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The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  1,751 ratings  ·  245 reviews
From Frederick Forsyth, the grand master of international suspense, comes his most intriguing story ever—his own.
For more than forty years, Frederick Forsyth has been writing extraordinary real-world novels of intrigue, from the groundbreaking The Day of the Jackal to the prescient The Kill List. Whether writing about the murky world of arms dealers, the shadowy Nazi und
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published September 8th 2015)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing

"You still haven't explained why. You've explained what and how but not why!" - Simon Endean.

" For nearly two years, I watched between half a million and a million small kids starving to death because of people like you and Mason. It was done basically so that you and your kind can make bigger profits through a vicious and totally corrupt dictatorship and it was done in the name of law and order, of legality and constitutional justification. I may be a fighter, I may be a killer, b
Sebastien Castell
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Frederick Forsyth is best known for his incredibly successful series of spy novels that began with the legendary Day of the Jackal which has been made into movies a couple of times now. However he also had a storied career joining the Royal Air Force to get his pilot's license, reporting from Cold War Berlin and war-torn Nigeria, and even assisting the U.K. spy services from time to time. The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue, is a memoire of his life and adventures, and one that's equally compellin ...more
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
I have been immensely fascinated by The Dogs of War, The Fourth Protocol, The Kill List and The Day of the Jackal, all written by Frederick Forsyth. To this day, The Day of the Jackal remains one of my all-time favorite political spy thrillers and Frederick Forsyth one of my favorite authors. His latest offering, The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue, is a spellbinding compilation of autobiographical vignettes, and is as entertaining as any other Frederick Forsyth book.

In this sixty-chapter memoir,
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was ok
I have not read any of Forsyth's novels, though I know of them and the movies made about them, but this memoir just didn't grab me. I love books about espionage and I think It was told in an easy style, sort of like someone talking with a friend, but it just came across flat. The beginning was the best part in my opinion. Enjoyed reading about his tenacity as a boy learning languages in school, turning down a chance at a prestigious university to pursue his dream to be an RAF fighter pilot. I ha ...more
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
I kept feeling that a certain streak of arrogance was to the fore. However he certainly had an amazing variation of experiences and it made a very interesting read, all of which provided a background to the books that Frederick Forsyth made his name from.
Raja Subramanian
I could never resist anything written by Frederick Forsyth. I had bought every single book he has written (so far), and have read all of them. So when I saw his latest book, “The Outsider – My Life in Intrigue” it was a no-brainer for me when the decision came to purchase at the airport. Of course, I missed out sorely on the large discounts available on Amazon / Flipkart or the opportunity purchase a much lower priced Kindle edition. The book did not disappoint me at all!

