British national Al Venter has written more than a dozen books on recent military history including War Dog: Fighting Other People's Wars on mercenaries as well as Gunship Ace (which covers the exploits of Neall Ellis, the world's most famous mercenary aviator). He spent much of his professional career reporting on wars for Jane's Information Group as well as for various news and photo agencies. These assignments ranged from visiting Beirut several times to cover the Lebanese civil war from the Christian side to a spate of African conflicts that included Biafra, South Africa's border wars, the Rhodesia insurgency, the Congo, Tanzania's invasion of Idi Amin's Uganda, Executive Outcomes mercenary operations in Angola and Sierra Leone and others. He was operational in El Salvador's guerrilla struggle and later, in the Balkans. At the behest of the CIA, he made a one-hour TV documentary on the Soviet offensive in Afghanistan in the mid-1980s. Venter has written three books on nuclear proliferation, including Iran's Nuclear Option and How South Africa Built Six Atom Bombs. He originally qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers at the Baltic Exchange in London.
"Al Venter can always be counted on to provide a good
read...Recommend this book for military professionals who do not
know Africa, helicopter pilots who enjoy a good tale and academics
concerned with the growth of private armies and contract
specialists in hotspots around the planet."--LTC( R ) Les Grau PhD,
Foreign Military Studies Office
"Ellis is clearly a superb pilot, and I can't imagine how he survived it all. Not just surviving the usual hazards when hostiles are trying to shoot you out of the air, but surviving the actual aircraft. . . . I couldn't wait to finish the book to see what happened to Ellis in the end. Surely he was killed somewhere long ago, but no! Neall Ellis is still out there, somewhere, flying who knows what airframe in some nasty hotspot."--Major Tony Vanchieri, USMC (ret.)
"From veteran International War Correspondent and author, Al J. Venter, we get a rare look into the profession and harrowing times of a talented pilot and gunship ace whose life reads more like an action/adventure novel than a carefully researched biography. Only this isn't fiction and the staggering risks and dangers Ellis faced time and again with daring and skill keep the story fast-paced and, well, I was going to say something trite like, entertaining. But the fact is, some parts of this story are flat out frightening... A fine tribute but then so is this book about a Gunship Ace and exceptional man who is still serving in combat zones today. This time it is in Afghanistan, where the legend and acclaim he never sought and was well earned, continues. "--Kregg P.J. Jorgenson, author of Acceptable Loss, LRRP Company Command, and Clubs Are Trumps- The Road From Plum Run.
"Written by renowned author and photojournalist, Al J. Venter, this book spotlights the career of a fascinating modern warrior, while also shedding light on some of the conflicts that have raged throughout the world behind the headlines."--Tucson Citizen