First Man In: Leading from the Front

by Ant Middleton

Rating: ***

I've waited a day to write this review (normally write them the day I finish a book) purely because I am not entirely sure what to say. I had been looking forward to reading this and it was a bit of a disappointment. Maybe I expected something different, I thought there would be more about his military career whereas it's kind of 'Life and Lessons with Ant'. It's certainly readable, the writing style is very easy and basic, you could easily polish this off in a day or couple of afternoons. I found the beginning awkward, he came across as quite different to the chap on the telly. I found it very cheesy/corny in places and cringed a bit at some of it. I also found that, for me, there were an awful lot of blanks and missing information; maybe he did not want to fill in the spaces but then don't write a semi-biography/self-help book, in that case. For example, a few photos would have been good even if there were only of him just to ground you in the story. I found elements of it lazy as well. There is no doubt he is an absolutely first-class operator but, I don't know, something was lacking for me here. I certainly did take some useful ideology from some of the chapter lessons - a couple of pointers have helped me cope with a few stressful situations but some of his 'lessons' need a bit more explaining and he needs to appreciate that not everyone is able to see everything as black and white as he comes across as viewing them. 'Making friends with your demons' needs more explanation; to me that means indulging them. The last chapter is a rehash of the TV programme following Captain Bligh, which is interesting but if you are reading this book, then you probably (like me) saw the programme so I felt that was a bit of filler as well. I have a strong suspicion this is not the only book he will bring out. I suspect that it was not really aimed at me, but more at men in the their early thirties who are not massive readers, if you fit that bill, then it's probably a good poolside read on your Summer holiday. It's a shame because I feel there was a better book in there somewhere.


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