Eastern Approaches

Eastern Approaches

Fitzroy MacLean / Jun 04, 2020

Eastern Approaches Fitztroy Maclean was one of the real life inspirations for super spy James Bond After adventures in Soviet Russia before the war Maclean fought with the SAS in North Africa in There he specialis

  • Title: Eastern Approaches
  • Author: Fitzroy MacLean
  • ISBN: 9780141042848
  • Page: 234
  • Format: Paperback
  • Fitztroy Maclean was one of the real life inspirations for super spy James Bond After adventures in Soviet Russia before the war, Maclean fought with the SAS in North Africa in 1942 There he specialised in hair raising commando raids behind enemy lines, including the daring and outrageous kidnapping of the German Consul in Axis controlled Iraq Maclean s extraordinary adFitztroy Maclean was one of the real life inspirations for super spy James Bond After adventures in Soviet Russia before the war, Maclean fought with the SAS in North Africa in 1942 There he specialised in hair raising commando raids behind enemy lines, including the daring and outrageous kidnapping of the German Consul in Axis controlled Iraq Maclean s extraordinary adventures in the Western Desert and later fighting alongside Tito s partisans in Yugoslavia are blistering reading and show what it took to be a British hero who broke the mould .

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      Published :2019-08-07T04:10:28+00:00

    About "Fitzroy MacLean"

      • Fitzroy MacLean

        Major General Fitzroy Hew Royle Maclean, Bt, KT, CBE.Graduate of Eton and subsequently King s College, University of Cambridge Joined the Diplomatic Service in 1932 Posted to Paris from 1933 1937 and then the British Embassy to Moscow from 1937 1941 Veteran of WWII In 1941, he chose to enlist as a private in the Cameron Highlanders, but was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant the same year He was one of the earliest members of the elite SAS By the end of the war, had risen to the rank of Brigadier Maclean wrote several books, including Eastern Approaches , in which he recounted three extraordinary series of adventures travelling, often incognito, in Soviet Central Asia fighting in the Western Desert Campaign 1941 1943 , where he specialised in commando raids with the Special Air Service Regiment behind enemy lines and living rough with Josip Broz Tito and his Yugoslav Partisans It has been widely speculated that Ian Fleming used Maclean as one of his inspirations for James Bond.Unionist Party Scotland member of Parliament MP from 1941 1974.Awarded a baronetcy, becoming 1st Baronet, Maclean of Strachur and Glensluain Invested a Knight of the Order of the Thistle KT Appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire CBE Recipient of the Croix de Guerre France , the Order of Kutuzov Soviet Union , the Order of the Partisan Star Yugoslavia , and, posthumously, the Order of Prince Branimir Croatia.


    1. Good galloping gallons of grief. This book deserves a whole galaxy of stars. Five stars is too paltry for such an amazing work. This is one of those rare books that I must always own. I have a battered paperback copy that I must've bought at a used bookstore. I need to find a hardback copy. If you're interested in World War II history, Soviet history, Tito, SAS history, or that rare English bird: the landed aristocratic gentleman, then you seriously need to read this book. Eastern Approaches is [...]

    2. Only on finishing “Eastern Approaches”, did I think to search the web for the author’s obituary. Sure enough, there it was, at independent/news/obi My jaw dropped open. Phew! What a life for one so young; and what a telling reminder to us all: never dismiss the lives of the young as being too young, the middle too middle, or the old too old. What honour to be of an ilk to leave society bereft, but in a considerably better condition than when first found.To be blessed with a first-class min [...]

    3. I was turned on to Eastern Approaches while reading about the Soviet purges of 1937-1938. MacLean was a young British diplomat who requested transfer from Embassy Paris to the embassy in Moscow; while there, he attended each day of the Bukharin show trial which receives detailed description and analysis in the book. MacLean also used his leave time to strike out on unofficial, NKVD-dodging trips through the Caucuses and Central Asia, with Samarkand and Bokhara as chief destinations for his journ [...]

    4. Edit: 29/12/16 - Best Military Biography read of 2016. This really is an epic book. Split into three parts, it covers the early career of Fitzroy MacLean.Spoilers below, so read it yourself first it you don't know about this book already!The first part tells of his 1937-38 diplomatic posting in Moscow, where he volunteered to be sent after learning his trade in Paris the three years prior. As well as covering the great purge trials, where much of the communist leadership was executed, he tells o [...]

    5. I bought this book in the 60's in the Time/Life edition, but did not read it until recently. Eastern Approaches is not only close to the perfect travel book; it is a lively memoir of the quixotic adventures of a diplomat turned war hero who writes with style and wit.In the mid-thirties Fitzroy Maclean was a junior diplomat at the British embassy in Paris. Bored with the pleasant but undemanding routine, he requested a posting to Moscow. Eastern Approaches opens with Maclean on a train, pulling o [...]

