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Where Eagles Dare

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  40,368 ratings  ·  428 reviews
Forbidding peaks, resourceful commandos, beautiful spies, nonstop action, and neck-snapping plot twists make this the classic adventure thriller—the kind of page-turner that readers actually will find impossible to put down. A team of British Special Forces commandos parachutes into the high peaks of the Austrian Alps with the mission of stealing into an invulnerable alpin ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published October 2nd 2002 by Thunder's Mouth Press (first published June 1st 1967)
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Chad Evans The film is great entertainment if a little unbelievable at times. Personally in my opinion, better than the book.
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4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  40,368 ratings  ·  428 reviews

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Gumble's Yard
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
A momentous read for me in many respects.

The most famous book of my favorite author as a young teenager; I was given a signed first edition (signed not just by the author but by two of the actors in the film whose screenplay the author wrote before the novel) by my closest friends as a 50th birthday present; it's also the 1000th book I have added to Goodreads since I started loading my new and old reviews here just under 18 months ago (on 1.1.17).

A classic MacLean in every respect.
Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"When no other option offered there was no point in figuring the percentages."
- Alistair MacLean, Where Eagles Dare


I recently picked this up. I've got several (5-7) MacLean books laying around fighting to be read. I think rewatching the movie version of The Guns of Navarone a couple months ago with my family moved his books a bit higher up my list. I forgot how nostalgic these books make me. I came from a military family. These 1960s movies and books are part of my DNA. I grew up with the Dirty
Gary Sundell
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
MacLean wrote the book on WWII suspense thrillers. A team of allied specialists parachute into
Germany to rescue a captured American general. He team is led by a Brit, Smith, played in the movie by Richard Burton, aided by an American, Schaefer, played in the movie by Clint Eastwood. Worth reading. The movie is worth watching, as is the inspired Pinky and The Brain cartoon which pokes fun at the movie.
Fred Shaw
Mar 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent story and movie.
Anne  (Booklady) Molinarolo
Alistair MacLean wrote the screen play for his close friend, Richard Burton. Burton's star power was sliding at the time of the film and he wanted an action film along the lines of Maclean's bestseller and hit movie, The Guns of Navarone. And he got it! The novel is in fact based upon the screenplay, rather than the other way around - slightly odd.

I watched the film last night and I had to read the novel. And it is the screenplay. The first 30 pages are a bit slow, since one really can't get the
Scribble Orca
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller, suspense
I'm about to review a modern techno-thriller and while researching the author something jogged my 14 year old self's memory of Alistair McLean.

I gobbled his books in high school - I remember when The Eagle Has Landed was all the big rage and I read it, sure, like everyone else, but Alistair had me hooked and I ploughed through his entire oeuvre (or at least as much as our high school library budget allowed) during one year.

Then I forgot all about him until two days ago. I suppose that will be an
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Why didn't you shoot him?”
“I'm a changed man, boss.” Schaffer sighed. “Something splendid has just come into my life.”
“Besides, you didn't have a chance.”
“Besides, as you say, I didn't have a chance.”

This used to be a favourite book of mine in my teens. I was totally riveted by it. I found it cheeky and exciting and daring and funny.

I have not read the book... well.. let's say 20 years.. it was still amusing, tense and exciting, even though there were some OTT moments.

But boy, did Alistair Mac
Apr 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Take a WWII spy plot. Add some action sequences and some plot twists. Then add some more plot twists. Then some more action and more plot twists. Then a few more plots twists and some spy stuff and action and more plot twists. Also, characters, add some of those if you have room, and some smart aleck-y dialogue (50 years ago we didn't call it "snarky"). A few more twists and you're ready to publish your Alistair MacLean novel.
Jun 08, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A 2.5 really.
The book 'Where Eagles DARE' starts with a trifling irony. Before a sky-drop scene into the German lands to pursue a high class search and rescue mission of an eminent person, the characters(soldiers specially chosen and obviously quite able) visibly seem to lose their calm and start contemplating death in a nervous set of dialogues and the confusing character introduction.
A plot with the premise of an ever-interesting World War II scenario where the author chooses to aim and enla
Nandakishore Varma
Oct 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
Had I reviewed this in my thriller-loving youth, I would have given it five stars. It is the adventure story par excellence: the secret mission behind enemy lines carried out by a group of intrepid adventurers: the snowbound castle up in the sky: fights on the top a moving cable car: and double-crosses, double-double-crosses and (even) double-double-double-crosses.

