Eastern Approaches () is an autobiographical account of the early career of Fitzroy Maclean. It is divided into three parts: his life as a junior diplomat in. Buy Eastern Approaches (Penguin World War II Collection) by Fitzroy MaClean ( ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and. Eastern Approaches has ratings and 97 reviews. Here Fitzroy Maclean recounts his extraordinary adventures in Soviet Central Asia, in the Western.

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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Eastern Approaches by Fitzroy MacLean. Mqclean is the classic true adventure story of a man who by the pen, the sword and the diplomatic pouch influenced some of the most significant events of our era.

Here Fitzroy Maclean recounts his extraordinary adventures in Soviet Central Asia, in the Western Desert, where he specialized in hair-raising commando-style raids behind enemy lines, and with Tito’s partisans durin This is the classic true adventure story of a man who by the pen, the sword and the diplomatic pouch influenced some of the most significant events of our era.

Eastern Approaches – Wikipedia

Here Fitzroy Maclean recounts his extraordinary adventures in Soviet Fitzryo Asia, in the Western Desert, where he specialized in hair-raising commando-style raids behind enemy lines, and with Tito’s partisans during the last months of the German occupation of Yugoslavia.

An enthralling narrative, brilliantly told, “Eastern Approaches” is also a vivid personal view of episodes that have already become part of history. Paperbackpages. Published Eaztern 1st by Penguin Global first published January 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

To ask other readers questions about Eastern Approachesplease sign up. Lists with This Book. Mar 27, Christopher Bunn rated it it was amazing.

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. Eastern Approaches is Good galloping gallons of grief. His memoirs begin with his years in eatern Embassy in Paris, follow him to Moscow during the 30s, head southwest to North Africa where he joined the genesis of Britain’s Special Air Service, and then ends up in Yugoslavia where he was the British liaison to Fitzfoy.

Brilliantly and humorously written, breathtaking in its insight in such unique and terrible historical periods Stalin’s purges in pre-war Moscow, the SAS operations in North Africa, and, most enthralling, the strange days of Tito and his partisans fighting the Germans in Yugoslaviaand warmly human, I can’t easetrn highly enough about what MacLean has done with this book.

It is his life.

In a very profound way, his book makes me question whether or not the human race has simply evolved downwards, post-MacLean. Sure enough, there it was, at http: My jaw dropped open. What a life for one so young; and what a telling reminder to us all: 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 mind, a balanced self-confidence, sound judgement, utter and complete unselfishness, the unhesitating trust of men … all are qualities we would dearly wish to be bestowed by a fairy godmother on our own children.

Stalin of espionage, sabotage, murder, and high treason. The course of the trial as described by Maclean is not read, but seen.

Eastern Approaches

Seen by the head-stilled eyes of the reader sitting in the theatre that is the court; hardly daring to breathe as the plot of the game unfolds, twists, as hope and hopelessness, hearts less noble and hearts more evil follow easetrn steps of the political game which all are so very, very familiar with, a searing form pre-ordained, inescapable.

Here is the blackest of prosecutors, the most awful, haunting expression of risk, of high, nay, the highest political stakes risked and lost; a loss bearing the most unthinkable of prices. What is it in our human condition that causes us to act thus? One snake, one apple? I count myself extremely fortunate to have a copy of this book Third Impression.


How wonderful to have technology that allows us to hear macpean to hear the voice of a forebear. I agree with him. If we lose the ability to remember and cherish our past, then we cast aside our ability to assess the present and to plan the future. And what a life! So after Eton he is accepted into the Foreign Office Aproachesand is sent to Paris for three years; after which he requested a posting to Moscow.

Maclwan FO thought him quite mad, but said that would be no problem because no one else wanted to go there!

Later on, having left the FO in order to join the military. Maclean met a friend David Stirling who only a few weeks before had raised a new crack fighting unit: From what Maclean describes he very clearly did! How many present day members of the SAS will read this book and marvel at the very notion of being asked to join the newly-formed crack regiment; rather than having to first undergo what I am told are in our present day the most strenuous application procedure, intelligence and endurance tests set by any military force?

Yet how glibly the term trips off the tongue; that already we should mention it in the same breath, as the present awful crisis surrounding Syria. This book can, at one level, be simply read as one of the best adventure stories ever written. Yet there is something very much more to it than just that. There Maclean met Tito a very shadowy figure at that time a hard-headed Communist, a decision maker with a sense of humour.

This book informed me on that war, and the human condition, more deeply than almost any number of television news reporters did at the time, or other commentators since. Roy Plomley asks him why he chooses that piece. Later on in the programme, Maclean justifies his confidence that he would survive on a desert island.

