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The Guns of Navarone by Alistair MacLean
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The Guns of Navarone (1957)

by Alistair MacLean

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Navarone (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,309318,683 (3.87)86
  1. 00
    Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean (hsuvarna)
    hsuvarna: Both are wonderful war stories.
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» See also 86 mentions

English (23)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (31)
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According to Wikipedia,
"The Greek island of Navarone does not exist and the plot is fictitious; however, the story takes place within the real historical context of the Dodecanese Campaign, the Allies' campaign to capture the German-held Greek islands in the Aegean Sea in 1943. The story is based on the Battle of Leros, and Leros island's coastal artillery guns – among the largest naval artillery guns used during World War II – that were built and used by the Italians until Italy capitulated in 1943 and subsequently used by the Germans until their defeat."

I have seen the film version a few times but found the book more interesting, in part because the reader is given the thoughts of various characters along the way which changed my feeling about some of them. In the book, all the characters are male - I can understand why the 2 natives of Navarone were changed to women in the movie but the story makes more sense this way. Of course, having seen the movie removed some of the tension from the book as I knew what was coming; I admire the way MacLean gives the reader clues to what will come very subtly, almost like Agatha Christie! ( )
  leslie.98 | Aug 31, 2018 |
I used to read Alistair MacLean's work many years ago. At the time, I found his best novels to be exciting works with gripping suspense, distinctive characters, intriguing scenarios, and unexpected plot twists. Granted, their focus was always on hard-to-believe action and male- daring, with few female characters and no attention to the human side of existence. Having read every one of his books, I own more copies of his works than all but one LT member.

I picked up a hardback copy of The Guns of Navarone recently, to see how well it had aged. To my surprise and enjoyment, it has all of the features I used to like in his novels. It is classic World War II fiction, of course (see the description below from an online source). It is an action packed thriller, and the Allied operatives show superhuman skill and bravery against the Germans; in fact, their survival and success against all odds is far from credible, requiring quite a suspension of disbelief. Nevertheless, I found it quite enjoyable. Given the qualities of this work, I do wonder why he isn't read more by modern readers. If he were publishing these works today, would they be on nationwide best seller lists? Perhaps so; of 119 reviews of The Guns of Navarone at Amazon, 86% give it four or five stars. as do the great majority of those ranking it here at Library Thing.

Based on this experience, I shall reread other examples of MacLean's best work, such as my former favorites, Where Eagles Dare, Force Ten from Navarone, and When Eight Bells Toll.
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Online description: It is 1943. Two huge German guns in a grim, impregnable fortress on a beautiful island off the coast of Turkey are having a devastating impact on Allied shipping and preventing the evacuation of hard-pressed British troops from the nearby island of Kheros. The Germans are poised to overrun and unless the guns can be put out of action within a matter of days, a thousand men will die. All previous attempts to attack the fortress of Navarone have failed. It is time for one last desperate throw of the dice. And so a select Subversive Operations commando unit, led by the famous pre-war mountaineer Captain Keith Mallory, launches a daring and very possibly suicidal attack. ( )
1 vote danielx | Jul 28, 2017 |
A very good thriller. The attitudes of the characters are very 1950's, the ethos that also gave rise to the James Bond stories. Our hero is a skilled climber, plucked from a relative backwater to perform a desperate mission. The locals are helpful, bt engaged in their own politics, and the villain, a former professional rival. A satisfying escape. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jun 25, 2017 |
A WWII spy thriller. Navarone, a Greek island, taken over by the Nazi’s giving them a stronghold position for guns that prevent Allied troop movement throughout the Mediterranean. These guns must be destroyed as a “Dunkirk-style” evacuation of Allied troops is necessary. But it will take a small group of saboteurs to make it possible.
Published in 1957 this category of writing was very popular and spellbinding. The elements of good vs evil with men willing to go against unbelievable odds to help their fellow soldiers.

I read this in the 60’s and 70’s and can only say it as good today as it was then.
Alistair MacLean was a very gifted storyteller and I highly recommend this if you like suspense, thriller, and action. ( )
  Bettesbooks | Sep 30, 2016 |
A seemingly impossible military mission to take a target that is supposedly impregnable. Good set up and wonderful suspense. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
MacLean, Alistairprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Helander, ColbjørnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pacey, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pacey, StevenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tejn, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vuoristo, AaroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zacke, EinarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Hungarian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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First words
The match scratched noisily across the rusted metal of the corrugated iron shed, fizzled, then burst into a sputtering pool of light, the harsh sound and sudden brilliance alike strangely alien in the stillness of the desert night.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Information from the Hungarian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Information from the Hungarian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0449214729, Mass Market Paperback)

An entire navy had tried to silence the guns of Navarone and failed. Full-scale attacks had been driven back. Now they were sending in just five men, each one a specialist in dealing death.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:31 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"A British team tries to destroy the guns on Navarone that control the approaches to the eastern Mediterranean Islands." *** "World War II is being fought, and the Germans control the island that guards the approaches to the eastern Mediterranean with big guns. After all other attempts have failed, a five-men British army team is chosen to silence the guns of Navarone. They land on the island, elude the Nazis, and scale a seemingly unclimbable cliff." Shapiro. Fic for Youth.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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