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on 4 June 2011
This is a thrilling and hilarious book about a real person (is it PC to say "real man"?), a product of an extraordinary environment, thrust into extraordinary times.

More interestingly for me, it does not focus exclusively on his wartime exploits, but also sketches his life pre- and post-war, giving clues as to how a tough upbringing in the outposts of Empire was a common factor in the backgrounds of many Special Forces heroes and also giving an indication of the problems faced by those same heroes in coming to terms with peacetime existence.

Mister Major Geoff's original memoir "A Fool Rushed In" features heavily in this account and rightly so, but Roger Field's carefully-crafted work picks out the key elements and places them in context. If you've read "Operation Mincemeat", this will shed light on the other end of that great deception.

Forget all the Flashman references in other reviews;this guy was no poltroon and Roger Field has brought him vividly to life.

Read it, enjoy it and be grateful there were men like this around at the time.
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VINE VOICEon 5 February 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Geoff Gordon-Creed won a Military Cross in the North African desert and a DSO in Greece. That says a lot, I think.
Initially a tank officer, he went on to join the SOE and spent a considerable time behind enemy lines in Greece, organising resistance to the German and Italian occupying forces.
Major Geoff, as he became known, left behind a memoir of his exploits and these form the basis of this book. (He died in 2002, aged 82). The book is held together by notes from Roger Field, himself an ex-army officer and veteran of the Falklands war. He's inserted his notes into the text in italics to make it clear who's written what. The notes are not in any way intrusive and add depth to the narrative.
Please understand this - Gordon-Creed had no worries about the people he killed and the women he slept with, and both are described. This is a most unusual book in that it shows a different, personal side to war.
Highly recommended.
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on 24 August 2011
If you are into fictional or non-fictional secrets and intelligence gathering; into behind the lines private armies, like the SAS, and guerrilla warfare, this book is for you. If the hero is then charming, alluring to anything young plain or glamorous walking in skirts, then add his encounter with Ian Fleming in Jamaica in the 1950s and you have the makings of one of his many prototype Bonds licensed to serve, and to kill - only the majority of the stories in this book are very true, and the rest as in all secrets who knows.

Geoffrey Gordon-Creed, the name he was professionally known, operated closely in the desert with heroes, such as Lt Gen Herbert Lumsden, and the gunner Brig "Jock" Campbell, VC of the desert "Boxes", as well as the mythical founder of the SAS,Col David Stirling. To his men he was a crack shot; to his women he was a dream, a heartbreaker, a "descendant of Lord Byron", for him they were simply to be seduced to be enjoyed as pawns in the struggle; while for his enemies he was a wanted murderer with a high price on his head. He could not stomach pompous fools, paper-pushing "wallahs" at General Staff, or those who shouted rank to stop him; he even considered the "open" rank-free SAS as too structured. He was his own force building up his own platoons, and obtained instant effective results. But being in the midst of political intrigue, he gained as much respect, and hostility from his own military and political superiors - a few obviously eager to have him silenced or killed off in the next battle if they dared to.

For veterans, military historians, and general readers his tales are full of action and interesting personal anecdotes. Those given these facts will want more and more. They are written from the heart as it was felt, sometimes in an original, less than traditional style. While still a lowly Second Lieutenant, in the 2nd Royal Gloster Hussars, he was awarded his immediate MC in his first action at El Gubi, in November 1941, for knocking out at least two Italian tanks. There, "Lt/Capt/Maj Geoff", as he was always known, he demonstrated the limits of his anger: while limping wounded and being hurled a grenade, he sprinted forward to the stalled tank, hopped aboard and gladly dropped one grenade down the turret, so blowing the "Ities" "to hell!"

Before his most incredible period in Greece, Geoff had already been captured and escaped using a cunning plan; he had brought down and captured a Luftwaffe ace with a Knight's Cross, and had fought in his single crazy and failed large raid on Benghazi in September 1942 with the SAS.

It was in Greece, however, that his name ruled, and was feared. Geoff operated behind the lines for over 15 months, blowing up bridges and trains to cause the greatest difficulties for the Germans, and for a time their Axis allies, the Italians.