He observes how in Yugoslavia he lived off the land. I think he would have, too! Plomley, unusually, offers in addition that same title in English. He wants only the Russian text; for the purpose of keeping his mental faculties fully sharpened! View all 6 comments. I was turned on to Eastern Approaches while reading about the Soviet purges of 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 macoean Caucuses and Central Asia, with Samarkand and Easetrn as chief destinations for his journ I was turned on to Eastern Approaches while reading about the Soviet purges of 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 journeys.

He then went into the ranks and climbed quickly to Brigadier?!? After an interesting kidnapping mission in Iran, MacLean was handed the military cum diplomatic mission to Tito and the Partisans, then scrambling through the wilds of Bosnia ahead of Nazi troops and local collaborators. The book was entirely worth the read, if only for the slightly self-conscious but hugely entertaining voice of MacLean.

There is a certain boyish enthusiasm in his maclsan where even long and desperate marches with guerilla appdoaches or terrifying drives through endless desert without water take on the flavor easyern a Boy Scout adventure.

His political analysis also shines through as measured, pragmatic, and with easyern eye to the unexpected opportunity.

It was disappointing to see a mind sharp as MacLean’s descend into trite stereotypes and occasionally, more virulently racist depictions as seen in an encounter with an Italian Somali soldier in Benghazi. His laziness in attributing behavior to the inherent nature of the Russian “race” muddied up otherwise clear-eyed observation of ordinary Soviet people’s way of coping with extraordinary oppression.

For the most part, however, for a man of his background and class, he clearly had an ability to relate to people on their own terms and plunge into new environments and relationships with enthusiasm.


His extraordinary linguistic skills left me sighing in envy, as well- dropped behind enemy lines and he still takes to Serbo-Croatian like a duck to water There was an interesting silence in his chapters on his time in Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia- he writes very little on atrocities committed against civilian populations and the little he does write is sanitized for example, the story of the unfortunate child Ginger.

Given the ferocity of the Ustashe regime’s commitment to final solution-style ethnic cleansing, it was strange to find MacLean’s narrative largely devoid of information on the subject at least until the end and the capture of Belgrade. At the close of his narrative he casually mentions a conversation with a Red Army soldier on the Soviet man’s plan to execute captured German and collaborationist soldiers, a conversation later confirmed by piles of soldiers shot execution style.

I cannot begin to guess what such narrative silences indicate- lack of knowledge at the British mission to the Partisans on the full extent of the situation? Hesitancy or inability to write about the carnage? Certainly the grim reality of life for many in the former kingdom of Yugoslavia would have been an awkward fit with MacLean’s witty, breezy, detached narration.

The cameos of places I have visited, such as the large fresh water stone cistern in Siwa, Egypt, where I spent an afternoon tossing lemons back and forth with local kids while splashing around, were arresting in how little had changed. The depiction of places still unknown to me were tempting- do I have time to learn Russian? Despite his repeated disparagement of the slow and grinding inevitability of a diplomatic career, MacLean clearly always retained the framework and approach of a Foreign Office type.

Despite his relish in knocking out tactical victories one after the other, it was in his strategic vision and his rather amusing access to people no less than Churchill that clearly left its mark on the course of the war in the Balkans.

Still, MacLean’s love of action for the sake of adventure was clearly a defining personality trait- apparently he and his wife were driving relief supplies into the former Yugoslavia in a pause in the Balkan wars of the 90s, despite being in their 70s at the time. Well worth the read: Once more, by sheer force of personality and intellect, he compelled attention.

Staring up at him, row upon row, smug, self-satisfied, and hostile, sat the new generation of Communists, revolutionaries no longer in the old sense, but worshippers of the established order, deeply suspicious of dangerous thoughts.

Watching him standing there, frail and defiant, one had the feeling that here, facing destruction, was the last survivor of a vanished race, of the men who had made the Revolution, who had fought and toiled all their lives for an ideal, and who now, rather than betray it, were letting themselves be crushed by their own creation. Churchill’s reply left me in no doubt as to the answer to my problem.

So long, he said, as the whole of Western civilization was threatened by the Nazi menace, we could not afford to let our attention be diverted from the immediate issue by considerations of long-term policy. We were as loyal to our Soviet Allies as we hoped they were to us. My task was simply to find out who was killing the most Germans and suggest means by which we could help them to kill more.

Politics must be a secondary consideration. Almost everyone there was a Cabinet Minister in one or other of the two Jugoslav Governments, and there was much shouting and laughter as one blue and phosphorescent Excellency cannoned into another, bobbing about in that caerulean twilight.

Then we emerged once more into the sunlight and sea breezes and lunched off of lobsters and white wine. It was choppy going home and several of the party were sick.