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. ...Read MoreFitztroy 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...Read Less
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This is one of my favorite books, which I re-read every couple of years. MacLean was a British diplomat who in the 1930s voluntarily left his glamorous post in Paris for what was considered a dead-end at the Moscow embassy. He immediately set out to do what was considered impossible: personally travel to the far reaches of the hermetically sealed USSR, succeeding on the strength of wit, hubris, and above all an almost magical knack for manipulating the system in his favor (getting an NKVD escort on more than one occasion). He also had a ringside seat at the show trials of Bukharin, Yagoda, and others who had fallen out of favor with Stalin. And that's only the first third of the book. The remainder traces his subsequent WW II exploits in the Libyan desert and as England's attache to Tito's partisans hiding out in the Yugoslavian forests. A rip-roaring read.
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