As the title reveals, it
an entertaining autobiographer, but light in some ways, i guess in the lack of discussion about book writing and book trade. forsyth invokes the "luck" he has, but surely being given a chance to attend oxford as a 16 year old (he turned them down, hah, his mastery of 4 languages surely gave him added advantages, so he wanted to be a jet pilot, which he did become), becoming a journalist with the hopes it would allow him world travel, and being posted to northern england, but then knocking on doo ...more
Steve Gross
Nov 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Anecdotal biography of the author. Mostly interesting, a little repetitive and at times self-serving.
Vicky Hunt
A cool Brit with a penchant for excitement, Forsyth spent his educational years learning languages in different countries. He picked up quite a varied education; along with studying bull-fighting and a few other thrill sports. He moved early into the RAF, then retired into a position with the BBC. But, that didn't last long, due to his reluctance to stick to the company propaganda lines about the Biafra - Nigerian Civil War. His contention was that though the BBC had reported daily on the Americ ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Frederick Forsyth is one of my favorite authors and it was but natural that I had the urge to read his autobiography when I chanced upon it. The standout feature of Forsyth’s volume of work is the impeccable research that goes into each of his novels which makes them so engaging and readable. The Outsider gives a glimpse into his style of working, which has paid the author rich dividends in the form of best-selling novels that he has churned out over the past 48 years- 2nd January 1970 being the ...more
Jacki (Julia Flyte)
Frederick Forsyth is best known as the author of a string of bestselling thrillers, but he was in the RAF and worked as a foreign correspondant before becoming an author, and the first two thirds of this book are about this part of his life. I don't know how many of his stories are 100% true and how many are embellished, but they feel true and either way they are terrifically entertaining. Reading this book feels like being at a dinner party, with the host starting increasingly gobsmacking anecd ...more
Robert Intriago
Oct 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, autobigraphy
A 3.5
If you already like Forsyth books you will enjoy this one. Do not expect a full blown autobiography. The book is written in a series of vignettes and you can divide the book into three clear sections. The first part deals with his growing up, schooling and learning to be a pilot. The second part is about his time as a journalist, to include stints in Paris, East Berlin, Nigeria and Israel. The final part is about the writing and publishing of his books and life after. There is very little a
Barry Hammond
Oct 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Frederick Forsyth, author of classic thrillers like The Day Of The Jackal, The Dogs Of War, and The Odessa File (all three made into pretty fine films) writes a memoir of his childhood, his realized ambition to be an RAF pilot, his days in newspapers as a foreign corespondent, an aborted career in the BBC, and some of the adventures he had researching his stories, or helping out The Firm. A very interesting memoir. The only criticism this reader had was that it could have been longer and include ...more
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Oh, such interesting tales, told by such an arrogant, self-aggrandising person. I think nearly every chapter - not quite, but nearly - features Mr Forsyth essentially 'saving the day'. His recollections and claims may well all be true, but oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, he does want us all to have a slight frisson of delight at how he's so manly, competent, heroic, and filled with derring-do. I read to the end, but was thoroughly fed up with the author well before that point. Pity that he didn't use ...more
Mike Palmer
Dec 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Overblown, self-absorbed, over-reaching.
Stephen Gallup
Dec 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How many of us can claim to have led eventful lives? I used to know a man (now long-deceased) who'd survived Pearl Harbor and years of subsequent combat, on Pacific islands and later in Korea. He sometimes said he "could write a book" about all he'd seen, although in reality he wouldn't even talk about it. No one else personally known to me comes to mind just now. But Frederick Forsyth's autobiography is an adventure story that tops anything else I can think of this side of fiction.

What made it
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019, own
Forsyth's eventful, exciting life reads like one of his thrillers - making it easy to see how he came to be so good at writing them. I was fascinated to learn where some of his inspiration came from and just how much of it is based on his own experiences. ...more
Spybrary Podcast Podcast
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is so much more to Frederick Forsyth than the Day of Jackal.

Fans of Mr Forsyth's work will enjoy learning more about his very full and exciting life. This auto-biography almost reads like one of his own thriller books due to the many scrapes he experienced in his life.

From his time as Reuters man in East Berlin to the threats from the IRA, from being the youngest pilot in the RAF to being strafed by MiGs this book has the lot.

Don't read this book if you are wanting to pick up tips on how
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Forsyth writes in an intimate manner and made me feel as if I was sitting in his living room over a cup of tea discussing his life. The book is well written, concise with adventure, intrigue and humor.

The first part of the book he tells of his youth and his desire to fly planes. I was impressed that his father sent him to live with a family in France each summer when he was a child to learn French; then as a teen he sent him to live with a German family to learn German. Just before he went into
Nick Brett
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have a mixed history with the works of Frederick Forsyth, I loved the first three or four books and then he lost me as his books got increasingly right-wing and it felt he was more trying to get messages over rather than writing great books.
So I would have ignored his autobiography, but it has got some very good reviews and, I have to say, it looked like the man has had quite the life.
His life does read almost like a thriller. He moved through life as a RAF pilot, then a reporter and foreign c
Oct 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Being an admirer of his writing, I was keen to read Frederick Forsyth’s autobiography. My interest was further piqued when I read the he had been an MI6 agent. I therefore picked up the book as soon as it became available. It turned out to be an amusing collection of incidents arranged in chronological order.