In June 1943 he and his small group blew up the Asopos viaduct- a vital incident even recorded by Churchill in vol. 5 in his Second World War, because the damaged railway line would take many months to repair, and because it persuaded the enemy that after the Allied victories in North Africa they would turn their attention towards Greece and not the invasion of Sicily as in fact occurred in Operation Husky in July 1943; so obliging them to keep more Divisions in the area. Geoff was awarded an immediate DSO. Thereafter he was involved in many small operations, including the attack on the north-south rail line at Kastelli, to hold up the forces and equipment being sent for the planned recapture of Kos and Leros. The islands were lost, but for ten days nine trains were held back, before the line was repaired. Finally, when Greece was being liberated in October 1944 he was an important link in preventing the blowing up of the Marathon dam, promising a lot of gold sovereigns to the greedy departing German major. The dam was spared, Athenians went on with the normal daily tasks, while in the confusion the officer, Maj. Weissman, was reported dead, and his golden treasure miraculously vanished, so becoming another marginal footnote of history.

The thought that Geoff was a cruel insensitive immoral or amoral beast, no different from his fanatical enemy butchers is too easy for anyone who has never experienced the brutality, and double-dealings of war, to proclaim. The author recounted the morality in the incident of two Austrian friends who turned on one another just to survive, with the winner then discovering that he too would be shot; since there was sufficient proof that he was operating as an agent left behind the lines either for the the Abwehr, the Wehrmacht's intelligence or for the SD, the intelligence wing of the SS, ready to create as much harmful dissent with his enemies, and, most of all, to kill again. Kill or be killed, was Geoff's first wartime lesson. The second, as a good leader, was to protect his followers. What was so amoral in that?

From the early days Geoff understood that the Resistance in Greece was not something crystal clear and honest. He realised the local resistors, the Communists, formed as ELAS guerrillas were intent not just to push out the Nazis, but to liberate Greece all from their political opponents; which meant destroying all other the non-Communist resistors, EKKA and EDES, with the war used as the first step in a Communist scheme to bring about a social revolution. Inevitably, he predicted correctly this to be the first battle of the post-war Cold War, and as he did not wish to be a part of it except for warning his political heads, and his friends to be very careful, he decided to move on. Also like the fictional Bond, Field recounts that behind the scenes Geoff played a small part with King George living in Egypt, in restoring the monarchy, and not encouraging the political bloody battle to return to the streets.

After Greece, Germany. Geoff in May 1945 was the figure who captured two of the leading Nazi baddies: Admiral Doenitz, Reich's President after the death of Hitler, and the architect and Minister of Armaments & War Production, Albert Speer; in addition, one of Wernher von Braun, the scientist's colleagues from Peenemunde, Ludwig von Hutten, surrendered himself to him.

Peacetime was dead and dull for those active commandos of the Geoff kind. Fortunately, his fairly recent wartime experiences and name could still be turned on and off at will by the authorities. He was involved in the 1950s, in Kenya against the Mau Mau, and called up as a possible hit man against Archbishop Makarios and General Grivas during the British involvement with EOKA in Cyprus. His sexual passions blossomed in the same territories too, including an eight day week affair with Ava Gardner, for as in his war Geoff hoped that his peace would be exciting and enjoyable for him, his four wives, and the rest of his harem of familiar and less known admirers. Enjoyment had been the third wartime lesson, for life in war was uncertain, brutish and short. Geoff always watched his back to live to fight another day, as well as to enjoy all the spoils.

This book provides a clever film producer with the makings of a long feature film, or even a TV series. Roger Field, and Geoff's family, should be thanked for making Geoffrey Gordon-Creed's adventures become more public. Masterly and brilliantly retold.
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on 20 December 2011
You can hear the clichés stacking up; Fleming's inspiration for Bond, a cross between Flashman and Niven, Lothario of the desert and so on. The fact is there are so many parts to Geoffrey Gordon-Creed that most men can probably identify with some of him and if honest would probably like to identify with a whole lot more, but dare not admit it. The Second World War required gifted amateurs to rub alongside the seasoned professionals yet demanded that they grow up fantastically quickly. Quite often they did and with a breadth of vision which allowed them to flourish unshackled by military convention. Gordon-Creed was such a man and his was an extraordinary war.

