Pilot, adventurer, journalist and spy, author Frederick Forsyth's real-life experiences are the stuff of fiction. Becoming a RAF pilot at 19 was just the beginning, and his subsequent adventures in some of the major events of the mid-20th century have guaranteed a cache of enthralling, action-packed incidents available to fuel the plots of his bestselling thrillers.
Written with self-deprecating humour, this is an entertaining memoir from a master storyteller, presented in a series of vignettes that make for compulsive reading.
Our whole group really enjoyed this book. Found it a light but informative read.
Very enjoyable read! More like a memoir than an autobiography.
An interesting author sharing lots of interesting adventures and his passion for living.
Mixed reviews from our group. Interesting to read of his personal exploits which he used as the basis to write his novels. Eye-opening to learn what went on behind the scenes in terms of international relationships. A great writer and able to add humour to the seriousness of events. Not afraid to voice his opinion of others and clearly a very astute man. Disappointing to hear nothing of his mother but clearly a close relationship with his father who opened doors for him.
Most people enjoyed this book. The ones who didn't thought he was blowing his own trumpet too much. But for most of us we enjoyed the short anecdotes and felt he had led a privileged and very lucky life, written in the style we would expect from an investigative journalist.
A great book, not just for discussion, but beautifully written and often funny, with wonderful stories and a lot of insight into the events of the time. What was so good was the way he told of his evolution from cocky public schoolboy to humanitarian. It was seamless - there was no epiphany - he just gradually opened his eyes to the suffering of others ( except for the Palestinians, very biased).
Few had read any of his novels but we enjoyed this book which was well written and easy to read. He came across as intelligent, resourceful and confident but that's about as much as we learned - we were disappointed at the lack of personal details. The details of the Biafran conflict gave rise to discussion as we all remembered the disturbing photos at the time, and his views on the BBC were interesting!
Most rated it 7/8 with a couple of 6s and one 9. Generally the group found the middle section a bit disjointed, but were fascinated by the history of the Biafran conflict and the role of the BBC. They felt his life enjoyed a lot of the luck of the Irish and were amazed at his parents sending him off to all parts to learn languages, flying etc. especially as he was an only child.
Well received - a lively, light read with some interesting tales, but much of the man withheld.
Everyone enjoyed the book as it was action based, easy to read and the style was straightforward. An exceptionally clever man who has led an interesting and at times dangerous existence.
We all enjoyed this book immensely. Well-written memoir of a VERY adventurous and exciting life. Told with warmth and humour. We would recommend.
Like reading a "Boys' Own"! A ripping good yarn. Unorthodox views on British politics. Highly recommended as an easy read.
Most enjoyed this book to a degree, though we all felt it was more an adventure story than adding any insight into Forsyth's life and character. I note the notes talk about 'self-deprecating' and we feel lots of memoirs use that technique to lessen the impression the reader would otherwise get of their feeling of self-importance. The knowledge he gained while making these various trips was impressive. We enjoyed learning about Biafra in more detail, being old enough to remember that conflict.
Everyone enjoyed the book. We had a very good and wide-ranging discussion - including the place of women and British colonialism. Almost all had not read any of his books , but having enjoyed his writing style we hope to remedy this.
A great romp through some exciting times, without the author expressing any vulnerable moments - a bit like a character in his books.
Nine out of ten of the members thoroughly enjoyed "The Outsider", and considered Frederick Forsyth to be a great storyteller. We noted that there was an element of 'blokeiness', and a sort of 'Boy's Own' feeling about some of his adventures, but generally we found it very readable.
We considered the book to be a 'good read' and it added another dimension to his novels. However, several members felt that they didn't know him any better than before reading his memoir - he revealed very little of himself.