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For the very first time, The War That Never Was tells the fascinating story of a secret war fought by British mercenaries in the Yemen in the early 1960s. In a covert operation organised over whisky and sodas in the clubs of Chelsea and Mayfair, a group of former SAS officers - led by the irrepressible Colonel Jim Johnson - arranged for a squadron of British mercenaries to travel to the remote mountain regions of the Yemen, to arm, train and lead Yemeni tribesmen in their fight against a 60,000-strong contingent of Egyptian soldiers. It was one of the most uneven running battles ever waged; the Egyptians fielded a huge, professionally-trained army. The British fought back at the head of a ragtag force of tribal warriors and, ultimately, won. Egypt's President Nasser described the battle in the Yemen as 'my Vietnam'. It's a fascinating, forgotten, and rip-roaringly entertaining pocket of British military history, much in the spirit of Ben MvIntyre's bestselling Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat .
Duff Hart-Davis has written and edited fifty books on a wide variety of subjects, including eight adventure novels and biographies of Peter Fleming, the traveller and author, J.J.Audubon, the American bird artist, and most recently Philip de Laszlo, the portrait painter. A deep interest in natural history led to Monarchs of the Glen, a history of the Highland deer forests, and to the much-praised illustrated encyclopaedia Fauna Britannica. He worked on the Sunday Telegraph as Literary Editor and feature writer, reporting from many parts of the world, and from 1986 to 2001 he contributed the weekly Country Matters column on rural affairs to the Independent. Together with his wife Phyllida he now lives in a 17th-century farmhouse on the Cotswold escarpment.