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Publisher's Summary

It is difficult to find another soldier's story to equal Captain Darrell Watt's in terms of time spent on the field of battle and challenges faced. Even by the lofty standards of the SAS and Special Forces, one has to look far to find anyone who can match his record of resilience and valor in the face of such daunting odds and with resources so paltry.

In the fight, he showed himself to be a military maestro. A bush-lore genius, blessed with uncanny instincts and an unbridled determination to close with the enemy, he had no peers as a combat-tracker (and there was plenty of competition). But the Rhodesian theater was a fluid and volatile one in which he performed in almost every imaginable fighting role.

After 12 years in the cauldron of war, his cause slipped from beneath him, and Rhodesia gave way to Zimbabwe. When the guns went quiet, Watt had won all his battles but lost the war. In this fascinating biography, we learn that in his twilight years, he is now concerned with saving wildlife on a continent where they are in continued danger and devoting himself to both the fauna and African people he cares so deeply about.

©2015 Hannes Wessels (P)2017 Tantor

What listeners say about A Handful of Hard Men

Average Customer Ratings
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic Story- Title says it all... Hard Men

What a story! The book is not for the lighthearted. Tells the story from the perspective of the Rhodesian SAS, which some may find objectionable philosophically, and in deed. However, it also reveals the other side of the events-- the complicity of neighbors, the role of South Africa, Cuba, the Soviet Union and the UK/US/UN. Like the sinking of the Titanic we know the ending, but with a continuing vengeful twist not envisioned by the world players.

As the book progressed I grew accustomed to the narrator's slow reading and lack of inflection.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great story but poor choice in narrator

The narrator does an excellent job of reading this book. He has a clear voice, great pacing and you can tell he's a professional.

BUT he is an American narrating a book about Southern Africa, and I can't get over how many names and words were mispronounced throughout this book.

It seriously detracts from the authenticity of the piece when the narrator mispronounces so many of the names and words.

I am a South African, born and bred, and I can't understand why the company who hired the narrator didn't use a narrator who is FROM Southern Africa.

The book is great but as someone who grew up in the region and understands the culture and nuances of the history and people, I can say with certainty that the narration negatively impacts the authenticity of the book.

3 people found this helpful

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The audiobook that I have read twice

This is the only audiobook that I have bought that I listened to and finished and then turned around and listened to again right afterwards, and I have listened to many audiobooks. The narrator was great and didn’t talk to fast. I really enjoyed the part about Luke in Mozambique. It is really a shame that there are no other audiobooks about the Rhodesian Bush War available because it was about the only “just war” that a country in the Anglosphere has fought since WW2, and it was sabotaged by the elites of London and DC . RHODESIANS NEVER DIE!

3 people found this helpful

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A Handful of Great Stories

This was an excellent conglomeration of stories from the Rhodesian SAS. Narration, not so lively.

3 people found this helpful

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Don't be deterred by the readers voice - a great book.

An incredible account of a less known conflict, however they couldn't have picked a less enthusiastic bloke with worse pronunciation to read it.

5 people found this helpful

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Exceptional story telling

Loved the book. It goes into very good detail which keeps you hooked. Sad story about how a country was sold out by the Brits, shame on Thatcher, kerrington and the rest of the vile Brits.

2 people found this helpful

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Magnificent Book....Pathetic Naration

Absolutely Terrible Naration! So sad that this great book/story is ruined by a narator who can not correctly pronounce the names of these great men, the places and locations refered to or the common Southern African items and expressions. Disrespectful!!! The monotone and speech devoit of all passion and emotion ruins what could be a riveting book.

The writing, story, comments and facts are so well told and represented. It was great to relive memories out if my youth..... and inevitably to suffer the sadness and emotions of the tragic outcome of this brave and honorouble struggle.

Do not miss out on reading this incredible book but get the hard copy or Kindle version.

1 person found this helpful

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Thank you Hannes Wessels

This is a most remarkable tale of such casual heroism that very few people know about.

Its a tragic precursor of outcomes whenever the globalist agenda runs its course.

I wish I had read this book 30 years ago.

1 person found this helpful

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Inspirational story of what can be achieved by individuals and small teams against the odds.

I would have preferred a less posturing performance however the story was astounding. Bravery, discipline, resilience and true love of country which does not necessitate hate of others. A story for us, our children and for all country leaders.

1 person found this helpful

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A story more people need to hear....

Outstanding narrative and very clear narrator. A compelling story from a perspective I was not fully aware of. Must read!

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Derek A. de la Harpe
  • Derek A. de la Harpe
  • 06-19-18

Great story, awful narration

I have listened to nearly 50 Audible titles over the last year and this is easily the worst narration I have heard. Hearing the story told in an American accent would be jarring in any circumstances but in this instance is made much worse by the narrator mangling and mispronouncing so many terms and names. If I wasn't so interested in the story, I would abandon listening. What a shame.

9 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Cameron Mcneillie
  • Cameron Mcneillie
  • 05-12-18

Great story - poorly narrated

I can’t even get past chapter 5!! I lived through this time as a child and was interested to hear this book but sadly the narration was so poor I couldn’t continue.
A number of words are lost as the narrator is unable to pronounce a number of words correctly this los MH the overall sense of where this story takes place.

