Alistair MacLean's War

How the Royal Navy Shaped his Bestsellers

Mark Simmons

While not a whole life biography, Mark Simmon's book provides a fascinating insight into Maclean's war service and subsequent literary works, which deserve enduring popularity.
Date Published :
May 2022
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
22 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781399019385

Dimensions : 9.1 X 6.1 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 208


It is no coincidence that many of Alistair MacLean's most successful novels were sea stories. In 1941, he was called up after volunteering for the Royal Navy and served as Ordinary Seaman, Able Seaman, and Leading Torpedo Operator. For the majority of his service, he was on HMS Royalist, a modified Dido-class light cruiser, seeing action in the Arctic, and operations against the German battleship Tirpitz. The ship then deployed to the Mediterranean taking part in Operation Dragoon the invasion of the South of France and later in operations against German occupied Greek Islands in the Aegean. After which MacLean and Royalist were deployed to the Indian Ocean and operations against the Japanese in Malaya, Burma, and Sumatra.

His wartime experiences coupled with exceptional literary skill resulted in the runaway success of his first novel HMS Ulysses (1955) followed by The Guns of Navarone (1957) and South by Java Head (1958). These three blockbusters cemented his position as one of the most successful and highly paid authors of the era.

While not a whole life biography, Mark Simmon’s book provides a fascinating insight into Maclean’s war service and subsequent works, which deserve enduring popularity.

About The Author

Mark Simmons comes from a family with a long tradition of service in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and in the 1970s he served in the Royal Marines. He has written 200 feature articles for publications in the UK and USA on naval/military, motoring and travel subjects, as well as four non-fiction books and five novels.

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