However, nowadays I find all such stories shallow, the adventure rather juvenile and the Anglo-centric view a bit nauseating. Hence t
Bill Lynas
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I was at school, way back in the 1970s, I used to read a lot of Alistair MacLean novels as I'm sure many teenage boys did. Back then the shelves of my local WH Smith was full of his books, many with tie in covers from the film versions. MacLean was not only a hugely successful author, but his novels provided the basis for many popular films of the 1960s & 70s: The Guns Of Navarone, Ice Station Zebra, The Golden Rendezvous, Breakheart Pass and (of course) Where Eagles Dare are just a few ...more
This is based on MacLean's own script for the movie, which he wrote for his friend, Richard Burton. It is full-throated, roaring adventure, complete with a parachute drop behind enemy lines to attack a Nazi stronghold in the mountains of Germany, twists and turns double-crosses and triple-crosses, everything that made MacLean's novels so much fun. Guns, planes, explosions, what more can you ask for?
Sonia Gomes
Nov 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved Alistair MacLean, his books talked about WWII, which fascinates me. My father fought in that War, oh the tales we heard! Being young girls however, those tales bored us to tears.

Alistair MacLean captures the spirit of those days beautifully
Dee Arr
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been a long time since I read an Alistair MacLean novel so I grabbed one that was a favorite, and it didn't disappoint. Even though it's been years, MacLean is still a sure bet if you are looking for an entertaining story.

Admittedly, this book is not like some of the other suspense thrillers MacLean has written, where readers are kept guessing who the killer/spy is until the very end. What this tale lacks in suspense more than makes up for it with the adrenalin factor. This book is a page-t
Rob Twinem
It was always going to be difficult to enjoy this book having just read and been astounded by the brilliant Submerged by Thomas F Monteleone. As a youth I have fond memories of the boys own type thrillers by Scottish born Alistair McLean, and on initial reading I recall that Where Eagles Dare was a first class page-turner. Unfortunately revisiting this 2ndWW thriller after many years has not proved so enjoyable.
The story starts off with a great flourish when Major Smith and Lt Shaffer together
Roopkumar Balachandran
For me some of the books authored by Clive Cussler, Jack Higgins, Ken Follett and Dan Brown as and when the novel reaches the end I feel why not add another 50 or 100 pages to the story. This I felt when I finished reading Where Eagles Dare.

I came to know about this novel when joined good reads, then I got the DVD watched it before reading the book. This year in the book exhibition I bought Alistair MacLean's suspense thriller "Where Eagles Dare"

A team of 6 British special forces heade
Stef Rozitis
The plot seemed like a cross between Max Smart (only taking itself very, very seriously) and a Tintin comic. It really stretched the bounds of credulity with its explosions, double, triple, quadruple agents (I used to make up convoluted plots like that when I was in high school and thought it was super clever- but one wonders that no one on either side really considers it a possibility with double.agents), The female characters seemed to be purely there to look good, follow orders (eg serve drin ...more
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Amazing book.

I think a good book must make you tremble, laugh, leave you speechless, hold your breath, make you eager to read it, make you sorry you finished it so fast.

A good book should leave you with a big smile of satisfaction because you've read it. And it must leave you thinking about it long after you finished it.

This book as all of the above.

