Tim Butcher concludes that Simon Mann, the leader of the Wonga Coup in Equitorial Guinea, is more Captain Mainwaring than TE Lawrence.
The most dangerous thing on the battlefield, the old joke goes, is an officer with a map, a thought brought to mind by Cry Havoc, Simon Mann’s account of his central role commanding the Wonga coup of 2004.
Little wonder he failed to oust the president of Equatorial Guinea if the book’s main maps are so wrong: misspelling the target island for the attack, 14 years out of date with the name Zaire, muddling the oil-rich province of Cabinda and rendering Brazzaville as a more mockney Brazzerville.
One sloppy map might be forgiven, but textual errors mass in such numbers that they undermine any faith in the book.
The subject matter belongs, after all, to the realm of mercenaries, regime change and intelligence, a murky enough world where claims are often impossible to verify. Read more…