Get Tough!, A Hand-to-Hand Fighting Manual (1942)
In 1942, Major W.E. Fairbairn wrote the fighting manual Get Tough!: How to Win in Hand-to-Hand Fighting; As Taught to The British Commandos and the US Armed Forces. William E. Fairbairn was a British Royal Marine and expert in self-defense. He trained many soldiers, including British, American, and Canadian Commandos before and during World War II. He was an expert in multiple types of martial arts, including earning his second-degree black belt in Kodokan judo, and even created his own fighting system called “Defendu.” Get Tough! is one of seven books Fairbairn published related to various types of combat.
The book opens with a preface explaining part of Fairbairn’s purpose on publishing the book. He states:
“In war you cannot afford the luxury of squeamishness. Either you kill or capture, or you will be captured or killed. We’ve got to be tough to win, and we’ve got to be ruthless—tougher and more ruthless than our enemies.”
He goes on to say that this book is not just for soldiers but for any man or woman who “…ever walks a deserted road at midnight…” and would like to know how to defend themselves in case of danger.
To view this book, visit Special Collections in McCain Library & Archives room 305 or contact Andrew Rhodes at or 601.266.6765.