BOOKS

Secret Army

Barry Stone

RRP: £14.99

3 May 2018

Published by Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760290689

It was arguably the greatest fighting force in the entirety of the Great War. They were the very best: hardened, fearless, decorated, cocky fighting men, all veterans of Gallipoli and the Western Front. Yet this elite force secretly assembled in London in late 1917 remains an enigma even today.

Barry Stone tells the story of these British, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and South African men who were sent to the ethnic powder keg of the Caucasus to preserve British interests. They matched wits with German spies and assassins. They fought the Turks. They dined with sheiks, outraged local mullahs, forged unlikely alliances with Russian Cossacks, helped Armenians flee genocide, and saved the lives of thousands of starving Persians.

This book is a rarity: a story set against the backdrop of war, filled not with bloodshed but with acts of kindness and selflessness; a triumph of the human spirit.