Danger Close is a candid commander’s point of view of 3 Para’s deployment in Afghanistan in the early phases of the British commitment. This is an entirely subjective account, so don’t expect insight into the great game – but do expect a rare insight into the relationship between a commander and his men, in the dirt among the sangars under rocket and mortar fire. The loneliness at the top comes through very clearly.

I was stunned to discover how little means were available and how rapidly those means have been stretched almost to breaking point. As a result, during most of its time in Afghanistan, 3 Para was reduced to holding hastily fortified besieged positions in politically important towns – which is not how might expect this sort of unit to be employed.

This books is a quick read but it provides a valuable vignette of the Afghanistan conflict. It is also a story of the fortitude of the British troops in the face of highly challenging odds. 479 000 rounds fired in six months is a level of sustained combat not seen by the British Army since the end of the Korean war.