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Biting Through
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John Ratcliffe is a quiet man, not the type of person who stands out in a crowd or draws attention to himself. But scratch the surface and you will find a person who has lived anything but a normal life. Once belonging to a group of highly trained soldiers, Ratcliffe left the Australian military to pursue a career in Melbourne, practising alternative medicine. Years later, he was called to Afghanistan for a short assignment as a security contractor. He planned to be back in Australia after a few weeks. Five years later, he finally returned home. Biting Through is the story of what happened in those five years, during one man's descent into the behind-the-headlines reality of the war in Afghanistan. Thrust into a world of terrible danger, Ratcliffe encountered human traffickers, drugs lords, and corrupt officials while the international community looked on and went about its business. He tried to find a way to make a difference to those whose lives he touched, all the while negotiating minefields of dishonesty, only to be betrayed at the final hurdle and incarcerated in a medieval Afghan hellhole, awaiting the death penalty. Biting Through is the true account of John Ratcliffe's experiences, from the streets of Kabul to the fighting in the south of Afghanistan. It is a story about the people he met, the friends he made, and the lives he saved. A testimony to the brutal realities of one of the longest wars in modern history, which was replete with hideous waste and relentless corruption, it is a unique work, written by a man of remarkable courage and fortitude.
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"[T]akes the reader into the nightmare world of Kabul, Chinese restaurants that are fronts for prostitution, the city's dangerous streets at night, corruption and drug dealing ... Vivid and gritty, it is at times also a mix of the macabre and surreal." --The Age

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