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Where Eagles Dare by Alistair Maclean

Where Eagles Dare (original 1967; edition 1967)

by Alistair Maclean

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1,011238,435 (3.85)49
Title:Where Eagles Dare
Authors:Alistair Maclean
Info:Doubleday (1967), Hardcover, 312 pages
Collections:Your library

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Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean (1967)


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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
It was always going to be difficult to enjoy this book having just read and been astounded by the brilliant Submerged by Thomas F Monteleone. As a youth I have fond memories of the boys own type thrillers by Scottish born Alistair McLean, and on initial reading I recall that Where Eagles Dare was a first class page-turner. Unfortunately revisiting this 2ndWW thriller after many years has not proved so enjoyable.

The story starts off with a great flourish when Major Smith and Lt Shaffer together with their motley crew are sent on a perilous mission to the Schloss Adler, a fortress high in the alps of Southern Bavaria. There is initial intrigue when having parachuted into enemy territory one of the saboteurs is found murdered, there is an enemy agent within the ranks! We then proceed in a set formulaic manner as Smith and Shaffer proceed to infiltrate the fortress stronghold by means of a perilous journey on the roof of a cable car. Their task it would appear is to rescue Col Carnaby before the Germans can interrogate him and discover the plans for the second front ie the expected imminent Normandy Landings. There is lots of shooting, and a final confrontation within the castle when the true nature of Smith’s mission is disclosed. This is followed by more shooting as our brave heroes depart the bloody scene amidst chaos and a smouldering fortress that is fast being destroyed by fire and turning into dust and decay.

This is a clean easily assimilated adventure story suited to the minds and attitude of teenage boys emerging from a youth spent reading the adventures of comic heroes Batman and Superman. It is not really a book to satisfy the intellect or demands of an adult reader due to its simplicity and soulless empty characters. It is probably best remembered for the 1968 movie starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood with the immortal words “Broadsword calling Danny Boy, he said Broadsword calling Danny Boy. Can you hear me? Can you hear me? It is also equally absurd as representing the German high command as bumbling fools who somehow allowed a small trained group of saboteurs to destroy a seemingly well protected impregnable fortress and as they escape are heard to say..” Gott in Himmel!” They’ve got away.”

Perhaps I criticize and reprimand a story that is simply there to entertain, and not to be viewed as a well researched and informative thriller. That may be so but in the final analysis I demand more from my reading than a routine adventure with a much frequented theme and a predictable conclusion. ( )
  runner56 | Feb 19, 2016 |
Where Eagles Dare is the most fast-paced, action-oriented, craziest thriller I have ever read. Which is good, because it's largely unbelievable. The plot is too crazy, the characters too unreal, etc., et al for this to be read as a believable book. And that is a shame.

In the book, a team of six British commandos and one American OSS agent parachute into the Alps to gain entrance to a German fortress that can only be accessed by aerial gondola. It's also the headquarters for the Gestapo and Nazi intelligence. It's surrounded by a barracks of German alpine troops, who are supposed to be elite.

The reason for this mission is, theoretically, to rescue a downed American general who is in charge of coordinating D-Day. They need to get him before the Germans get info out of him, so time is of the essence. We soon see, however, other reasons for the mission.

The protagonist, Smith, though is problematic. See, he possesses super human strength and endurance and is generally omniscient. In other words, not remotely believable. He rides atop the gondola twice without being blown off, in one case with Germans grabbing his legs and trying to throw him off. With the altitude, the high winds, and the cold, it just doesn't seem likely. Additionally, this book is full of double and even triple agents and Smith knows all. We're never told how he comes by half of his information; we're just to accept it. I have problems with that.

Nonetheless, as I said, it's an action packed book, a real page turner. It's rather stunning how they pull this off, all the while with people dying off all around them, and the twist at the end is a real shocker. Of course Smith knew of the twist. Yeah. I'd give this book three stars for believability, but it's so good, I'm giving it four. Recommended. ( )
  scottcholstad | Dec 16, 2014 |
Great pulp fiction. MacLean was a master. My only complaint is that the publisher was not careful with the formatting - quite a few small errors. ( )
  Bill.Bradford | Dec 15, 2014 |
With this do I end my reading chronicles for 2013, not a bad read to end the year with.

This is only my third Alistair MacLean read, and I am already a fan. MacLean's books are full of action, adventure, fast paced and generally a lot more fun. So what if the protagonist is Superman, or what if they are based on the good old principle of victory of good over evil?

The majority of MacLean's works, from what I gather are War thrillers, most of them Anti-German WW books, which he manages to write without portraying the Germans as super-villains, which I think is in itself a great achievement, yes, there is no Hitler and the war with the Germans may as well have been based in an alternative universe, with conventional warfare, a code of conduct, and no atrocities.

For all that, they are well written and all the positive sentiments expressed in the Para above, apply. What is the catch then, you ask? Even for works of fiction, they greatly lack that grossly over-rated factor, one calls "realistic". Doesn't put me off, neither should it, I think, these books don't advertise themselves to be history books; probability is not entertained either, possible is good enough for MacLean and it is good enough for me. ( )
  PiyushC | Dec 31, 2013 |
Forbidding peaks, resourceful commandos, beautiful spies, nonstop action, and neck-snapping plot twists make this the classic adventure thriller-the kind of page-turner that readers actually will find impossible to put down. A team of British Special Forces commandos parachutes into the high peaks of the Austrian Alps with the mission of stealing into an invulnerable alpine castle-accessible only by aerial gondola-the headquarters of Nazi intelligence. Supposedly sent in to rescue one of their own, their real mission turns out to be a lot more complicated-and the tension climbs as team members start to die off, one by one. Written by Alistair Maclean, author of the Guns of Navarone, this is the novel that set the pace for the modern action thriller (the film version, with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood, also helped), and it still packs twice the punch of most contemporary best-selling thrillers. What's more, the cast of spooks, turncoats, and commandos who drive this story are more relevant than ever in our new era of special forces, black ops, and unpredictable alliances.

Genre: [Thriller](/thriller/)
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
MacLean, Alistairprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hartun, Per A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martin, TimoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0002219247, Hardcover)

Where Eagles Dare, by MacLean, Alistair. 8vo.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:52 -0400)

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One winter night, seven men and a woman are parachuted onto a mountainside in wartime Germany. Their objective is to rescue a crashed American general before the Nazi interrogators can force him to reveal secret D-Day plans.

(summary from another edition)

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