    6. A terrific memoir and travelogue. The book covers approximately eight years in MacLean's life. His years with the Foreign Office in the U.S.S.R his time with the Special Air Service in North Africa and Iran and finally heading up a military mission to assist Tito and his Partisans in Yugoslavia in the last two years of World War II. MacLean followed in the footsteps of many famous British gentlemen explorers, soldiers and diplomats (often all at the same time). He had an insatiable appetite for [...]

    7. Excellent, amusing, in some places terrifying account of a British diplomat-turned-soldier whose curiosity nearly kills him, repeatedly. Ensconced as First Secretary in the British Embassy in Paris, he asks, out of boredom -- and a longing to see the East -- for a transfer to the Embassy in Moscow. Easily arranged: who wants that post? Not long after singing praises of sledding to his woodland dacha, Maclean gets a courtroom seat for one of Stalin's largest show-trials: Bukharin, friend of Lenin [...]

    8. A TRULY FANTASTIC BOOK! Fitzroy Maclean writes very fluidly and engagingly of his experiences, first as a member of the British Foreign Service in the Soviet Union between 1937 and 1939, and of his leaving (not without difficulty) the Diplomatic Service for the Army, where he rose from the rank of Private to Brigadier, having fought with the SAS in North Africa and later as head of the British Military Mission in Yugoslavia, where he became friends with Marshal Tito and fought alongside the Part [...]

    9. A book that tells a very interesting story of a remarkable man. Fitzroy MacLean was a British Foreign Service worker in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, and his book offers a very detailed and well-written account of a bizarre and scary place. He refused to allow the tight control that outsiders were subject to stop him from exploring Southern Russia and Central Asia, places where life had barely changed since the Late Middle Ages.After he left the U.S.S.R he volunteered for the British Army and w [...]

    10. Fitzroy MacLean's adventures make those of James Bond pale into insignificance.I read this long ago when I was still at school, but remember it with great fondness.

    11. You couldn’t make up Fitzroy MacLean’s life story. Oh you could try of course, but no one would believe you. A child of the old Scottish gentry; born in Cairo, raised in Italy; educated at Eton and Cambridge before completing his studies in Germany as the old Weimer Republic gives way to the Third Reich. See what I mean? But hang on, wait until you hear about the man’s career - Diplomat; soldier; soldier and Member of Parliament; SAS officer and MP; Brigadier, Diplomat and MP; and finally [...]

    12. In the UK there is a long running radio show called "Desert Island Discs", which features notable people talking about their lives. It wasn't exactly the type of thing I listened to as a young man, and the first time I heard the show properly was as a passenger on a long car journey in 1981. The guest was Sir Fitzroy Maclean, who spoke about his extraordinary life and mentioned his book "Eastern Approaches". At the time I made a mental note to read the book, and if I had realised how good this w [...]

    13. Fitzroy Maclean's war was World War II, and to the extent that a single human can have an over-sized effect on the outcome, he did. He fought with irregular troops in Africa early on, with not much to show for it, but then found himself in Tito's Yugoslavia, and his work there with the partisans can really be said to have saved their bacon, or at the very least hastened Germany's retreat from the Balkans. And that did have an effect on the overall war, by draining German strength that would have [...]

    14. I'd never heard of MacLean, but a few minutes skimming marked him as a man of Patrick Leigh Fermor's, or rather T.E. Lawrence's, tribe - an erudite English adventurer whose wanderlust, sang-froid, facility with languages and flair for disguise made him an ideal Special Forces operative when war broke out, and the Allies suddenly needed men to scout the Libyan desert and liaise with Yugoslav partisans:With a jerk my parachute opened and I found myself dangling, as it were at the end of a string, [...]

    15. A tripartite memoir of intrigue, travel, and military adventure, relating the author's experiences as a diplomat in the 1930's USSR, as a member of the early SAS (part of the UK Special Forces) in WWII North Africa, and finally as an important liaison to the Partisans in Yugoslavia, his two previous experiences providing the background for this capstone mission.The early part of the book is largely concerned with his travels in Soviet Central Asia. This section was probably much more interesting [...]

    16. My first outstanding read of 2018. Prepare your buckles for some serious swashing (or your swashes for some buckling?) with this book. The author, Fitzroy Maclean, was a British diplomat, member of parliament and soldier, and was widely speculated to have been one of the primary models for Ian Fleming's James Bond. Eastern Approaches is the memoir of his early professional life, of first being posted as a member of the British foreign service to Moscow in the late 1930's, and subsequently of lea [...]

    17. This was a book of my Grandmother's that I found in a box recently. I was very surprised at how engaged I became within a few pages of first chapter, not to mention the excitement my Grandmother expressed at finding my interest in history after her own heart. Fitzroy MacLean is a wonderful story teller, who's personality shines through every page of this adventurous memoir. I find myself well informed concerning the Russian viewpoint during the Bulshevic revolution, and on through the second wor [...]

