Reviews

Portraying the recent Balkan War with great clarity and detail, the author invites you to embark on a personal journey sharing his encounters and experience of war. An easy to read, well-written war story with a difference, I would highly recommend. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Sheila Harper (Staffordshire, England)

The author provides a well-written and compelling account of life on the front line as an international aid worker. At times the novel is brutally graphic, and rightly so because it pulls the reader further into the disturbing existence of life in a bloody and bitter ‘civil’ war.
You learn, in great detail, about the impact of the war on the innocent civilians who struggle for life on a daily basis and the inevitable tragedy that occurs. Equally compelling is the emotional journey the reader takes with the author. We learn about the impact of war; the helplessness he feels when confronted with needless and bloody deaths and how the threat of losing his own life has long lasting physical and emotional aftershocks.
This is an honest, brave and personal account of the horrors of war and as such is a text that should be read by many rather than few.

Miss. G. Nelson. (English Teacher. UK.)

This is a fascinating insight into the war which Europe seems to want to forget. John Breardon’s moving first person account manages to show more clearly than much of the contemporary news coverage how little the international community did to help the millions caught up in the bitter, senseless slaughter. Had it not been for the fearless actions of aid workers like him, the West would have little to mitigate against the enduring shame over its lack of action in the Balkans.

Iain Robinson, (The Sentinel Newspaper UK)

A fascinating insight into the life of an aid worker. I found this book both gripping and fascinating in its descriptive detail. Really felt as though I was in the thick of it. A war story with a difference and a great read.

Mr P. Weatherby (United Kingdom)

From the moment I picked up this book I didn’t want to put it down. The author takes you with him into the story, experiencing every human emotion as you read. A real insight into the story of the Balkan war, through the eyes and mind of a man on the ground.

James Hilton (United Kingdom)

A very harrowing true life story. The author, an aid worker during the Balkan War takes you through all his experiences and emotions. I found the book very easy to read and very informative. Excellent. Thoroughly recommend.

Hazel Haskayne (United Kingdom)

I have never really thought about the work done by aid workers in war zones and even less about the conditions in which they live to do that work. This book showed me all of that through the eyes of the author. I was there seeing what he saw and feeling sad, horrified and sometimes sick to my stomach, such was the reality of this book.

An excellent read and one you can’t put down until you reach the end.

Julie Mullard (United Kingdom)

Powerfull writing. I’m very impressed…

Ruth (Staffordshire, United Kingdom)

This is the best book I have read for many years. I was totally drawn in, one minute struggling to comprehend why an aid worker would put themselves in grave danger of going hungry and even being killed, then understanding why it was so difficult to leave ordinary people to try and survive a barbaric war.

The book is very well written, without the author taking sides. Although at times I shed some tears, it opened my eyes to the reality of what life was like for some people in that war. Highly recommended, read it!

Mel Deakin (United Kingdom)

Not a book I would usually buy , however the cover had me enthralled , and also intrigued. So I had to buy , this book had me in tears on more than one occasion.

A very well written graphic book , I await the 2nd book with bated breath. It makes you question your own morality on several occasions, and makes you stop and think about the horrors in the world you don’t want to think about.

Marie McCready

A fascinating insight into a modern war from an aid workers perspective. The Author has developed an intriguing but easy to read style through which he is able to convey the barbarism and brutality of a conflict that pits neighbour against neighbour. This is a very personal account which reveals much of the Authors character and his struggle to reconcile ‘normal’ life with the horrors that he witnessed.

An excellent read, full of grim humour, humanity and explicit depictions of the hardships that he and the ‘ordinary’ people of the region had to endure.

Peter Weaver (England Staffordshire)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It offers a great insight into the Balkan war and the experiences of an aid-worker, unique. It not only increased my political, historical and geographical knowledge but also pulled on my emotions and gripped me from page one.

Sue Dyke (UK Staffordshire)

This book had me riveted. I really couldn’t put it down. I think it’s brilliantly written – not flowered up in any way, just down to earth reality – even amusing in parts – despite the seriousness of the subject matter. I think John Breardon must be a fascinating character and one with tremendous guts and a fascinating personality.

Deborah Hulse (UK)

This is not a book I would normally have read but found myself completely enthralled in. It’s a compelling insight into one mans journey through a horrific time and how through his own determination and tolerance manages to remain focused as an aid worker in some what of a helpless situation. The book has been written in such a way that you feel John is sat in front of you telling his story, which makes the book both enjoyable and thought provoking.

Annaleise Cooper (UK)

My sister loaned me this book and, as it isn’t normally the kind of thing I would read, I left it for a few weeks. She was so insistent that I would really enjoy it, that I picked it up one day and I didn’t put it down until I’d finished it!

I like the style of writing very much – John Breardon manages to inject some humour into this tragic account and has been successful in completing an excellent book.

At times, my eyes welled up with tears but I was compelled to read on. It’s well worth the money and I’m so glad my sister persisted!

Beverley Fox (UK)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It offers a great insight into the Balkan war and the experiences of an aid-worker, unique. It not only increased my political, historical and geographical knowledge but also pulled on my emotions and gripped me from page one.

