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The Independent Culture
Bravo Two Zero, at the top of this week's general paperbacks and non-fiction charts, has been a stalwart of this page since its publication last November. After 45 weeks' service on the hardback bestseller list, it has marched to the top of the paperbacks with just one week's leave. It's not hard to see why: a heroic, scary, shocking tale - Catch-22 meets the spirit of Dunkirk - that's purportedly true to boot. Andy McNab (a pseudonym) was a sergeant in the SAS during the Gulf War, who was put in charge of 'Operation Bravo Two Zero', a secret mission to infiltrate enemy lines, cut communication links between Baghdad and north-west Iraq, and unearth and destroy Scud missiles. The 8-man mission was a disaster from the start: dropped by helicopter too close to Iraqi units, unable to establish radio contact, they didn't even know it would be cold. After fierce firefighting, they were forced to trek to Syria. Three died, one escaped. Four were captured, taken to Baghdad and tortured until they told the Iraqis what they wanted to hear. Narrated unsentimentally and with large doses of squaddie humour, this is a real-life story we weren't supposed to hear. How true it is (and what, if any, relevance the escapade had to the outcome of the Gulf War) we will never know.

----------------------------------------------------------------- The Independent on Sunday Best Seller List ----------------------------------------------------------------- Hardbacks 1 Botham: My Autobiography by Ian Botham & Peter Hayter CollinsWillow pounds 15.99 (1/2) 2 Wild Horses by Dick Francis Michael Joseph pounds 14.99 (2/3) 3 The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy Orion pounds 15.99 (7/2) 4 Looking for Trouble by Peter de la Billiere HarperCollins pounds 19.99 (-/1) 5 Debt of Honour by Tom Clancy HarperCollins pounds 15.99 (6/7) 6 Magic Eye 3 by N E Thing Enterprises Michael Joseph pounds 11.99 (3/3) 7 Magic Eye by N E Thing Enterprises Michael Joseph pounds 11.99 (4/24) 8 Magic Eye 2 by N E Thing Enterprises Michael Joseph pounds 11.99 (5/22) 9 Swan by Naomi Campbell Heinemann pounds 12.99 (8/2) 10 Twelve Red Herrings by Jeffrey Archer HarperCollins pounds 14.99 (15/11) 11 First World War by Martin Gilbert Weidenfeld pounds 20 (-/1) 12 On Foot Through Africa by Ffyona Campbell Orion pounds 16.99 (-/1) 13 Songs My Mother Taught Me by Marlon Brando & Robert Lindsay Century pounds 17.99 (-/1) 14 A Son of the Circus by John Irving Bloomsbury pounds 15.99 (9/3) 15 Now and Then by Roy Castle Robson pounds 16.95 (-/1) Paperbacks 1 Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab Corgi pounds 5.99 (1/3) 2 Complicity by Iain Banks Abacus pounds 6.99 (3/2) 3 Disclosure by Michael Crichton Arrow pounds 5.99 (4/3) 4 A Spanish Lover by Joanna Trollope Black Swan pounds 5.99 (2/12) 5 Vanished by Danielle Steel Corgi pounds 4.99 (5/5) 6 Pleading Guilty by Scott Turow Penguin pounds 5.99 (8/4) 7 Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks Vintage pounds 5.99 (7/11) 8 The Blue Afternoon by William Boyd, Penguin pounds 5.99 (6/7) 9 Deceit by Clare Francis Pan pounds 5.99 (13/2) 10 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle, Minerva pounds 5.99 (11/17) 11 Without Remorse by Tom Clancy HarperCollins pounds 5.99 (10/13) 12 The Client by John Grisham Arrow pounds 5.99 (12/17) 13 Cruel and Unusual by Patricia D Cornwell, Warner pounds 4.99 (9/13) 14 Wild Swans by Jung Chang Flamingo pounds 7.99 (14/50) 15 Tell Me the Truth About Love by W H Auden, Faber pounds 2.50 (-/4) Non-Fiction Paperbacks 1 Bravo Two Zero by Andy McNab Corgi pounds 5.99 2 Wild Swans by Jung Chang Flamingo pounds 7.99 3 Tell Me the Truth About Love by W H Auden, Faber pounds 2.50 4 Taken on Trust by Terry Waite Coronet pounds 5.99 5 Mind Over Matter by Ranulph Fiennes Mandarin pounds 5.99 6 Some Other Rainbow by John McCarthy & Jill Morrell, Corgi pounds 5.99 7 Fresher Pressure by Aidan Macfarlane & Ann MacPherson, OUP pounds 4.99 8 Rothman's Football Yearbook 1994-95 ed Jack Rollin, Headline pounds 16.99 9 Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson Minerva pounds 5.99 10 The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson Abacus pounds 5.99 -----------------------------------------------------------------

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