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on 13 January 2014
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.

I love reading about true stories and this book gave me an insight into the french and the italian resistance amazing
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on 6 September 2011
Half of this book is a pretty good summary of MacPherson's role in WW2. I've never read a better account of the role of a resistance agent, and the prisoner of war chapters are interesting too. But I can't overlook the fact that the first few chapters are nowhere near as interesting, and the last few chapters are a tedious list of the different businesses MacPherson was involved with and the famous people he came into contact with. This book would have been far better if, rather than being a typical 'life' biography, it focused only on the Second World War. Instead, by the time I was two-thirds of the way through, I couldn't wait to finish it.
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on 13 January 2015
I found the book interesting in parts, the bravery he showed during the war was outstanding, but it was too much reference towards his private life especially about sport rugby in particular and to his private business after the war.
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on 18 May 2014
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. Agreed. The first half is a fantastically good war record of an amazing personality but the second half (peacetime) struggles to match the dramatic intensity of the first half. When all's said and done, you got to love this guy's spirit though!
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on 31 December 2014
This autobiography reads more like a Hollywood blockbuster at times, but it is all true. What an amazing life. Well worth reading. Truly inspiring stuff. However, the last few chapters are a bit dull.
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on 19 February 2014
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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on 10 January 2011
I looked forward to this book, not knowing anything about the author, and the title seemed to indicate that it was my kind of reading.
Some of it was, but by far the great majority of the book was a virtual tirade of name dropping by the author, not a lot of which I felt
to be true.

Undoubtedly he was a captain of industry, but why give the book a title suggesting a War book, when most of it consists of self praise?

Not recommended.
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on 2 February 2013
I simply could not put this book down! it is pacy, fascinating in its historic detail and tells the story of a remarkable man without sounding boastful. It brought home to me how increasingly distant our connections to this extraordinary generation are necessarily becoming, and how important it is to remember and thank them for what they did.
I recommend it to everyone
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on 20 January 2013
This is a blatantly smug and self serving memoir of a brief and relatively undistinguished war. Macpherson presents the book almost as if he won WW2 singlehanded. In fact he went into action three times. Once against Vichy forces in Syria (who surrendered almost as soon as the action began), for six weeks in uniform working with the resistance in southwest France before D day, and then for three months mopping up resistance in Northern Italy just as the war ended. In between he spent two and a half years in prison camp (to his credit he did escape, and this is probably the least inflated part of the book). To round off the smugness he ends with a list of non-exec directorships he held after the war. If this had been presented with a little more balanced self appreciation it would have been a half decent book, but as it is it just irritates.
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on 13 June 2012
It seems rather churlish to say that the Author seems to have glided through life rather effortlessly. Unfair though it is to say that it does seem a bit like that as he moves from one age to another using school, military, sport and social connections. Written in a restrained, fairly deadpan manner, the book is a pretty swift journey through an interesting and long life. I found it curiously uninvolving and could never quite warm to the author's story, perhaps the disadvantage of being ghost written, it just seemed fairly bloodless, although not in a literal sense.

The core and most interesting side of the book relate to the Author's wartime experience. Clearly a brave and quickwitted man he had more than his fair share of adventure, narrow escapes and action. Nonetheless he enjoyed a fair share of luck. Captured in North Africa in 1941 he was a difficult prisoner, using every opportunity to escape and finally succeeded in 1943. By the time he returned to action in 1944 the war had turned against Germany. Dropped into Cental France in July he created mayhem and harrassed the enemy over a wide area for some months until the invasion armies caught up with him. From November he repeated his activities behind the lines in Italy.

With the acknowledged benefit of hindsight one can question the value of some of these activities in both countries. I wonder whether there was really much to be gained by destroying infrastructure and inviting reprisals on the hapless locals when in reality the enemy concerned was already demoralised and retreating ( France )or strategically irrelevent and going nowhere ( Italy ). It could be justly argued that this was not his policy, he was merely a willing instrument, but I think these kind of activities look more questionable to-day. Anyway it is an story worth reading, not really something that can be said about his post war career which was more mundane, although dutiful and distinguished in its own way.
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