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Behind Enemy Lines: The Autobiography of Britain's Most Decorated Living War Hero [Paperback]

Sir Tommy Macpherson , Richard Bath
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

2 Feb 2012

With three Military Crosses, three Croix de guerre, a Légion d'honneur and a papal knighthood for his heroics during the Second World War, Sir Tommy Macpherson is the most decorated living soldier of the British Army.

Yet for 65 years the Highlander's story has remained untold. Few know how, aged 21, he persuaded 23,000 SS soldiers of the feared Das Reich tank column to surrender, or how Tommy almost single-handedly stopped Tito's Yugoslavia annexing the whole of north-east Italy. Twice captured, he escaped both times, marching through hundreds of miles of German-held territory to get home.

Still a schoolboy when war broke out, Tommy quickly matured into a legendary commando, and his remarkable story features a dizzyingly diverse cast of characters, including Winston Churchill, Field Marshal Montgomery and Charles de Gaulle.

Frequently Bought Together

Behind Enemy Lines: The Autobiography of Britain's Most Decorated Living War Hero + Tomorrow You Die: The Astonishing Survival Story of a Second World War Prisoner of the Japanese + The Forgotten Highlander: My Incredible Story of Survival During the War in the Far East
Price For All Three: £20.58

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing; Reprint edition (2 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845967089
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845967086
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 42,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"My book of the year, without question . . . reads like a combination of a Biggles adventure and Dick Barton" (Jeffrey Archer in Books of the Year 2010 Daily Telegraph)

"One of Scotland's most courageous sons" (Sunday Herald)

"Recreates the adventure" (The Times Literary Supplement)

Book Description

The astonishing story of how an ordinary boy came to achieve truly extraordinary feats when war came calling

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You couldn't make it up 28 Oct 2010
A very readable book about a man who took opportunities when they arose and lived through the war on his wits with a certain amount of luck and charm thrown in. If this was made into a film it would seem too fantastic.
It also gives an insight into a certain generation when you either had jam or butter on your bread,not both, bad manners were not tollerated and travel by public transport or foot was the norm. I'm not sure I would walk 3 miles for Sunday dinner, I could, but I don't think I would. Although he clearly feels that his rugby wasn't up to much, compared to his brother, few get to play at that level and his achievements whether during or post war make a remarkable story.

Having met the author I have to say that he still maintains the charm that comes over in the book and a remarkable amount of modesty considering his experiences and achievements. A very good read and recommended as a Xmas present for anyone with an interest in WWII.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
A fascinating and very readable life story of one of the real tough men of that generation who are fast disappearing. It is to Sir Tommy's great credit that he has committed his story to print for us to get some insight into what happened during WW2. This is one of those rare books that I will read again very soon after the first reading and I thoroughly recommend it.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 18 Jan 2011
Like a few other reviewers I expected this book to be about the authors expoits during the Second World War. The book covered this subject admirably, plus his childhood and schooling which I found fascinating. This is probably one of the best "behind the lines" accounts of the Second World War that I have read to date. However, the author spoils the book by turning it into a name dropping exercise regarding his successes since the War. The author is obviously a remarkable chap, but was it necessary to name in detail all of the businesses he has worked for and the board positions he has successfully held since then? What started off as a biography earning a five star review quickly became deteriorated to three stars, and by the end became very tedious. My suggestion is that any readers should put the book down and lose it at the point where the War ends, allowing your opinion of the author to remain in the hero category which he justifiably deserves.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Mike
This is a book guaranteed to make you feel totally inadequate! Sir Tommy seemed to succeed in everything he attempted. The fact that he got through the war at all was a feat in itself given his exploits. I agree with the majority of other reviewers that the second half of the book, about his business life mainly, was dull and full of name dropping. That said, I thought his description of his politics tutorials at Oxford which he shared with Tony Crosland was fascinating.

Definitely worth purchasing if you want a nice easy read to while away a few hours at an airport!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile read 30 Dec 2010
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am pleased and grateful that Sir Tommy MacPherson got around to sharing his story with a wider public. It is well written by his ghostwriter Richard Bath. Although I would agree with another reviewer that the chapters on childhood and civilian life might be of less interest than his wartime experiences, in my opinion these DO add something to the book: it is clear that Sir Tommy is an extremely able and determined character who managed to surmount all sorts of difficulties from childhood onwards. I don't read war stories usually, but would certainly recommend this one highly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SUPERB 26 Jan 2011
By tamgers
This book is the first ive read from the ww2 genre and i highly rate it, if you want to read about true heroes from ww2 then this is the book.... buy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Behind Enemy Lines 19 Feb 2014
By Trains
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I assumed wrongly that this book was going to be about its Title ! " Behind Enemy Lines" Wrong, some of it was , but very little. Even from the beginning it became a book about name dropping. I appreciate that it does say somewhere on the cover that it is an autobiography, but the Title itself does not suggest that. It is not a book I would recommend to anyone who thinks that all it is going to be is story of his army life during the war. The majority of the book is given partly to his school life, university life, then much of it is his life after the war which consists mainly of name dropping of who I knew and who I got jobs with.
In my opinion a very poor book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dissapointing 26 Dec 2013
By Grajo
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
So upset as I bought this for a Xmas present for a man of over 70. He wears glasses to read but the print is so ridiculously small on the paperback version. Surely the producers of this paperback would assume that this book would be of interest mostly to older readers? What a shame as the book content is obviously so excellent. If I had had time I would have returned it to Amazon but didn't have time before Xmas. Hope my friend has a magnifying glass!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting read
Published 9 days ago by Wiggy
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Fascinating book
Published 17 days ago by Candida Parry Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars buy it, read it - great
Buy it and you will not be able to put it down
Published 1 month ago by RTW
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Guy!
What a fabulous read.Cannot understand why Hollywood have not got there hands on it!!
Published 1 month ago by David Rawson
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written book
Really enjoyable read. Not heavy in the least. Covers topic in detail and with humour. Do we have men like him today?
Published 2 months ago by sandycam
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable Sir Tommy Macpherson
A remarkable memoir of a very brave man who fought his war - WW11 - in a kilt. Thoroughly recommended.
Published 2 months ago by Tony Johnson
3.0 out of 5 stars First half is a cracker
I read someone else's review before buying which said that the first half is really good but the second half reads like a list of impressive personalities that Macpherson met. Read more
Published 4 months ago by W. D. Slater
5.0 out of 5 stars Good read
I havn't read it my wife has says it's an excellent book on that recomendation i will now read it
Published 6 months ago by james sherville
1.0 out of 5 stars Too long
army stuff decent although if I'd known this book was a jolly hockey sticks British establishment brochure I wouldn't have bothered.
Published 7 months ago by neil young
5.0 out of 5 stars bought for a gift
excellent book bought for my father but we have both read it and passed it on to another family member - thrilling book could not put it down. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Carol Thompson
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