A Time of Madness


My wife Ashley found this book in Mobile. We loved the cover – hopelessly over the top title, apocalyptic organs sky and a crazed soldier to top the thing off. It just takes itself so damn seriously. Well, having read the thing, let me just summarise it as a sort of apartheid Tom Clancy.

Published in 1977 in Salisbury – the capital of Southern Rhodesia – this book is predictable and cliche-laden. There are two main characters, reminding me of 1993’s Without Remorse by Clancy; a young violent guy and an older guy who’s a bit brainier and works inside the power establishment.

Rhodesia – now Zimbabwe – was never internationally recognised, but left a legacy of racism and violence. It’s most infamous (all-white) units, the Rhodesian Light Infantry or Gray’s Scouts, was usually at the centre of things.

Robert Early was a trooper for the RLI. Need I say more?

It’s violent, sexist, and racist, but in a way that you would not really notice. It’s a crappy book, not really any more crappy then any pulp fiction book anywhere.

Interesting if interpreted as a historical document; a certain time and place. Terrible as a book.


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