Rogue Heroes

Title:                      Rogue Heroes

Author:                 Ben MacIntyre

Macintyre, Ben (2016). Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain’s Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged The Nazis And Changed The Nature of War. New York : Crown

LCCN:    2016303874

D760.S59 M33 2016

Scope and content

  • “Britain’s Special Air Service–or SAS–was the brainchild of David Stirling, a young gadabout aristocrat with a remarkable strategic mind. Where his colleagues looked at a map of World War II’s African theater and saw a protracted struggle with Rommel’s desert forces, Stirling saw an opportunity: given a small number of elite, well-trained men, he could parachute behind Nazi lines and sabotage their airplanes and supplies. Paired with his constitutional opposite, the disciplined martinet Jock Lewes, Stirling assembled a revolutionary fighting force that would upend not just the balance of the war, but the nature of combat itself. Bringing his keen eye for psychological detail to a riveting wartime narrative, Ben Macintyre uses his unprecedented access to the SAS archives to shine a light on a legendary unit long shrouded in secrecy–one whose hard methods would influence contemporary special forces around the world. The result is not only a tremendous war story, but also a fascinating group portrait of men of whom history and country asked the most”–From front flap and publisher description.


  • Prologue: Into the dark — WAR IN THE DESERT — Cowboy soldier — L Detachment — Recruits — Into the desert — The Long Range Desert Group — Devil country — A party of ghosts — Blitz buggy — Benghazi bed-and-breakfast — Seven airfields — Mass sabotage at Sidi Haneish — Desert doctors — Quite, quite mad — Alamein — WAR IN EUROPE — Italy — Bulbasket — Houndsworth — An eye for an eye — Paddy McGinty’s goat — A predilection for risk — Battaglione Alleata — Into the Reich — Liberation — Who dares survives.



  • “Simultaneously published in the UK by Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House UK, and in Canada by Signal, an imprint of Random House Canada”–Title page verso.
  • British edition titled: SAS: Rogue Heroes: The Authorized Wartime Story.

Date Posted:      April 27, 2017

Reviewed in The Intelligencer[1]

Macintyre describes the founding and operations of the British Army’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) regiment during WWII. He captures the bravery and the sheer audaciousness of the SAS troopers and their leadership operating hundreds ;gullies behind enemy lines, and also illuminates their faults, including failed operations, lack of discipline, and drunkenness. Even in a global war, a few talented, imaginative, and bold individuals of junior rank can have a major impact.

[1] The Intelligencer (22, 2, Fall 2016, p. 140 )

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