Monday, December 22, 2008

Where Eagles Dare by Alistair MacLean

What a great way to kick off this blog with a heart-pounding read!

The history behind me reading this book goes back to my high school days. In the dead of winter, Dad and I got home from playing basketball at the old church gym one evening. After showering and eating a delicious corned beef and hash with hashed browned potatoes dinner, I settled into our big brown couch to watch some TV. After some flipping of the channels, I landed on TBS. The movie started off with a the rumbling of WWII airplane above the Alps. The music was determined and bombastic. I was hooked.

The movie "Where Eagles Dare" with Tim Burton and Clint Eastwood is one of my all-time favorite. I enjoy watching it in the winter. Last year, after doing some googling, I found the soundtrack to the movie. Then a few months ago while visting Half-Priced books, I came across the book. I grabbed it and started reading. I got half way through the book and then life got a little busy. But I finally picked it back and up and finished it in a couple of days.

The Summary

A team of British Special Forces along with an American Ranger infiltrate the HQ of Nazi intelligence high above in the Alps. The purpose of their mission is to extract an American general. But we soon find out that the real reason for the mission is to reveal double-agents who have penetrated MI6.


The book and movie stay pretty close to each other in the plot. The biggest thing I noticed was the lack of killing in the book. In fact, Major Smith goes out of his way several times to not kill a German. At one point he puts his own life in peril to rescue an unconcious German. In the movie, Smith and Schaffer mow down Germans left and right. They are killing machines.

In the book, Schaffer is much more light-hearted. He is a rancher from Montana and he has a cowboy quality about himself. Clint Eastwood plays a morbid and tough-guy in the movie. Schaffer and Heidi also develop a love interest in the book while the two don't even look at each on other in the movie.

Overall, I think I enjoy reading how MacLean describes things in the book. The action begs for more in the book, but the unraveling of the true plot is better spelled out in the book than in the movie. It took me a few times watching the movie to figure out what was really going on. But the book made it much clearer what Smith's intentions were.

If you like war books, this would be a good read. It was easy and light reading for the most part.

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