Eastern Approaches () is an autobiographical account of the early career of Fitzroy Maclean. It is divided into three parts: his life as a junior diplomat in. Buy Eastern Approaches (Penguin World War II Collection) by Fitzroy MaClean ( ISBN: ) from Amazon’s Book Store. Everyday low prices and. Eastern Approaches has ratings and 97 reviews. Here Fitzroy Maclean recounts his extraordinary adventures in Soviet Central Asia, in the Western.

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At the close of his narrative he casually mentions a conversation with a Red Army soldier on the Soviet man’s plan to execute captured German and collaborationist soldiers, a conversation later confirmed by piles of soldiers shot execution style. His extraordinary linguistic skills left me sighing in envy, as well- dropped behind enemy lines and he still takes to Serbo-Croatian like a duck to water All the same, to end on that note would miss the exhilaration of the man.

Numerous SAS tasks were undertaken – the SAS being a newly formed group, they operated below the radar, and as such were unorthodox in their approach. Spoilers below, so read it yourself first it you don’t know about this book already!

In short, this is superb story-telling by one who was there in the heart of it. On their return to Italy, they received a signal that the Partisans had captured a small German plane that they proposed to use.

The project was soon shelved, so Maclean accepted an invitation easter David Stirling to join the newly formed Special Air Service.

Eastern Approaches – Wikipedia

He arrives in Moscow to see the Stalin’s society before and during the great purges. Refresh and try again. Their operations end in a mixture of farce and failure, but are redeemed in the last chapter by the piratical kidnapping of a Persian general. For the most part, however, for a man of his background and class, he clearly had an ability to relate to people on their own terms and plunge into new environments and relationships with enthusiasm.

Later on in the programme, Maclean justifies his confidence that he would survive on a desert island. For those that dream of splitting their time huddled around a candle with guerrilla leaders and in meetings with heads of state – each trying to shape the fate of the world, you’ll find satisfaction in this book. I wouldn’t reread this book and it didn’t live up to my high expectations, but I’m glad I read it and recommend it to those interested in irregular warfare and in WWII resistance movements.


There’s another interesting set-piece on the history of Yugoslav dynastic rivalry, with lots of dry humor. King Peter, quite naturally, was not easy to reassure, and Tito, sitting in Belgrade with all the cards in his hand, was not easy to satisfy. Eastern Approaches is not only close to the perfect travel book; it is a lively memoir of the quixotic adventures of a diplomat turned war hero who writes with style and wit.

The last and longest section is about MacLean’s time in Yugoslavia. They were concerned about the influence of Fazlollah Zahedithe general in charge of the Persian forces in the Isfahan area, who, their intelligence told them, was stockpiling grain, liaising with German agents, and preparing an uprising. Then we emerged once more into the sunlight and sea breezes and lunched off of lobsters and white wine.

Eastern Approaches

By the end of the year, the war had developed in such a way that the new SAS detachment would not be needed in Persia. When Maclean’s group reached the outskirts of Benghazi, they were ambushed and had to retreat.

And all of that is just the opening act! Accordingly, he came up with a plan known as Operation Ratweekin which the Partisans and Allies were to harass the Axis troops in close co-ordination for seven days, destroying their communication lines.

The Balkan years have moments of extreme vividness, but they go a little long and are a bit much on logistical information that might not interest the casual reader as opposed to the history buff. But that covers maybe only a third of the book.

This section was probably much more interesting when the area was largely closed to foreigners; his descriptions are fairly stereotypical, though as someone who knows little about the area, they had some interest. My jaw dropped open. The second half of the book is about the mission to Tito.


Eastern Approaches by Fitzroy MacLean. The book goes into great detail, spending 40 pages on description and analysis of the trial, its prominent figures and its twists and turns. A couple of examples of taking it a tiny bit too far.

Despite Maclean’s own opposition to communism, his lifelong friendship with Tito, as well as other political opponents revealed him as one of those increasingly rare individuals capable of making a fair assessment of another person, irrespective of whether he disagreed with them politically. Although admitting “full political and juridical responsibility” for the crimes, he denies — convincingly — each specific claim murder, sabotage, etc.

From what Maclean describes he very clearly did! Zahidi spent the rest of the war in British Palestine ; five years later he was back in charge of the military of southern Persia, by he was prime minister. It’s clearly a personal memoir rather than history with an attempt at objectivity, but in general I find memoirs more interesting.

Not to say that it’s totally unproblematic in this respect either, but I think T. I have a battered paperback copy that I must’ve bought at a used bookstore.

When they got to the shore, they saw the huge flotilla of troopships setting off for the south of France Operation Dragoonand a small bright blue admiral’s barge dodging around them. Accordingly, he asked Vivian Street to arrange for the Allies to evacuate him and his staff, which they did. Fotzroy long, he said, as the whole of Western civilization was threatened by the Nazi menace, we could not jaclean to let our attention be diverted from the immediate issue by considerations of long-term policy.

To disagree, even mentally, with the leaders of the Party on some minor point of doctrine was as unforgivable as to commit a seemingly greater crime, as to plan their physical destruction.