Frederick Forsyth has seen it all. And lived to tell the tale.
We all make mistakes, but starting the Third World War would have been a rather large one. To this day I still maintain it was not entirely my fault. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
During the course of my life, I've barely escaped the wrath of an arms dealer in Hamburg, been strafed by a MiG during the Nigerian civil war, and landed during a bloody coup in Guinea-Bissau.
The Stasi arrested me, the Israelis regaled me, the IRA prompted a quick move from Ireland to England, and a certain attractive Czech secret police agent - well, her actions were a bit more intimate. And that's just for starters. All of that I saw from the inside. But all that time I was, nonetheless, an outsider.
Trained first as a pilot then as a journalist, Frederick Forsyth finally turned to fiction and became one of the most lauded thriller writers of our time.
As exciting as his novels, Forsyth's autobiography is a candid look at an extraordinary life lived to the full - a life whose unique experiences have provided rich inspiration for 13 internationally best-selling thrillers.
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An amazing life described with verve
Curiously No Sense of Irony
This book is very well read, and amongst the best biographical style works I own as audio.
Mr Forsyth sees himself as an outsider, and yet he clearly is not, and has not, been. His networking skills and knowledge stand out in every chapter, and outsiders, but their very nature do not have these.
This is not a work of fiction (one assumes) and so this is an odd question, but Mr. Powell does both 'serious Freddie' and "Wooster Freddie' very effectively, perhaps adding a little more to the character of the book than would reading it alone.
No, several sittings, on long train journeys and sorting tasks, proved very effective.
Mr. Forsyth makes his politics clear throughout his writings, and I quite respected him for it before listening to 'The Outsider: My Life in Intrigue', but his exposition of his own story actually left me quite angry. A man who was 'reconstructed' after a serious car accident, at a cottage hospital, by remarkable medics and nursing staff, then does not want to pay into the system that saved him: he leaves the country because the top tax bracket, after the allowances, is 'too much', is not so worthy of respect. A man who later complains that his investments adviser (due diligence is not about money management, it is about character and behaviour) is not effectively prosecuted because the state lawyer is not good enough, is also missing the point, that his taxes were not there to train the best for the CPS - is short on irony. A man who describes the Geisha tradition with such relish, and seems quite happy about the auctioning of young virgins within its framework (evidence suggests that is has continued in Japan into this century), even if he is in his seventies, should be 'an outsider', but I don't think he is. If you want a Ian Fleming style account this is not for you - but if you are happy with right-wing politics, and convenient 'patriotism' this will please you. And it is a brilliant performance by Robert Powell, of course.