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Publisher's Summary

This is a book about science, bombs and what happens to the human psyche when every day you go to work might be your last.

Kim Hughes is the most highly decorated bomb disposal operator serving in the British Army. He was awarded the George Cross in 2009 following a gruelling six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan, during which he defused 119 improvised explosive devices, survived numerous Taliban ambushes and endured a close encounter with the Secretary of State for Defence.

The backdrop to Painting the Sand is the Afghan War, the conflict where the cold courage of the bomb disposal operator rose to national prominence. No other field of warfare offers the chance of a single individual to come so close to his enemy and fight out a battle of wits where losing means death. This is one of the best memoirs that will come out of a 10-year struggle to defeat a hidden and enduring enemy.

©2017 Kim Hughes (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What members say

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  • Tony Hanley
  • 02-13-18

Much respect !

Chillingly true life unglamorous account of fighting the terrorist war as a bomb disposal SNCO brings home the reality of being there and all the raw emotion that comes with that.

Im in awe of the sacrifices made by our troops that were made, and it’s also good to know that the authors views on whether it was actually all worth it, were not suppressed.

The audiobook puts you in the middle of it all.

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  • Melvyn Pini
  • 02-08-18

A privilege

This book is an experience the like of which I cannot match. I am humbled by the honesty and integrity of Kim Hughes GC.
This country cannot hope to repay what we owe to Mr Hughes and his fellow soldiers wherever would we be without them.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • D. J. Craig
  • 10-31-17

A truly great read!

An in depth recollection of life on the frontlines of IEDs in Afghanistan. An honest encounter of what really happened, what went on and what it was like. No bullshit, dampening of the situation or moderated views to achieve a life like feel of what it was like without actually being there. The story of the army told by someone who has become the army. Well worth a listen.

NB - not recommended if you will be unable to listen to descriptions of fatal scenes

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert Gibbs
  • 12-06-17

A realistic and thoroughly interesting real life story.

Loved this book, it’s honesty and utter realism. Read it if you have the slightest interest.
Being EOD is a seriously punchy role needing nerves of steel and top level skills. Well in Staff!

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  • ryan
  • 11-28-17

Excellent and compelling listen

I can't fault the content or the narrater, it was a fantastic book and it was a shame when it ended. It was easy to listen to and captivating with the real-life tales of war. Great book.

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  • Anne
  • 11-14-17

Excellent listen and narration

Really enjoyed this book,a real insight into the training and deployment of a in layman's terms 'Bomb Disposal 'expert and the trials and desperate decisions they have to make, what a brave man Kim is and all his fellow comrades.

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  • C. Hart
  • 03-25-18

Another Ruined audiobook

Another story about the life of a kid from the council estates making good in the army ruined by the production. This is the second book of this type I have listened to recently which has been ruined by the narration. I’m fairly sure there are people out there with regional accents who can read. Narrating this story using the voice of what sounds like an earnest teenage public school boy really doesn’t help with context. That aside, it soon becomes clear that Hughes does a remarkable job, is very brave and is highly trained. However, the repetition of him telling us this and an almost complete absence of the black humour and self-deprecation you expect of the British Army, makes it read more like an American Navy Seal memoir. Disappointing.

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  • steven k.
  • 06-13-18

Outstanding

A full, raw account of an individual exposed to the highest levels of danger. Very open and honest, a typical SNCO account of the war and how it is viewed from a soldiers eye.

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  • Ian M
  • 06-13-18

Excellent book true heroes in action

Well written, with narration that does justice to the sometimes harrowing subject matter. Pulling no punches he makes you feel part of his heroic troops, a proper “page”turner and without any trace of his own heroism of which he and his fellow soldiers should be idolised for
Rather than overpaid,overhyped sports and pop stars.

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  • Mr. K. Leigh
  • 06-10-18

Incredible account life of bomb disposal expert in Afghanistan

The warts-and-all account of life during a slightly extended six months tour of Afghanistan in 2009 reveals much about the bravery, resourcefulness and attitude of front line soldiers in a modern army. The frankness of the account and selfless praise of those around him reflects on the true nature of the author. His subsequent award of the George Cross for one of the most frightening sorties described in the book was well-deserved. As the author said when receiving award, it was as much for his colleagues working with him as it was for him. Nonetheless as the person getting up close and personal with 7 IEDs his bravery and coolness under pressure is incredible.

There are now many accounts of life in modern wars. This book is particularly interesting as it is about those who deal with bombs not always under live battle conditions - though it is clear that the enemy was always looking on even if not actually firing while the bomb disposal work took place.

The audible book is very easy to listen to with the narrator reading in a manner that makes it sound like the author is reading himself.

A thoroughly recommended listen (and read).

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  • Shadow
  • 02-22-18

You see through his eyes

I heard Kim Hughes interviewed on 3AW and thought I should give it a go. Well let me tell you the book is astonishing, you feel the anguish of his early years and the pride that develops as he discovers his unusual calling. Thank you Kim Hughes for this insight into the brave, the terrified, the injured and the dead that serve us all and deserve greater daily recognition. I will listen again.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-14-18

Brilliant

AMAZING story. a true hero. great listen for everyone
military or not. will not disappoint