Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Defining Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan

Author(s): Toby Harnden


This is the gripping story of the men of the Welsh Guards and their bloody battle for survival in Afghanistan in 2009. Underequipped and overstretched, they found themselves in the most intense fighting the British had experienced in a generation. They were led into battle by Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Thorneloe, a passionate believer in the justness of the war who was deeply dismayed by the way it was being resourced and conducted. Thorneloe was killed by an IED during Operation Panther's Claw, the biggest operation mounted by the British in Helmand. Dead Men Risen draws on secret documents written by Thorneloe, which raise questions from beyond the grave that will unnerve politicians and generals alike. The Welsh Guards also lost Major Sean Birchall, commanding officer of IX Company, and Lieutenant Mark Evison, a platoon commander whose candid personal diary was unnervingly prophetic. Not since the Second World War had a single British battalion lost officers at the three key levels of leadership. Harnden transports the reader into the heart of a conflict in which a soldier has to be prepared to kill and die, to ward off paralysing fear and watch comrades perish in agony. Given unprecedented access to the Welsh Guards, Harnden conducted hundreds of interviews in Afghanistan, England and Wales. He weaves the experiences of the guardsmen and the loved ones they left behind into a seamless and unsparing narrative that sits alongside a piercing analysis of the political and military strategy. No other book about modern warfare succeeds on so many levels.


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'The best book so far on Britain's military adventure in Afghanistan ... Dead Men Risen will stand as a true, unsparing record of what happened there' - Patrick Bishop, author of 3 PARA. 'Dead Men Risen dilutes the saccharine perception of soldiering and replaces it with the gritty and gruesome reality of war' - Patrick Hennessey, author of The Junior Officer's Book Club. 'So vividly rendered that one can almost smell the sweat, the cordite and the acrid scent of fear' - Daily Mail. 'An intimate portrait of the Welsh Guards battle group in action ... In what may be uncomfortable and unwelcome reading for some of those involved, Harnden is quite unsparing in his description of war' - Sunday Times. 'Desperately moving ... Dead Men Risen is a serious work, far removed from the blood-and-thrills of the Bravo Two Zero school of military literary campaigning. Such books may grip but they do not engage. Harnden's does both' - Spectator. 'Has the flavour of an epic ... This is a rich and multilayered story' - Daily Telegraph. 'It's sometimes easy to forget that we are a country at war. This book serves to remind us that its chaos, brutality and horror is gilded with courage and honour ... a superb analysis of the bitterest fighting of the Afghan War' - Western Mail. 'Unputdownable ... No one who has read Harnden's book could fail to feel angry and bitter about the hopelessness of the task facing our troops in Afghanistan ... you are left feeling utterly unworthy that such selfless, dedicated, courageous people are fighting on our behalf' - James Delingpole.

Toby Harnden is a veteran foreign correspondent who has reported from all over the world. He has covered the Welsh Guards in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan over the past fifteen years. His last book was the critically-acclaimed bestseller Bandit Country: The IRA & South Armagh (1999). Harnden currently lives in Washington DC, where he is the US Editor of the Daily Telegraph.

General Fields

  • : 9781849164238
  • : Quercus Publishing Plc
  • : Quercus Publishing Plc
  • : December 2011
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Toby Harnden
  • : Paperback
  • : 400