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Paddy Mayne: Lt Col Blair 'Paddy' Mayne, 1 SAS Regiment

Paddy Mayne: Lt Col Blair 'Paddy' Mayne, 1 SAS Regiment [Kindle Edition]

Hamish Ross
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

An Irish solicitor and international rugby player, Blair 'Paddy' mayne become one of the most outstanding soldiers and leaders of the Second World War. After seeing action in Syria with the Commandos, he joined the new unit that David Stirling was establishing, the Special Air Service. The raids Mayne led in the Western Desert destroyed over one hundred enemy aircraft on the ground. The common factor in these successes was Mayne's ability to read the situation, anticipate how the enemy would react, and then attack. Mayne was twenty-two when he won the DSO for the first time. Mayne subsequently led the unit in Italy, France and Germany, winning a further bar to the DSO in each of these campaigns, as well as the Croix de Guerre and the Legion d'Honneur. At the end of the war, after a short period with an Antarctic Survey, Mayne returned to the law. In 1955 he died in a car accident, aged forty. Soon after his death, misinformation about Mayne began to appear. He was portrayed variously as a classical tragic hero of drama, and a man of anger and aggression. Hamish Ross's work largely refutes these standard interpretations, using official war diaries, the early chronicle of 1 SAS, Mayne's papers and diaries, and a number of extended interviews with key contemporaries. It has the support of the Mayne family and the SAS Regimental Association. Hamish Ross strips away the legend and leaves Mayne not dim

About the Author

Hamish Ross PhD became interested in the legendary wartime SAS commander Lt Col Blair 'Paddy' Mayne through a boyhood link with one of the 'L' Detachment originals. What started as a journal article soon turned into a far more substantial work when he saw the extent and quality of the archive material available.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 775 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (26 Aug 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S. r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078XH7L2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #156,210 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A grand fighting man 18 Mar 2007
'Paddy Mayne' by Hamish Ross is, so far as I am aware, the third biography of Blair Mayne, who was one of the leading lights of the wartime SAS - the other books are 'Rogue Warrior of the SAS' by Roy Bradford and Martin Dillon and the rather hagiographic 'Colonel Paddy' by Patrick Marrinan. Of the three, I happen to think that Ross' book is the best.

Ross bemoans the fact that Mayne was denied the Victoria Cross, which he so richly deserved and who was instead awarded a third bar to his DSO. I happen to agree; and given Mayne's magnificent fighting record, a couple of Military Crosses and a post-war OBE would not have come amiss.

In common with many fighting men, who display cold-blooded ferocity during battle, Mayne was prone to bouts of sentimentality during periods of calm and Hamish Ross has quite obviously carried out meticulous and detailed research regarding his subject. But has he gone too far in endeavouring to whitewash Mayne's character? Possibly. Ross is a very fine writer but all the way through his book, he continually belittles, criticises and contradicts the research carried out by Messrs Bradford and Dillon for their book. Whether he's right or wrong, this he should not do; it is unprofessional and for a writer as good as Hamish Ross, there is no excuse, nor any need for it.

The book is a good one, and I look forward to reading more from the pen of Hamish Ross.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nihil Nisi Bonum Mortuis 8 Jun 2010
This generally nicely-written book goes into the life of that most (in the contemporary hackneyed description) "iconic" of the SAS pantheon of heroes, "Paddy" Mayne. The photograph on the cover is the famous one of Mayne in the desert wearing his officer's cap with SAS badge. The look is keen, intent, alert, the visage almost pagan in its singlemindedness. The close-cut beard gives Mayne the look, not inappropriate for a desert warrior-venturer, of one of the more ruthless and piratical Elizabethan sea-captains.

I have to agree with other reviewers that this book could well be described as a bit of a whitewash; certainly, the author "accentuates the positive" to the extent that he dismisses tales of the more negative aspects of Mayne's personality as gossip or undocumented scuttlebutt. I do not think that this will do. As another reviewer has said, Stirling, the founder of the SAS, himself talked of Mayne's "satanic rages" and confessed himself to be at times a little intimidated by Mayne when the latter was in one of his moods...

The author tries to blame Mayne's postwar meanderings and problems (which he, also, minimizes) as having been the result of what he had seen and done in the war. The comparison with Audie Murphy, the most-decorated American in that war and later film actor, is drawn. However, playing the armchair psychologist, one can plainly see that Mayne's personality was at least borderline psychopathic (the same might be said of that of Stirling), but there again, totally stable sensible people do not volunteer for the kind of war service Mayne performed so ably.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as I expected - a frustrating read. 14 Oct 2008
I've been waiting for this book, or something like it, to come out and I was looking forward to reading it.

Hamish Ross set out to write a correction to the previous works on Paddy Mayne and to an extent he's succeeded in this. I thought it was a passable enough biography, but sometimes there was just too much attention to detail and it interfered with the narrative. For God's sake, who needs to know who handled what bit of paper in Cairo in 1942, for example?

Taking sideswipes at other authors' work on a regular basis throughout is also irritating to the reader and only needs to be done once.

However, those are just minor points. Of much more concern, to me at least, were two main things; the disjointed flow of events in the story (I got the impression that parts of it were written a long time removed from others and he'd forgotten he'd already covered certain incidents just a few pages earlier) and how little description was given to many individual, and important, actions Mayne took part in. Relying on the laconic and spare letters of Mayne to describe an action is a waste of the reader's time and isn't what we pay an author for.

Ross is a historical author who seems to have done fairly thorough research, but frankly he's not that much of a storyteller and Paddy Mayne deserves a better job than this.

In conclusion - I'm glad I only borrowed it, for I'd be mightily pissed off if I'd paid good money for this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're not worthy 23 Dec 2011
By Renzo
Astounding character and a good example of dangerous traits being moulded to good use in harsh conditions.

I feel that the author belittled the whole exercise in a later section of the book by considering his sexuality briefly. Did it matter, are we bothered. This to me jarred with an otherwise gripping read.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Taming The Beast 9 Feb 2004
Hamish Ross's study of Blair Mayne, co-founder of the SAS, one of only 8 men in WW2 to be awarded the DSO 4 times is well written: certainly the least sensationalised and most balanced study of Mayne so far published. Unfortunately, it is also flawed by innaccuracy. Ross evidently started out with the intention of 'whitewashing' the character of this enigmatic man who was both an Irish rugby international and a champion boxer before the war. There is no doubt that many stories of Mayne's drunken brawls are exaggerated, yet David Stirling himself commented on Mayne's 'satanic rages' which, he said, explained why Paddy was so brilliant in battle. The legend about Mayne's recruitment to the SAS was that Stirling found him in prison awaiting trial for assaulting his commanding officer, Geoffrey Keyes of 11 Commando. The legend is almost certainly untrue - Mayne was not in prsion at the time, but he WAS dismissed from 11 Commando for beating up another officer in a drunken rage. There is irrefutable documentary evidence of this that Dr. Ross doesn't mention. I am very much in favour of de-sensationalising heroes, but one ought to at least obtain the correct facts.
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