    18. One of my favourite books of all time. The author tells the inside story of the wars in North Africa and the Balkans, among other things. In addition to his own heroic exploits, which he recounts rather modestly, he describes with humanity, compassion and humour the various personalities he encountered on his path, including Tito. Personally, it was this third part of the book, dealing with the Balkans, that was of greatest interest. It's a revelation for anyone who was there during the 1990s wa [...]

    19. Great travel/adventure story, starting out with his tenure with the British diplomatic service in pre-WW II Stalinist Russia. He surreptitiously travels to Soviet central Asia, then to the border with China. The second part is about his military exploits in WW II in the British Army in Libya & Egypt, with a brief excursion to Persia (now Iran). Then he concludes with the years spent fighting the Nazis in the Balkans with Tito. A jolly good adventure tale!

    20. Rumored to be the original inspiration for playboy spy James Bond, Fitzroy Maclean, in eight very active years from 1937-1945, is transferred to Britain's foreign office in Moscow, masters the Russian language, becomes the first (non-Russian) European to visit various villages and towns in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kirghizia, among others (all the while being trailed by the Secret Police), witnesses the infamous purge trials of 1938, enlists in the armed forces following the outbreak of World [...]

    21. Ova knjiga je ratni put jednog Engleza (u stvari, Škotlanđanina), koji je drugi svjetski rat služio prvo u pustinji Afrike, a od 1943. g. na Balkanu. Njegov je zadatak bio da sazna ko su to Partizani, a i ko je to Tito, i da li britanska vlada treba i dalje podržavati Mihailovića. Zahvaljujući prijateljstvu koje je autor sklopio sa Titom, britanska vlada je odustala od Četnika i sve svoje napore na Balkanu usmjerila prema Titu. Dobro, to svako zna. No ono što je interesantno u ovoj knjiz [...]

    22. I came to Eastern Approaches by way of a glowing testimonial in Peter Hopkirk's The Great Game (see my review elsewhere). The front cover calls Maclean's memoir "The best book you will read this year" and for once a clever line in a blurb is hard to challenge. Eastern Approaches will linger in the memory for many a year. It was, after all, first published in 1949 and remains in print. Fitzroy Maclean - later Sir Fitzroy - tells the story of eight years in his life, from 1937 to 1945. It begins w [...]

    23. Eastern Approaches is autobiography of the best sort. A tale of high adventure that begins in Paris in the Thirties and ends in Yugoslavia at the end of the Second World War it is broken into three sections. The first begins in Paris, where Foreign Office man about town, Fitzroy MacLean tires of the diplomatic round and request a posting the Soviet Union. He arrives in Moscow to see the Stalin's society before and during the great purges. Not satisfied with a ringside seat at a witch hunt, he sp [...]

    24. As Eric pointed out, Fitzroy MacLean falls somewhere between Patrick Leigh Fermor and T.E. Lawrence. The blurb on the Penguin "World War II Collection" edition calls him "the original British action hero." True enough, but MacLean eschews pumped-up Rambo prose. The narrative is calm, sometimes speculative, humorous and intelligent – as well as packed with incident.We join MacLean at 25, a member of the British Embassy in Moscow, just in time for a front seat at the harrowing show trials of Buk [...]

    25. MacLean's accounts of the pre-WWII Soviet Union, and his travels in Central Asia make for a very interesting read. The second half of the book, particularly about his stay with Yugoslavian partisans fell a bit flat though, even though the subject itself inherently interested me. I'm somewhat disappointed with the book. Based on all the praise it got in the reviews, I expected more.

    26. Quite an experience, this one. Wide-ranging, moving, full of little character sketches and unlikely tales - none more unlikely than the events and coincidences of these seven years of life - all written in an easy, assured style that rarely falters.

    27. Don't judge a book by its cover. The cover of my edition doesn't do this book justice. With its gunmetal letters, SAS insignia, and prominent blurb from Col. Tim Collins, they're clearly aiming at the military history crowd. That's only very partially accurate. Yes, Fitzroy Maclean was in the SAS in the Western Desert. But that covers maybe only a third of the book. The other two-thirds are as much about politics as war. In particular, he provides a nuanced, self-aware, and often wryly humorous [...]

    28. I read this book in 2011 and it is still fresh in my memory. It was one of the most compelling and memorable reads I had during the previous decade. Written with great wit, obviously with information carefully filtered and not fully disclosed, it truly absorbs the reader into the atmosphere of the events. When I was reading a part about German offensive at Peljesac peninsula, I was by pure chance at Peljesac itself and the experience of this unexpected "time travel" was truly unique. Many of the [...]

    29. The book is a two different books, pre-ww2 and ww2. The author is a fine storyteller and the section on World War II and his exploits is well worth reading. The pre-World War II section is basically a travelouge of sorts, which I found very uninteresting because he has Little interaction with people in the country he visits. I did not have much interest in hearing about the great parties that this upper class Brit attended.

    30. I've read Eastern Approaches twice. Why? The thing that impressed me was the laid back nature of it all. Not at all daring do. Just matter of fact, 'had to be done', no bombast. Very Patrick Leigh Fermor and John Verney.

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