parts:
Part 1, ‘War’, chronicles Chris Cocks’s final 16 months of combat in the Rhodesian bush war, as a stick leader in PATU, the Police Ant-Terrorist Unit. It is a time of unbelievable cruelty as the part-time white reservists battle overwhelming odds, without air support and … without a future, as Mugabe’s ZANLA guerrillas swamp the country in the build-up to independence in 1980.
Part 2, ‘Peace’, recounts the author’s painful adjustment to life as a civilian—a fifteen-year odyssey in the embryonic state of Zimbabwe. It is an intensely personal journey in which the author pulls no punches as he describes his clumsy attempts to come to terms with a) the new dispensation of black Africa and b) himself. It is a cri de couer, the story of a young man, brutalized by war, who seeks escape in alcohol and drugs, and who, in the process, causes immeasurable pain and suffering to those around him. These too are the casualties of war. Ultimately, though, it is a story of hope, of a man’s triumph over his own demons.
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