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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A grand fighting man
'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...
Published on 18 Mar. 2007 by Mr. R. D. M. Kirby

versus
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nihil Nisi Bonum Mortuis
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...
Published on 8 Jun. 2010 by Ian Millard


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14 of 15 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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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nihil Nisi Bonum Mortuis, 8 Jun. 2010
By 
Ian Millard - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Paddy Mayne (Hardcover)
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.

The author does address the alleged misogynistic aspect of Mayne's character, only to dismiss the allegation (some have gone further, on no very obvious evidence, and said outright that Mayne was gay). It seems to me that he was the product of a "buttoned-up" Ulster upbringing, which explains a lot of his shyness with women. That, plus the fact that in his rugby-playing environment before WW2 there were few women around, probably and those very likely even more buttoned-up. As for the desert war, the milieu there speaks for itself. Very much a Boys Own environment, devoid of many non-combatants, let alone women and (even more so) women likelt to be either attractive or available.

I found the book a fairly good read if (because of the relentlessly positive picture-drawing) a little bloodless. The author does tend to criticize other authors who have written on the subject.

In the end all one can say is that this was a fearsome warrior who no doubt well deserved his many decorations, which included the DSO and three bars (i.e. he "won the DSO" in effect four times, the last time very nearly winning him the VC), the Croix de Guerre and the Legion d'Honneur.

In Mayne's case and whatever one may think of the whole concept of "special forces", iconic is perhaps the right word. Or legendary.
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11 of 12 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
3.0 out of 5 stars A more balanced picture, 2 Jan. 2015
By 
H. Rogers - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
A somewhat detached biography of the Irish war hero. The author is not helped by the subject who did not write an autobiography and was not given to self expression in his journals or letters. However, the author compounds this with a stiff turgid writing style with several of Mayne's battle reports quoted verbatim. This book would not appeal to the general reader and is only for those with a specific interest in the subject (my father met Blair Mayne in the early fifties, a couple of years before Mayne was killed in a car crash.) In fairness to the author he paints an admiring and sympathetic portrait of Mayne and quite rightly dimisses many of the hyperbole Mayne stories that became common currency, particularly after his death. What emerges is a picture of a brave,talented solder who unfortunately, like many veterans, suffered from Post Tramatic Stress in the post war years. It must have been extremely difficult for a man of action like Mayne to settle down in parochial dull Northern Ireland after the war. On a minor note the author had made some mistakes when summarising Mayne's pre army sporting life-the British Lions did not win the 1938 series against the Springboks, as the author claims, they lost it 2-1.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We're not worthy, 23 Dec. 2011
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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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Taming The Beast, 9 Feb. 2004
By 
M. Asher "FRSL" (Kenya) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Paddy Mayne (Hardcover)
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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5.0 out of 5 stars A bit clinical, but very interesting!, 15 Jan. 2015
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In an attempt to appear squeaky clean and not seen as cashing-in on the Paddy Mayne story, Ross has made this book rather sterile.
However, that said, it is good to read something like this, as, being (I'm going to use this word, but I mean it as a complement) "boring", it's not all machine-guns from the hip, carrying two men 100-miles across the desert with no water and a bullet in his shoulder-type stuff.
It's good, honest reporting.
Very interesting, really, and it shows Paddy to be a real human-being, after all, and not this super-human, bullet-proof gunslinger that the other "truth-about-the-SAS" books would have you believe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great character, 26 July 2013
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This review is from: Paddy Mayne: Lt Col Blair 'Paddy' Mayne, 1 SAS Regiment (Kindle Edition)
This book has been written about a man who was a big wheel in the Forming of the SAS legend
Well worth a read it is hard to actually forget this is a true story
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2.0 out of 5 stars must have been written by an accountant, 24 Aug. 2013
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How the author managed to take such an interesting and exiting subject and then produce a book that was as exiting as reading a balance sheet is beyond me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic action packed book, 21 July 2014
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This review is from: Paddy Mayne: Lt Col Blair 'Paddy' Mayne, 1 SAS Regiment (Kindle Edition)
A fantastic action packed book, Lt Col Blair Mayne was a true Brit.and the type of man only the rest of us could dream of becoming
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