I will not summarise the story save to say that his war experience, actions and manner will divide opinion which in itself is sufficient argument for his story to be told. Unconventional men have a habit of getting up the noses of conventional men so to win both an MC and DSO is an extraordinary achievement. Approve or not of the man the fact remains that this is a fascinating, must read, account of a theatre of war which has been largely eclipsed by SOE operations in France. Yet it was the war in Greece conducted by Gordon-Creed, and a very few other brave people, that kept the Germans so stretched across the whole European theatre that they were never able to concentrate sufficient force to deal with the Normandy landings. He's right up there with Spike Milligan in the downfall of Hitler and there are moments in this book when you will laugh just as much. His interview technique is mind boggling.

Gordon-Creed's is a personal view of war; exciting, frightening, funny, brutal, unapologetic. He doesn't moralise or seek to justify the things he did, he doesn't come across as proud (although the term `cocky' does spring to mind); it is just the way things are when you don't want to be killed yet people are trying to do exactly that to you, all day every day for 15 months.

Roger Field is to be thanked and congratulated for saving a fascinating wartime account which otherwise might have been lost had he not had the imagination to provide an engaging narrative spiced with personal anecdote from his own experience of conflict in the Falklands War. I have never before read a book in this narrative style but once you are with the flow it really works. Without it there is no book.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 March 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is just the kind of book I needed. For reasons I am not sure I have yet identified, I have chosen a lot of `heavy' books lately - from true life accounts of human trafficking ( Radhika's Story: Surviving Human Trafficking ) to rantings on the state of the global hegemony ( Whose Crisis, Whose Future?) and the science of climate change ( The Warming Papers: The Scientific Foundation For Climate Change Forecast) . So something about the promise of this book just clicked for me. My wife looked surprised when it arrived... `that's not the sort of book you read is it?'. And now I can gladly exclaim... yes it is (sometimes!).

I found the story of Gordon-Creed's exploits to be gripping, at times laugh-out-loud funny and at times shocking when the realities of his `game' were laid bare. Ignore the titillating subtitle; this is the story of a soldier - a man with both formal and informal training to be lethal. The fact that he exposed a taste for adulterous womanising and an ability to sink a drink or two is utterly unsurprising given the multiple grim futures that could have awaited him at any moment. It's hard to tease cause from effect here - does the army attract such individuals or does the army create them? Whatever the mix, I've met people akin to Gordon-Creed in my few dealings with members of the armed forces and what makes his story exceptional is its candour given the era in which he lived rather than the behaviour itself which is as old as warring history.

Roger Field has had to fill in the gaps in Geoffrey Gordon-Creed's own account but I found this splicing to be largely successful. Evidently Field has great respect and admiration for Mister Major Geoff so don't expect a lot of criticism of his actions. But I am strongly reminded throughout this book that the freedoms I take for granted were protected by Geoff and his generation; that their deeds cannot be judged against the standards of those living in peaceful affluence in 21st century Britain.

We use the term hero far too readily today. Geoff deserves the title, along with the medals that were presented to him. So if you want to read something that shows heroism for all its magnificence and flaws, you'll find it here.
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VINE VOICEon 13 March 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I picked this up after reading some of the other reviews concerning it and they seemed to give the impression of some sort of "bond esque" man swaggering around world war two being a cad and killing germans like its nothing.

