The latest book from a Waikanae book publishing company gives a fascinating glimpse into the world of a New Zealand Special Air Service (SAS) soldier.

The book, Shooting From The Shadows, is written by Michael "Wings" Williams, who had a 30-year military career in the New Zealand Army as well as time in the New Zealand SAS.

Michael, who would later become an instructor in the SAS from 1982 to 1986, was a soldier (lance corporal) in the regiment from 1964 to 1969.

The book takes the reader through two key campaigns Williams was involved in, Borneo and South Vietnam.

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Front cover of Michael Williams' Shooting From The Shadows.
Front cover of Michael Williams' Shooting From The Shadows.

Michael, from Brisbane, started writing his story after the Gulf War, in the early 1990s.

"Some books came out about the exploits of the 22 SAS [British Army] in Iraq, which got me thinking about writing a book," he said.

"I didn't write just about me but about all those people I had been involved with for about 30 years.

"It took a couple of years to write, but then I left it for 20 years, and then went back to it.

"All of a sudden something came out in the government and I thought I better write about the operations, the way I saw it, but based on official operational records."

The book started to become a reality when Bob Anderson, from John Douglas Publishing, which specialises in New Zealand military history, became aware of the manuscript.

Bob Anderson, from John Douglas Publishing. Photo / David Haxton
Bob Anderson, from John Douglas Publishing. Photo / David Haxton

A few years ago Bob was in Christchurch, where he had lived and worked for many years before moving to Waikanae, when he talked to someone who told him about Michael.

The name didn't register, even though Bob had written a history of the New Zealand SAS, but it did when he was told Michael's nickname was Wings, who Bob had met when he was involved in the military in the 1980s.

The book, which features a number of photographs, has been crafted for everyday readers, instead of bogging people down with technical military terminology.

"Some stories are humorous, some are frightening and some ably illustrate the matter-of-fact candour that is the hallmark of this group of former elite soldiers," said Dr Rhys Ball, from Massey University Auckland's centre for defence and security studies.

"While many would cringe at being described in such a fashion, no member would disagree with their deep desire to achieve and maintain the highest professional standards that are expected from all SAS soldiers.

"While this book is much about Williams' SAS career, it is considerably more than that."

Michael was delighted with the book.

"It's a tribute to all those people, not only the SAS but from all quarters of the army, who helped me through my career, and their families."

And Bob said, "What Michael has written is really excellent.

"I'm very pleased with it and I think it will fill a gap in the market.

"People love stories like this, telling you exactly what happened."

Shooting From The Shadows , available via www.jdpublishing.co.nz , will be hitting bookshops at the end of May.