At the end of it, I was left feeling a little disappointed. Usually, autobiographies give an insight into the writer’s mind, his values, what he stands for, and stuff like that. Autobiograph
Gail Cooke
Oct 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an author who has given us amazingly true to life tales of intrigue for a number of years one would expect his memoir to hold extraordinary revelations, and The Outsider does just that. Frederick Forsyth as most know is one of the most acclaimed writers of our time with such titles as The Day of the Jackal, The Dogs of War and The Odessa File to his credit. His has been a life well lived as he is a former pilot and print and television reporter for Reuters and the BBC. Need I mention all of ...more
Gordon Paisley
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Frederick Forsyth has long been my favorite author. I even wrote a paper about him for a high school research paper decades ago. I was thrilled to see his autobiography in the library the other day because I knew it would be fascinating. Even having an above-average knowledge of his story, I was still blown away by the life he has led. I am amazed at some of the places and scrapes he has gotten himself into and out of in his action-packed life.

In many ways, he is a modern-day Jack London, who ha
Rex Fuller
Apr 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Of course there were The Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File, years ago when they came out, and maybe another. No idea why I didn’t read more. Picked this up as a curiosity, as much because he’s still alive as anything else. Was he in intelligence? Did he do what he wrote about?

Turns out the answer to that last question is yes, although he was not a real spook. He describes his life in a string of quick and breezy stories. Lots of humor. And a fair amount of suspense. First as a foreign corres
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There are spy thriller writers, and then there is Frederick Forsyth.

There are spy novels, and then there is the Day of The Jackal.

And, there are auto-biographies, and then there is this.

I cannot call this book a typical auto-biography in the strictest sense. There are no massive revelations, no coming out of closets neither are there instances of self analysis. Instead we get a book, which becomes as thrilling as Forsyth’s novels. He tells us about East Berlin, and makes us travel to that walled
Vikas Datta
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mr Forsyth seems to have lived a life no adventurous than his heroes and he recounts it in a witty and candid manner... while pulling no punches as far as his account of the Harold Wilson government's role in the Biafran conflict goes and on the iniquities of the British legal system go but more engrossing are his accounts of hoodwinking the Stasi and encounters with nature, at its most benign and its most terrible.... This by the way is just a hint of what is available here... Forsyth readers, ...more
Roan Chapin
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is, by far, the most fascinating autobiography I have ever read / heard because: He is willing to tell the truth about his time in the RAF, Ireland, the mirk that is secret intelligence gathering, Africa, The BBC, fame and financial ruin, East Germany, secret police, mercenaries, Japan -- and how to get out of a jam. I listened to the audiobook.
WAYS OF ESCAPE by Graham Greene has now moved to position #2 on my personal list of Best Autobiographies.
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Patchy. Interesting memoir focusing on his life before becoming a novelist, when luck played a huge part in his escapes from imprisonment and death. Much on the Biafran war and starvation of millions of children. A factual error early on in the narrative (he refers to the mods v rockers conflicts as taking place in the mid 50s, when it was the mid 60s, and the context means it wasn't a typo/editing mistake) made me somewhat suspicious of the believability of the rest of the book. ...more
Patricia Ann
Dec 09, 2015 rated it liked it
I deeply appreciated and enjoyed the historical insights of Mr. Forsyth. I also liked learning how he "fell" into writing. However, I found it lacking in the " My life in Intrigue" portion. He was/is an adventurer, but the definition of intrigue didn't fit. Nice enjoyable read. ...more
David Highton
A slightly odd autobiography, pretty detailed up to the age of 32 and just a few vignettes after that. The childhood section was the most interesting. The publicity on the cover quotes the Sunday Times 'as high-octane as any of his thrillers' - this is certainly not the case! ...more
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Frederick Forsyth, CBE is an English author and occasional political commentator. He is best known for thrillers such as The Day of the Jackal, The Odessa File, The Fourth Protocol, The Dogs of War, The Devil's Alternative, The Fist of God, Icon, The Veteran, Avenger, The Afghan, and recently The Cobra and The Kill List.

The son of a furrier, he was born in Ashford, Kent, educated at Tonbridge Scho

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