Pan Macmillan has acquired We Were Warriors, the autobiography of former commando-turned-MP Johnny Mercer, comprising an account of life on the frontline during the Afghanistan war.
UK and Commonwealth rights were acquired from Humfrey Hunter to the book, which will be published by Sidgwick & Jackson in June.
Mercer served in the British army for 12 years, during which time he completed three tours of Afghanistan. On his final tour in 2010, in the hotly contested area of northern Nad-E Ali, he experienced some of the heaviest fighting of the war as a joint fires controller.
In We Were Warriors, Mercer describes his military career, including events that took place during his third "brutal" tour when a friend and fellow soldier was shot dead next to him, leaving Mercer to fight the Taleban alone.
Mercer was elected as MP of Plymouth Moor View, then a Labour strong-hold, on 7th May 2015, and on 1st June in the House of Commons used his maiden speech as an MP to highlight the sacrifice and commitment of his generation of warriors, exhausted by 15 years continuous conflict, earning him the Spectator’s Speech of the Year award.
He went on to lead the 10-month inquiry into the Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT), resulting in a parliamentary report, released earlier this month, that in turn lead to calls from the MoD for IHAT to be shut down.
Mercer said, while an autobiography, that the book was "not just about me". "I wanted to tell the stories of a generation of young men and women who sacrificed so much for the privileges we enjoy, and sometimes barely notice. Their actions, their bravery and their courage are seen through the prism of my time with them. I hope everyone who fought in the Afghanistan war will recognise some of the challenges I write about, and that the book will go some way to shining a light on what so many of us experienced," he said.
Editorial director Ingrid Connell said: “I couldn't put the manuscript down or put certain scenes out of my mind. Johnny has written an unflinching account of life on the frontline in Afghanistan, mixing heart-stopping action with a powerful story of friendship, sacrifice and his own personal battle to come to terms with tragedy and the brutalising impact of months of relentless fighting. Honest, passionate and laced with wry humour, this is a compelling read.”