The Hard Way by Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham (2023)

What happens to a highly decorated soldier after a 20+ year military career

The Hard Way by Mark Billingham

I knew nothing about the Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham until I was served a ‘you might be interested in this’ by Instagram and then, eventually, I purchased the book.

I have read many military history books and find the experiences of those in the military interesting to read and vastly different to my own life/career.

The Hard Way by Mark Billingham is a gripping memoir that tells the story of Billingham’s life, from his tough upbringing in Birmingham to his mega distinguished career as a soldier and special forces operative.

Billingham’s writing is raw and honest, with vivid descriptions of the challenges he faced both in his personal life and his military career. He shares his tough life journey as a youngster, including amateur boxing, before joining the British armed forces, the paras, and then special forces selection.

The author served with distinction as a patrol commander in the world’s most renowned special forces and, overall, The Hard Way by Mark Billingham is a compelling and inspiring memoir that will appeal to anyone interested in military history, personal growth, and the power of resilience.

It’s a must-read for fans of the genre, and a great introduction to the work of Mark ‘Billy’ Billingham for those who are new to his writing.

The Hard Way was a good read, especially the part about the author’s hard life growing up and how this set him up for a long career in the UK military.

Personally, where I think this book drops off a cliff somewhat is there is nothing about his life in the special forces, although the author explains why. But still there’s a 20+ year gap before it picks up again. This happens about halfway in and I lost interest largely.

The private security work for the rich and famous, appearing in a movie, and the TV series provide some light moments but the stand out for me in the second half was the drop everything and help in Haiti after the devastating earthquake there.

I read The Hard Way by Mark Billingham this on a Kindle and there are a few photos that came out well.


If you liked this book, try Battle Scars by Jason Fox, Ghosts of Fallujah by Coley Tyler or visit for more reviews.