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The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue Paperback – October 11, 2016
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From 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 Day of the Jackal on. Whether writing about the murky world of arms dealers or the intricacies of worldwide drug cartels, every plot has been chillingly plausible because every detail has been minutely researched. But what most people don’t know is that some of his greatest stories of intrigue have been in his own life.
He was the RAF’s youngest pilot at the age of nineteen, barely escaped the wrath of an arms dealer in Hamburg, got strafed by a MiG during the Nigerian Civil War, landed during a bloody coup in Guinea-Bissau (and has himself been accused of helping fund a 1973 coup in Equatorial Guinea). The Stasi arrested him, the Israelis feted him, the IRA threatened him, and a certain attractive Czech secret police agent, well, her actions were a bit more . . . intimate. And that’s just for starters.
Nominated for the Edgar Award for best critical/biographical work of 2015.
Frequently bought together
PRAISE FOR THE OUTSIDER
“Forsyth’s real life has been almost as thrilling as the stories he’s created in his 15 novels. Forsyth details his many once-in-a-lifetime experiences [and] packs his stories with history both personal and global. A riveting and refreshing memoir.” —Publishers Weekly
“A writer of thrillers whose life is one, too . . . The man has lived an amazing life. Call it stranger than fiction.” —The Washington Post
“In the rich crop of conspiracy thrillers . . . Mr. Forsyth, author of the incomparable Day of the Jackal, was first among equals. [Now] he brings his considerable narrative gifts to bear on himself. . . . Spectacular.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Acclaimed thriller writer Forsyth delivers a charming autobiography about his real-life adventures around the globe. His tales of derring-do are a pleasure to read, especially when coupled with his self-deprecating humor, but his most endearing quality is his ravenous curiosity, which pulled him from one exotic location to another. Forsyth has seen it all. After living such an exciting life, he has earned his bragging rights.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Frederick Forsyth has never let us down in his spy thrillers. Their authenticity rings with truth and action for one very simple reason: Forsyth’s own life was every bit as exciting and filled with danger as his characters’. . . . With self-deprecating humor, wit, and the charm of a born storyteller, Forsyth shares his adventures and misadventures with as much zest as his legendary thrillers.” —Bookreporter.com
About the Author
Frederick Forsyth is the author of fifteen novels, from 1971’s The Day of the Jackal to 2013’s The Kill List, and two short story collections. A former pilot and print and television reporter for Reuters and the BBC, he won the Diamond Dagger Award from the Crime Writers’ Association in 2012 for a career of sustained excellence. Forsyth lives in England.
- Publisher : G.P. Putnam's Sons; Reprint edition (October 11, 2016)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1101981857
- ISBN-13 : 978-1101981856
- Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.46 x 0.94 x 8.24 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,313,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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He was an RAF pilot, and flew a Vampire (The Shepherd). He wrote his first novel, The Day of the Jackal, because he was broke. He got it published by sheer luck, then foolishly neglected to ask for a percentage of sales (he did much better with the movie rights).
He was almost killed by arms dealers while researching Dogs of War. The real Nazi criminal in The Odessa File was outed because of Forsyth's fiction. He was with the BBC in Berlin at the height of the Cold War, and bumbled onto an American spy airplane's crash in East Germany. He was used as a courier by MI-6, and attacked by MiGs and mortars in Biafra.
The last chapter is especially close to my heart, because he flew the exact same classic warbird I did, and he also wrenched himself up with emotion afterwards. It was a Mark IX, too. Just like mine.
His life was what boys always imagined life should be, before adulthood got in the way. If you liked his books, do yourself a favor this Christmas and get The Outsider. It turns out his novels were fire-forged in real life, except that his real life had more unbelievable twists and turns.
Nevertheless, I was skeptical when faced with the choice of buying his autobiography. How could the life story of an English author--no matter how talented--really come anywhere close to matching the intrigue of one of his novels. Well, I shouldn't have been concerned. If a Forsyth novel is worth five stars, "The Outsider" is worth four and a half.
The book traces his improbable life from that of an RAF pilot, to journalist, to foreign correspondent for newspapers and TV. It includes his stint living behind the Iron Curtain and a surprise cameo role as a spy for British Intelligence. I won't give away the details, but suffice it to say, his books may include even more insider info than we ever guessed. There is a brewing company with an advertising campaign based on "The World's Most Interesting Man." The ad agency should have hired Forsyth, not an actor, to play the lead role.
Please, Frederick, write one more novel for us!
Top reviews from other countries
June Finnigan - Writer
Rather than go to University, he then trained as a pilot in the RAF, before working at Reuters in Paris (shadowing President de Gaulle, who was reckoned to be at constant high risk of assassination) & then East Berlin (as the only Western press correspondent in the city) - all this by the age of 27 ! Time working for the BBC followed, & he was sent to Nigeria in 1967 to cover the Biafran War. Subsequently the BBC pulled out of covering this conflict (Vietnam (in which Britain was not involved) was deemed to be more important), so FF returned under his own steam to Biafra as an independent correspondent, where he helped draw the world's attention to the terrible conditions of people starving there. At the end of that ghastly war, he found himself back in London with no job & no money & largely black-balled by the British media for having taken an "anti-Establishment" line (ie supporting the Biafrans) during the war.
So......he decided to write a novel, which became "The Day of the Jackal". He then had to find a publisher, & (in another of the several strokes of luck which he freely admits have favoured him throughout his life) conveniently met one at a party who liked his initial manuscript, & then offered him a three novel contract. Thus "The Odessa File" & "The Dogs of War" followed in short order - & the rest is history.
This book is certainly an interesting read - my only carp is that the background to FF's remaining books is covered fairly cursorily. Nevertheless, he has certainly enjoyed an astonishingly varied & dramatic life, & has undoubtedly deserved the success that has come his way.
Frederick began this career as a journalist and his succinct style reflects this. Although his family were not wealthy, both his parents worked, he attended a boarding school. During the holidays he spent time with families in France and Germany in order to learn their language. He also spent a summer in Paris in the apartment of two Russian aristocrat sisters. He began his career with an apprenticeship working on a regional newspaper and then moved to Fleet Street as he wanted to be a foreign correspondent. His revelations about the Biafran famine were not something I was previously aware of, I was about ten at the time and can recall the shock it created and the need to do something creating fundraising on BBC's Blue Peter and the newly formed Oxford Famine Relief (Oxfam). I was totally unaware of the famine's origin and the fact it was the lack of protein that caused the victim's body's to swell.
Reading the book I realised his life was a very masculine one and the opportunities he had would not have been available to a female of that era. However, I hesitate to use the word lucky; as another writer said, yes I have been lucky and the harder I work the luckier I am. Frederick is definitely a hard worker who meticulously researched his books.
Now I have all three elements in one. I absolutely loved this book.
Forsyth doesn't always come across as a likeable soul in TV interviews, but he's far more approachable in this book, likeable even. The story of his life and the escapes that came together to kick-start his writing success with the 'Dogs of War' are entertainingly presented and it's one of my favourite autobiographies.
Whatever you think of Fredrick Forsyth he knows how to write and you don't want to miss his meandering and dangerous path to literary success. Superb.