happily this is not what I found. as someone who reads many memoirs concerning soldiers, generals, etc some by themselves and others by biographers. this book is a slight blend. the author begins on how he came to find the story of gordon creed, and you tell he is very enthusiastic about the man and his story. Creed it seemed had written a sort of memoir.
well field had the job of filling it out with the technical detail as well as keeping the narrative straight and the story leaning this side of fact. to be honest he has done an excellent job and has produced ( with no small help from creeds memoir ) one of the most interesting personal stories I have read in a very long time. creed has a real personality for once, he drinks, swears, has sex with women- not his wife- he recounts his exploits well, not trying to apologise for the nastier aspects of his work, and not afraid to point out the flaws in it. in all it was a refreshing read which kept me interested ( to the point of reading it in two days). a well balanced account by the author with his snippets of background kept everything in context, even with the occasional bit of humour inserted himself. honestly I cant find fault in this memoir, it wont appeal to everyone as you might gather from the other reviews but if you want one written by a "real person" flaws and all then you will really enjoy this
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Geoffrey Gordon-Creed lived quite a remarkable life during world war two. You may not have heard about him before, but once you've read his memoirs you're guaranteed not to forget him in a hurry.

Geoffrey himself died in 2002, but his self penned story now sees print thanks to the efforts of Roger Field, who has edited the manuscript and provided extra detail and notes wherever required.

The main narrative runs a little over three hundred pages, but an introduction from Roger Field plus various notes and appendixes including a battle diary for a regiment that Geoffrey was in plus a list of recommended further reading an appendix make the book as a whole a little over three hundred and seventy pages.

The book is divided into eighteen chapters plus an epilogue that details what happened to Geoff after world war two.

The notes from Roger Field are in italics, although these tend to vanish after a while and be replaced by footnotes instead. Whilst these sections are excellently researched and do provide a lot of necessary extra detail the amount of them at the start do mean that the book does take a while to get going, and it leaves you desperate to hear Geoffrey's voice.

But once you get to that things really do get going as he tells an enthralling tale. Helped in no small part by the fact that it's written in the style of it's times.

You follow him from a short lived attempt to form a ski battalion to help the Finnish against the Russians then through various training until he gets into the desert war. Where the British tanks outnumbered the enemy by three to one but they would often take three times as many losses.

Despite having a wife at home in England he lived for the moment and the ladies and is constantly getting into amorous liasions whenever getting the chance to visit Cairo.

Then he gets into the Special Overseas Executive, and ends up running sabotage missions in occupied Greece.

Here is a fascinating picture of life in an occupied country where half the partisans are more interested in gaining postwar power, where willing locals - in particular the ladies - will help the dashing and brave allied men - and where the idyllic life can be shattered at any moment by the threat of being found by the enemy.

Geoff is a capable and highly skilled professional but never someone who revels in his work.

When he finally leaves Greece more interesting encounters await as he gets into Western Europe in time to help arrest prominent nazis as the war comes to an end.

The epilogue detailing his postwar life has to go back mostly to Roger Field's notes, but a fairly fascinating picture of life in the twilight of the British empire does emerge.