A real shame of a great story poorly narrated

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Albus snape
  • Albus snape
  • 06-18-18

worst narrator

first chapter and i am struggling with the narrator. by far the worst i have heard. i would prefer to listen to my 8 year old read this and it take 10 days rather than listen to this fella read a book again.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Chris
  • Chris
  • 02-20-18

Total rubbish don't waste your money!!

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I can't imagine anyone would find this interesting.

What was most disappointing about Hannes Wessels’s story?

The Narration was shocking, my 8 year old could read better. This will send you to sleep.

What didn’t you like about Jack Chekijian’s performance?

It was rubbish, he should never work again. this might have been a good story but he killed it.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment, it is becoming a lottery if I waste my credit or not. seriously considering stopping my Audible.

Any additional comments?

I'd like my credit back. Listen to it and you will know why.

17 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for T M Cheung
  • T M Cheung
  • 05-04-18

Narrator style doesn't fit the story

A very nice book about some pretty hardcore soldiers doing what they had to do to defend their own country. It would hv been better if the book was spoken by someone with a more Afrikan accent. The narrator posh accent and slow way of reading doesn't fit this kind of book. The story told is about men who eat current SF soldiers for breakfast, not a love novel

3 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Warren Matthews
  • Warren Matthews
  • 02-18-18

I rarely write reviews but the narration is so bad

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

If Jack Chekijian appeared to at least enjoy reading the story to an expectant audience this book may well have had a chance. I may purchase the Kindle version to see.

What was most disappointing about Hannes Wessels’s story?

I could not get into the story due to the lack of drama in the voice of Jack Chekijian.

What didn’t you like about Jack Chekijian’s performance?

Really sorry to be negative - everything

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It may well have done if I could get past Jack Chekijian’s performance. I will try the kindle version and see.

Any additional comments?

No

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Antony G Saunders
  • Antony G Saunders
  • 03-07-19

Probably the best small army in history

A great but ultimately sad story of a valiant nation up against the 'real politic' of the late 70s and early 80s. Political but not military defeat condemned a nation to 30 years and counting of repression and poverty. We should hang our heads in shame and respect those who fought so hard for their country.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Michael Jones
  • Michael Jones
  • 05-11-18

Great book, poor narrator.

The story is fantastic and extremely educational if you don't know much about Rhodesia and the SAS as I didn't. However, this being the audio version the narrator is highly important and unfortunately let's this book down. The narrative is excellent but the narrator has managed to turn a spectacular story into something quite boring to listen to. That and his inability to pronounce certain words makes it's quite difficult to continue to listen.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kirth Ferris
  • Kirth Ferris
  • 01-29-18

Would put you to sleep

The narrators
Voice is so boring, I could not even finish this book. Do not listen to whilst driving or operating heavy machinery.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-12-18

A handful of hard men

An story of bravery and courage. But a sad reflection on a cowardly British government.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Tyler
  • Tyler
  • 01-14-18

Excellent story, average performance

Whilst I found the story an amazing account of bravery and sacrifice, the performance is slow. If you buy this audio book you can overcome this by placing it on 1.25 speed. It will then become bearable.

5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Murray Fysh
  • Murray Fysh
  • 07-09-19

The worst ever!

This has been without doubt one of the worst audio books I have listened to. The narrator was so far away from the story it was almost impossible to relate to the narrative.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Clive Roberts
  • Clive Roberts
  • 11-27-17

True Legends

brilliant portrayal of unsung hero. brings new insights into both the military and political history and events of that time. An emotional read.

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tony Mills
  • Tony Mills
  • 10-16-19

Pronounciation aweful.

The pronounciation of many of the names and places was incorrect and aweful.
Otherwise the rest of the reading was really clear and great.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jeremy Sadler
  • Jeremy Sadler
  • 04-23-19

Great book. Terribly read

Sorry, but a bit of research on pronounciation of the basic words from Southern Africa, like veld, kopjie and many others would have reduced the irritation I felt while listening to,what was, an rather excellent book in content.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-11-19

Hard men indeed

An eye opening account for the battle of Rhodesia. Narrator could do some research into pronunciations though

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-09-21

horrible audio

I'm sure it could be an amazing book but the narration is unbearable. waste of money.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Andrew MacGregor
  • Andrew MacGregor
  • 04-16-21

Great story - really poor narrator

An awesome story but sadly ruined by a really poor narrator who is completely not suited to this book.


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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Eugene Van Der Westhuizen
  • Eugene Van Der Westhuizen
  • 04-12-21

Great story on very brave and professional men

Great story on the history of Rhodesia and the brave men who defended it. A pity the narrator could not do justice to pronouncing words correctly as it causes the story to loose character. Overall great book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Voltron
  • Voltron
  • 03-31-21

Bush war vs politics minus the WOKE

I lived through this period in Rhodesia and thoroughly enjoyed this perspective on the war effort and the underlying politics. Impossible to compare these combatants and the international vilification they endured to the modern day behaviour of their counterparts in regiments like the Australian SASR.

Bit disappointed in the narration. Not any fault of the American narrator but much colloquialism lost due to pronunciation which only a local could have got right.