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Jim Hooper - Beneath the Visiting Moon

Correspondent Jim Hooper took an AK-47 slug in his right arm during a firefight on 17 January 1987. Less than two months later, he took a sizeable mortar fragment in his left arm. Neither kept him from pounding out a fiercely human war book. Hooper has captured the exquisite terror and tenderness of battle in a way that will touch both combat veterans and those who could, until now, only imagine the gritty fascination of war.

-Don Sider, Time Magazine (retired) - Former Vietnam Correspondent

I don’t pretend to be a literary critic or a book reviewer. But, as a newspaper columnist and reader, I can tell you that Hooper’s book, Beneath the Visiting Moon, is gripping, well-written and deals with his time in the field with Koevoet, an elite South African-led counter-insurgency unit. Whether you read it as a necessary work about a little-known aspect of the situation in that part of the world…or as a book by a guy who has spent as much time living his dreams as he has contemplating them, you could find worse ways to spend a chilly fall weekend.

—Jan Glidewell, St Petersburg Times

Beneath the Visiting Moon covers Hooper’s time with a tough but little-known South African Police anti-terrorist unit—Koevoet. It operated very effectively in the 1980s on the Namibian/Angolan border against men of the South West Africa People’s Organization (SWAPO) who were attempting to destabilise the country with ambush and assassination. Hooper’s book is in part a history of this conflict and as such a useful English-language reference. It is also a personal odyssey.


Beneath the Visiting Moon describes a war that lasted over twenty years [and] cost thousands of lives. Jim Hooper, a veteran correspondent of what we now call “regional conflicts”, spent months with Koevoet, which not only was at the sharp end of this conflict but became internationally notorious for what its enemies called its murder and terror tactics, and its friends referred to as “efficiency”. However, this is no ordinary war book and no ordinary wander through a war zone. It’s probably as close as you can get to the real thing without leaving one’s comfortable armchair.

—European Freedom Review

Beneath the visiting Moon is a brutal tale, but well told and compulsory reading for anyone interested in modern guerrilla warfare.

—Combat & Survival

Mr Hooper, who received bullet and shrapnel wounds while researching Beneath the Visiting Moon, has produced an exciting, disturbing and thought-provoking story. He evokes much of the loneliness, beauty and tragedy of Southern Africa in the book’s quieter moments, which are sprinkled between sections of breathless and gruesome action.

—The Herald

Hooper spent months with Koevoet during their field operations, coming to know the men – both black and white – who endlessly scoured the southern Africa’s bushveldt for SWAPO’s elusive terrorists. More often than not they found them, and Koevoet racked up the highest kill ratio of any security force elements in the AO. He is certainly one of the finest combat correspondents to report from the Namibia/Angola theatre, and Beneath Visiting Moon reflects the best of that breed of journalism and journalist.

—SOF Magazine

In Hooper’s own words, Beneath the Visiting Moon “is an account of people caught up in a little-known conflict in an even less-known part of the world.” What makes this book particularly exciting —and it definitely is—is knowing that the author voluntarily gave up the security of jumping out of airplanes for taking real risks, the likes of which none of us normal skydivers would never consider.

—BJ Worth, Skydiving

Hooper explores the mystique of an elite unit and provides an insight into the personalities and motivations of men who thrive on war. [He] comes across as an honest reporter with a keen eye for detail, and has crafted a superb account of the black and white comrades-in-arms who make up a unique unit already a legend in counterinsurgency warfare.

—Zephyrhills News

The tough comradeship within Koevoet, which made distinctions of colour or race meaningless, is captured by Hooper and by the end of the book we share with him the sense of personal loss as he begins his journey back to his home in the peace of rural Hampshire. Beneath the Visiting Moon combines information and reflection with adventure, humour and tragedy. Hooper is a gifted photographer and a craftsman with the written word. Read it, it’s good.

—Defence Magazine


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