All in all a remarkable read about a fascinating man. All the love making is very discreet in the writing style, the descriptions of combat are very matter of fact and there are a small handful of bits of strong language. All, as mentioned, in the style of the times. And a story of a remarkable man in remarkable times, this is a really good read.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Firstly lets clear up the fact that this book is not the one by Geoffrey Household later made in to a superb better than the book film starring Peter O'toole.
So I'm surprised that a different title name was not suggested?
That aside I found my self delighted in reading a really absorbing book.
Roger Field has done a good job in bringing these real life WW2 escapades of Geoffrey Gordon-Creed to life.
Don't be fooled by Gordon-Creed's posh sounding name, he is no toffee nosed `popinjay' but a South African hard nut who was, like many, thrust into WW2 and found he had a talent for killing. (Often with a swift blow to the back of the unsuspecting class 3 unfit for frontline duty sentry's head.)
He doesn't relish killing but regards it as a means to an end.
Early days in a tank battalion are really interesting and give a great insight why British tank battalions needed a 3 to 1 advantage in numbers over their vastly superior in terms of equipment German Afrika Corps opponents. Make no mistake this true diary of a guy who actually fought in the war and not a fictionalised account. I found the details Gordon-Creed brings to light absolutely fascinating.
It is when he gets to Occupied Greece that his on the ground detail really enlightens and rewards the reader. My father fought in similar theatres of war and he hinted at the `road blocks' set up by the Greek Communist's with their stolen Italian and German weapons. None of which had actually been used in combat by the Communists. Gordon-Creed is very clear on his views of the various resistance movements and correctly identified the tactics of the Communists who aimed to subjugate the Greeks sought to capture Greece as a Communist Outpost. Many incidents between the pro government and Communist resistance hinted at the subsequent civil war that would cause pain and trouble for poor Greece until 1948.
I found the detail fascinating for example the time and trouble planning to destroy a viaduct or bridge. Where as before I'd imagine it was a case of just turning up, planting the explosives and walking away I now see how naïve I was in those assumptions.
Now a word of warning mention has been made of the sexual content and titillation of the book. Indeed a liking to George McDonald Frasier's Flashman has been mentioned.
Don't be fooled Gordon-Creed is no Flashman and this is an actual edited account of a genuine soldier not a fictional one written for entertainment. (And I know we would all love Flashman to be real!)
Like most generations we regard our own as inventing sex. We cannot imagine our fathers and Mothers actually got up to it but of course we are wrong.
Gordon-Creed is a fit, handsome alpha male brimming with Testosterone so who can forgive him his adulterous moments. They are there not to titillate which they of course do but rather are a true account of what went on.
The book is brimful of anecdotes and information like the generals wife who forced the Alexandrian Brothels to close with the result those cases of VD with the result a 140 percent rise in cases with the subsequent withdrawal of troops for a 6 month cure.
For any one with a love of World war Two as she was actually fought this is a very rewarding and interesting book.
Very easy to read. A def excellent book.
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VINE VOICEon 14 March 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a book based on the subject, Geoffrey Gordon-Creed - He however died in 2002 facilitating the author, Roger Field, penning the memoir with no need to worry about the subject's reaction to his exploits becoming public.
Many of the review's here have gone into detail about Gordon-Creeds exploits and the theatres he 'worked' in so I won't go over the same ground - Needless to say they are colourful and I think that anyone who enjoys not just Military memoirs but also historical fiction along the lines of Sharpe, Aubrey etc will be happy picking this book up. The language used throughout the book at times leans towards the base descriptions I am sure when used to originally describe the circumstances and may not lend itself to those who are easily shocked.

In short I found this to be a pretty riveting read that, ultimately, Roger Field should be commended for putting together. As a sub note I think anyone interested in modern Greek history would also be interested in the content.
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on 24 May 2012
For anyone who likes to daydream and imagine themselves in tales of derring-do this is absolutely your book to read this summer. Detailing the life and wartime service of one of the Second World War's most remarkable soldiers, Rogue Male is a swashbuckling exploration of the exploits of Geoffrey Gordon-Creed DSO MC. His war was outstanding in its variety: tank troop leader in the western desert, SOE guerrilla in Greece, Nazi hunter in the immediate aftermath of the war in Germany, to give only the briefest skeleton. As if this wasn't enough, Gordon-Creed even seemed to find ample time to grapple as tenaciously among the bedsheets as on the battlefield with a succession of stunning girlfriends. Post-war, the action just keeps on coming, with Ava Gardner, the Mau Mau uprising, and a murky assignment against EOKA all appearing at various stages.
It is amazing that Gordon-Creed required this book to elevate himself to the public consciousness; after reading this anyone would agree that he belongs in the same breath as David Stirling, Patrick Leigh-Fermor and Fitzroy Maclean. It is immediately clear that Roger Field is immensely fond of his subject; this shines through on every page and the reader soon falls under his spell too. Mr Field lets Gordon-Creed's own memoirs speak for himself as often as possible, and steps in only to clarify and give context. This works really well, and it is a pleasure being able to read Gordon-Creed's own laconic voice. I will not read a funnier paragraph this year than Gordon-Creed's anecdote about his capture of Admiral Doenitz.
This is a splendid book, and will become a well-thumbed friend of everyone who reads it. Quite simply Gordon-Creed was probably the coolest Brit of the war; read this and learn from the master!
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