Alistair MacLean

(2744 words)
  • Chris Willis

Bestselling writer Alistair MacLean always insisted that he was a storyteller rather than a novelist. He wrote fast-moving, exciting action adventures, disdaining what he called the “sex, sadism and snobbery” of the Ian Fleming school of writing.

MacLean was born on 28 April 1922 in Shettleston, Glasgow. His father (also named Alistair MacLean) was a Church of Scotland minister who wrote books of Christian meditations. The family spoke Gaelic, and MacLean did not learn English until he was seven. Maclean's father and oldest brother both died while MacLean was still at school, shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War. In 1941 the 18-year-old MacLean joined the Royal Navy, where he served on the Arctic convoys. …

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Willis, Chris. "Alistair MacLean". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 June 2002
[, accessed 03 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. World War 2 Literature