Perspectives; Alistair MacLean

Alistair Stuart MacLean (1922 – 1987) was a 20th-century Scottish novelist who wrote popular thrillers and adventure stories. His works include The Guns of Navarone , Ice Station Zebra and Where Eagles Dare – all three were made into popular films. His books are estimated to have sold over 150 million copies, making him one of the best-selling fiction authors of all time. According to one obituary, “He never lost his love for the sea, his talent for portraying good Brits against bad Germans, or his penchant for high melodrama. Critics deplored his cardboard characters and vapid females, but readers loved his combination of hot macho action, wartime commando sagas, and exotic settings .” Admiring readers have also expressed pleasure over the complete absence of romance in his stories, providing a narrative uninterrupted by that most distracting of human foibles.

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“This won’t look so good in my obituary," Schaffer said dolefully. There was a perceptible edge of strain under the lightly-spoken words."Gave his life for his country in a ladies’ lavatory in Upper Bavaria.”

“There are no brave men and cowardly men in the world, my son. There are only brave men. To be born, to live, to die—that takes courage enough in itself, and more than enough. We are all brave men and we are all afraid, and what the world calls a brave man; he too is brave and afraid like the all rest of us. Only he is brave for five minutes longer.”

“The point I make is simply that cruelty and hate and intolerance are the monopoly of no particular race or creed or time. They have been with us since the world began and are still with us, in every country in the world.”

“As the rain hides the stars, as the autumn mist hides the hills, as the clouds veil the blue of the sky, so the dark happenings of my lot hide the shining of Your face from me. Yet, if I may hold Your hand in the darkness, it is enough. Since I know that, though I may stumble in my going, You do not fall. (Gaelic Prayer)”

“Foster always said that education was very important, but that it didn’t really matter, because intelligence was more important than that, and that even intelligence didn’t count for so much, that wisdom was far more important still. He said he had no idea in the world whether you had education or intelligence or wisdom and that it couldn’t matter less, a blind man could see that you had a good heart, and the good heart was all that mattered in this world.”

“He shivered uncontrollably on the bridge and turned his back on the driving wind. “Anyway, I wish to God I had his job,” he added feelingly. "This is worse than winter in Alberta!” "

“The first criticism I ever read was of my first book, H.M.S. ‘Ulysses .’ It got two whole pages to itself in a now defunct Scottish newspaper, with a drawing of the dust jacket wreathed in flames and the headline ‘ Burn this book .’ I had paid the Royal Navy the greatest compliment of which I could conceive: this dolt of a critic thought it was an act of denigration.”

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