Three Sips

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Because I saw this book advertised on several of your blogs, I decided to buy Three Sips of Gin by Major Tim Bax, Rhodesian Selous Scouts. I read the book and I enjoyed it. So I’m passing it on by making my own recommendation. It can be yours on Kindle for just over $4 – and I think that it’s entertainment worth the price.
I personally identified with some of what Tim Bax went through, though I’m not African, and never lived there. You don’t have to chew the SAME dirt to appreciate what another lived through.
I’m lucky to have lived in largely the same era as Tim Bax. He’s a bit older than I am, but coming of age in a military environment prior to and during the Age of Reagan and Bush-the-Elder was a far simpler, far more interesting, and far more challenging age. It was a time of adventure, so often lacking in the controlled times we live in now. 

The story revolves around Bax’s own journey and the colorful and often eccentric people he met along the way.

Living a life well, in my opinion, requires that one take risks and leap from the aircraft into the dark (hopefully with a functioning parachute). If you’re not a risk taker and don’t take a measure of thrill from pushing the envelope, you’ll never  understand why I recommended the book.

I know people who peaked in high school, and while that may be enough for them, I didn’t really like high school and only came into my own later – facing tough training and a far tougher real world. It is from that perspective that I appreciated Three Sips of Gin.

6 thoughts on “Three Sips

  1. I bought the e-book on Peter Grant's recommendation, literally right before a BOS-LAX flight. I had a dreaded "E" (middle) seat and figured I would not be able to get any actual work done, so I might as well have some leisure reading.

    Bax is a good raconteur, and I enjoyed the book, but it was perhaps less than I had hoped for. That said, I may have had unrealistic expectations. To me it read like the book one would write in reaction to a lifetime of people saying, "You really should write a book about your experiences, you know!" On that level it's a very good book. Bax is humorous, self-deprecating, and very much underplays the gravity and danger of his experiences. (Jules, you will find that "a sip of gin" refers not only to the beverage….) I do understand that the sort of stories that will be told in a book for a general audience is going to be very different than what would emerge after an evening of drinks in the company of fellow warriors, so I did not expect that. (No matter what your profession, we all have stories that only are shared with those who have been there.) That said, the story of how Tim Bax acquired Mikhail Kalashnikov's watch is excellent. (Yeah, *that* Kalashnikov.)

    What I had hoped for was a broader perspective on two fronts. First, more of an insider's perspective about the storied Selous Scouts. Second, more about how Bax's service and rest-of-life fit into and were affected by the dramatic political and social changes happening in Rhodesia at the time. But that might be unfair to expect so much from a *personal* memoir.

    In general I think that "star" evaluations are somewhat silly, but if I had to do it, 4 of five stars.

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