John Rollo
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
John Rollo
Period 3
Where Eagles Dare by: Alistair MacLean

The story Where Eagles Dare started off a bit slow for me, but as the story went on, the action really kicked in. The story begins with a problem, an important American general is being held hostage in a secret Gestapo facility by the SS. Britain is America’s closest ally to the situation and is called in to help. They assemble a team of men to infiltrate the facility and the book is than filled with mysteries and unfortunate scenarios for
James Phillips
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A masterful spy thriller set in WWII. A rag-tag group of MI-6 operatives along with one American OSS agent are sent to Bavaria, deep behind enemy lines to rescue a captured US Army general who has information on the Second Front (the invasion of Europe) before he spills all their secrets. This is not an action war book one would expect. Maclean's story is a page-turning thriller that includes misdirection, red herrings and double-crosses. The dialog is smart between characters and the Germans ar ...more
Craig Andrews
Sep 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Unusually this book is not a novelization, it was written at the same time as the script and as such it's practically identical to the film. However because of that quite a few sections read a little sluggishly as it's not as fast paced as the film. Where Eagles Dare is quite possibly my favourite 'Christmas Movie' from when I was a kid and the book was a slight disappointment (the films still rocks).
Swathi Chatrapathy
Feb 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: justbooks
I rarely read action or thriller books, but this one was exceptional. Loved it for the language, the descriptions and the setting of the book. And the thrill of it, of course. Every few pages had me exclaiming in shock. Very good book for anyone who likes to read.
Jeff Dawson
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's Alistair MacLean. Need I say more?
Bruce Smith
Old time spy thriller. Be prepared to suspend belief, and enjoy some suspense.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Because I listen to audio books on my commute drive home, well it kind of forces me to finish the book. I do finish most books that I start, but being stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic really kicks me into the finish or else gear. Years ago (I was in grammar school-homestly) I had gotten this book from the library and didn't get more than a few chapters in.

Now, I kind of get why my younger self had issues reading MacLean (out of four books I finished two and didn't complete the other two). MacLe
Larry Loftis
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Where Eagles Dare isn't just the finest war novel, it's one of the finest novels of any genre. The single flaw in the book is MacLean's annoying use of attribution adverbs (i.e., "Schaffer said reprovingly."), which was not uncommon for the time (Ian Fleming used them as well). Aside from that, the novel is flawless.

Few stories are worthy of being read twice; Where Eagles Dare NEEDS to be read twice. The plotting is so intricate, the subtexts so subtle, the twists so labyrinthine, that a single
Jun 02, 2015 rated it liked it
A great story carelessly written. Except for the first chapter, it reads like the second draft of a finished novel.

There are some interesting characters but they develop not by the author revealing their personalities to the reader but by the author gradually inventing them.

A read that the MacLean wrote the book and screenplay simultaneously. I think that explains the quality of the book's writing.

The attempts by the author to have as few as possible people killed are at times absurd and though
Oct 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A daredevil rescue operation in the high Bavarian alps by British intelligence officers inside Nazi Germany, surrounded by German soldiers is one of the best fictional stories I have read. It was immortalized in film and I really loved the film and probably one of my favorites. The book is close to the movie but the movie if course has more action elements. Knowing the story already the book was a bit predictable but caught me by surprise in many places where I was expecting something else. A re ...more
Mar 10, 2012 rated it did not like it
Oh my god, this book was excruciating. The protagonist may be the worst action hero I've ever read. He keeps doing rash, stupid things, continually endangering his men and his mission through an inexplicable refusal to kill Nazis. (He thinks they should be sent to England to stand trial.) And yes, some of his men die for this vanity. MacLean dresses that up as heroism. I just sat there wondering why I bothered finishing the damn book.
Sep 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
this was touted as 1 of macleans best, and so i picked it froma cousin's place. cant say i liked it much tho - just abt ok.

The action is good, the pace is slick and the twists are totally unpredictable. but the whole narrative seems to be more fit for a visual representation rather than reading pleasure. The WW II setting is also almost ancient history for us, so we dont even connect that much.

Read if u r a fan, otherwise avoidable.

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Alistair Stuart MacLean (Scottish Gaelic: Alasdair MacGill-Eain), the son of a Scots Minister, was brought up in the Scottish Highlands. In 1941, at the age of eighteen, he joined the Royal Navy; two and a half years spent aboard a cruiser were to give him the background for HMS Ulysses, his first novel, the outstanding documentary novel on the war at sea. After the war he gained an English Honour ...more
“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.” 41 likes
“The Major Smiths of this world don't drive over the edge of a cliff. Quotation from the future Mrs. Schaffer. The Major Smiths of this world don't fall off the roofs of cable cars. Quotation from the future Mrs. Schaffer's future husband.” 1 likes
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