'Mick Dawson's gripping Never Leave A Man Behind, effectively two adventure stories for the price of one, can be justifiably described as "unputdownable". Dawson is a man you would want on your side, whether in battle or tackling waves as high as houses should you ever consider rowing the Pacific.'
Sports Book of the Month
'An excellent read, it puts you in the boat, understanding what it's like to be in an extremely challenging environment while maintaining composure, cheerfulness and respect for your fellow men. I cannot recommend it highly enough'
Keith M. Breslauer, Trustee of The Royal Marines Charity
'Breathtaking - builds tension from the very start with life-and-death challenges throughout. Courage and comradeship at their very best, showing how mental and physical disabilities cannot and are not allowed to define or undermine the human self. Leaves you in awe and respect for one man determined to help his muckers win their battles whatever it takes - at great personal cost'
Jonathan Ball, Director, The Royal Marines Charity
The stories of two veterans - one traumatised, one blind - who rediscover themselves with the help of a friend in the course of two epic ocean adventures, kayaking around the Falklands and rowing across the Pacific.
Mick Dawson tells the story of kayaking around the Falkland Islands with friend and fellow Royal Marines veteran Steve Grenham, who was struggling to cope with the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the extraordinary tale of his 2,500-mile voyage in a rowing boat with his friend and former Royal Marine Commando Steve 'Sparky' Sparkes, who was not only a rowing novice, but also blind.
Sparky and Mick succeeded in rowing across the finish line after a truly epic voyage of over 2,500 miles from Monterey Bay in California to Waikiki, Hawaii. They'd hoped to break the record for a two-man rowboat and finish in less than fifty-five days, but a hurricane interfered with their plans. It took them eighty-two days, sixteen hours and fifty-four minutes to complete the race, but it was an even greater achievement for that, and Sparky became the first visually impaired person to row across the Pacific.
The race with Sparky was the second expedition of an organisation Mick had set up a few years earlier, The Cockleshell Endeavour, designed to help another former Royal Marine and friend, Steve Grenham, by kayaking with him around the Falklands, where both former commandos served during the 1982 conflict with Argentina.
An excellent read and one that will be enjoyed by all. It provides a great perspective on the human condition. The reader shares Mick's journey through every arduous challenge and specifically what Mick and Sparky had to endure crossing the Pacific. I know first-hand how humble and modest Mick is and how Mick and Sparky exemplify the attributes of excellence and of the Royal Marines (spirit, courage, determination, unselfishness and cheerfulness in the face of adversity). I am proud to play my small part in this adventure and grateful to see what a significant impact Mick and Sparky have had on the lives of veterans and in society as a whole, particularly those with visual impairment like my own father.
Mick Dawson's second book is a tour de force bringing together the macro that is the history of the Falklands war with the micro that is three men's personal stories with their highs and lows shared frankly and intimately. He powerfully captures what it means to be a Royal Marine in both war and peace, and how the Royal Marines mindset - first to understand, first to respond, first to adapt, first to overcome - has helped Mick and the two Steves win their battles in and out of the water. Mick helps us really jump into the vessels and sit where they sat, sensing a little of the tension, despair, challenge to fight or flight, and exhilaration that these challenges have brought.
MICK DAWSON is a former Royal Marines Commando, now a sailor, motivational speaker and adventurer. He saw active service in the Falklands War at the age of seventeen and then again in the Middle East. Following on from his military career he pursued his lifelong passion for the ocean. Mick became a professional sailor and then one of the most experienced and successful ocean rowers in the world.