Sue Dyke (UK Staffordshire)

“Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier.” (Samuel Johnson) This quotation no longer applies to John Breardon having experienced more of the horrors of war than most career soldiers see in a lifetime. John served in the Balkans as a non combatant aid worker motivated by a desire to help the innocent victims of war and, perhaps more naively, an urge to find a more exciting and fulfilling life than the suburban rut most of us fall into. This book tells of the everyday hardships, from near starvation to sudden injury or death by sniper or mortar attack, faced by an ordinary Joe just trying to do the job he volunteered for. A gripping story of a very bitter and confused war.

Mark Burton (UK)

This is a book depicting the raw pain of a people gripped in war and the hardships, danger, brutality and of course the meaningless of it all, as seen by the author. He captures the futility of war and at times, with a sense of his own pain from years past, demonstrates the human instict of survival, shown by the people of that troubled and beautiful land. This is a book of honesty and to a degree, of self reflection for the author. With all this, it is interspersed with humour and wit. John Breardon’s book is well worth reading. I look forward to the next.

Catherine Gibbs (UK)

This book was bought for a friend of mine’s husband for Christmas and they both enjoyed it so much, she suggested I read it. It is not usually my subject type but, once I started to read it, I really couldn’t put it down and would wake up in the night and pick it up again! John Breardon is so open, honest and descriptive – many times the tears welled up in my eyes – and the book leaves you wanting to meet this incredibly brave and intelligent man to find out more. I liked the fact that he ended it by updating the reader on what had happened to all the people he had met during his experience. It really is well worth the money and more.
I now have my own copy!

Pamela Harvey (UK)

Didnt know what to expect when i picked this book, im normally a Mcnab, Ryan or Dale Brown fan. So was greatly suprised to have found such a fantastic read and based on fact (which is a rarety now a days). Couldnt put it down when i started reading it, the horrors of what neighbours and friends can do to each other in time of war is unbelieveable. Highly recommended.

Terry Booth (UK)

Sugar Coated War. A book I picked up on a Friday evening and deeply resented having to put down until the final page – read on Sunday. As an avid reader, I am unable to recall the last time I read a book from cover to cover in such a short space of time and then felt the need to sit in complete silence, thinking deeply about what I had just experienced.

I felt both touched and privaliged to have read a graphic and fasinating insight into one mans very personal and inspiring journey. The author evidently discovered hidden depths to his character.

John Breardon, a brave and honest man, brings Sugar Coated War alive through his portrayal of the Bosnian conflict. Truly remarkable!

K Hughes (CA USA)

Started this book not expecting to enjoy it-sorry but not my typical read- however, I was pleasantly surprised! The first chapter was a detailed insight into the background of the war, which was good for the more ignorant types (such as myself), then a gripping and poignant tale unfolded. The gruesome details of the atrocities of the war were upsetting but the sense of realism made this a very thought provoking read. I also found it iinspiring, given everything the author did, and it left me thinking about what else I can do with my life!

Tammie Burroughs (UK)

Written from personal experience, often brutal and candid, showing the diverse and dangerous job of the aid worker on the front line. This raw account is shocking, in so much as, making the reader realise how little we understand the effects of war on the ordinary people caught up in conflict. “How can this be allowed to happen nowadays?” A constant thought provoked throughout the book. A very human approach to an inhuman subject.

A book that should be read.

Karen Taphouse (U.K.) 1 Nov 2007

We are all citizens of the world. Wars and conflicts happening in places thousands of miles away seem like they don’t have relevance in our everyday lives…except for those times when a human interest story makes it more real to us. We hear of modern day heroes, ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, and we become inspired. The conflicts that once seemed so far away now feel important to us. We hurt, we laugh, we cry and we walk away richer people for now knowing of the experience of our fellow man.

This true story of the author’s experience during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia creates that very type of inspiration. He was an international aid worker, one given the task to provide basic needs in a horrific situation. He takes us on a fascinating journey and leaves nothing to the reader’s imagination.

It is graphic, it is real, and it is not a sugar coated story…the author offers an honest and brave story about a man on the ground during a modern war (using brutal tactics) that needs to be heard. Can one citizen of the world make a difference? Can one man’s story cause us to stop and rethink world events? Read John Breardon’s Sugar Coated War and decide for yourself. You will be richer for the experience.

Karen Randall (Wilmington, DE United States) 2 Jan 2008

I bought this book to read on holiday last year. Not my usual kind of subject matter but it was definitely a good holiday read.Being still quite young during this conflict I knew very little of it, but this book was both insightful and informative.

I enjoyed the personal writing style, you are taken on a memorable journey by the author through dangerous situations, but you are given hope by the humanitarian acts of kindness. would recommend this book to anyone who has previously been put off by ‘war stories’ and to anyone who likes a story that your imagination can get carried away with.

I look forward to reading the sequel!!

Rebecca Paterson (U.K.) 5 Feb 2008

This book paints a vivid picture of the brutalilty of the Balkan war in the 1990’s; describing it in sometimes graphic detail. The mood is lifted occasionally by humour and also the intrigue of the personal journey of the author. I learned a lot about the politics of that war and the sometimes skewed view you gain at home from watching the media. You don’t have to be interested in “war stories” because the human tale is gripping and written in a style that is easy to read – you will feel as though you are there!

Lesley Treble (U.K.) 23 April 2008