Five thousand years of military history. The best elite unites that have fought across the globe. Their story told by acclaimed adventurer and ex-SAS officer, Ranulph Fiennes.
Throughout human history the art of warfare has evolved into many forms across numerous theatres, gradually becoming more sophisticated and strategized as the centuries have progressed. From the Spartans of Ancient Greece with their code of valour fighting to the last man; to the US Navy SEALs who operate using the latest technology of the 21st-century.
Across the vast array of military campaigns and battles one can see that the majority of organised armies have been comprised of enlisted men who would have their basic training. As time progressed all countries saw the need to also have units that were the 'best of the best', that would be fit and strong, and enjoy the best training and weaponry available. These elite units would be deployed to achieve extremely tough objectives; to guard a valuable fortification or person; or to act as a barrier in a crisis. The term 'elite' is the ultimate accolade and one to which only the toughest would try to aspire to: undergoing intensive and harsh physical training, and ultimately, sacrificing themselves for the given objective.
Ranulph Fiennes himself served in Britain's toughest formation, the SAS. Since his military days he has won acclaim as an extraordinary brave and resourceful artic adventurer. It is fitting that he now looks back across five thousand years of military history to pinpoint and celebrate the best elite units that served and fought across the globe.
Praise for Cold:-
'Tracing the history of polar exploration, [Fiennes] finds men deranged by isolation; ruthless captains abandoning unwanted crew in the uninhabitable Arctic; scurvy merrily rotting the gums of every man it touches. He relates, in juicy detail, stories of cannibalism and the public outcry they provoked at home' Stefanie Marsh, The Times
Sir Ranulph Fiennes was the first man to reach both poles by surface travel and the first to cross the Antarctic Continent unsupported. In the 1960s he was removed from the SAS Regiment for misuse of explosives but, after joining the army of the Sultan of Oman, received that country's Bravery Medal on active service in 1971. He is the only person yet to have been awarded two clasps to the Polar medal for both Antarctic and the Arctic regions. Fiennes has led over thirty expeditions, including the first polar circumnavigation of the Earth, and in 2003 he ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents in aid of the British Heart Foundation. In 1993 Her Majesty the Queen awarded Fiennes the Order of the British Empire (OBE) because, on the way to breaking records, he has raised over £14 million for charity. He was named Best Sportsman in the 2007 ITV Great Briton Awards and in 2009 he became the oldest Briton to reach the summit of Everest.