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Living It

Andrew O’Hagan: The World of Andy McNab

24 January 2008
Crossfire 
by Andy McNab.
Bantam, 414 pp., £17.99, October 2007, 978 1 84413 535 6
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Strike Back 
by Chris Ryan.
Century, 314 pp., £17.99, October 2007, 978 1 84413 535 6
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... have no problem with killing.’ The problem with having no problem is that caution isn’t seen as anything other than cowardice, a rude philosophy that may have reached its zenith in the novels of AndyMcNab. To say that this former SAS man’s view of the world is unhinged is only to observe that it constitutes an entirely accurate representation of the world as seen by many decorated soldiers ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: ‘Anthrax’!

7 July 2005
... level as that of his secret pictures of the cadets. The hysterics continued inside the paper: a double-page spread describing The Investigator’s day out was underpinned by a few stern words from AndyMcNab (‘Gulf War hero and ex-SAS man’); a severe and self-congratulatory leader reminded readers that ‘this is the third time the Sun has planted a “bomb” at the heart of a supposedly ultra ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘The ARRSE Guide’

1 December 2011
... are required by law to have one alcoholic regular who claims to be a member of the SAS and was Second Man on the Balcony at the Iranian Embassy.’ Plus: ‘All British soldiers have a mate who knows AndyMcNab and thinks that he’s either a good bloke or a tosser.’ Plus: ‘All serving SAS soldiers are discreet, witty, down-to-earth good blokes; none of them are Waltish, swollen-headed ...

Seventy Years in a Filthy Trade

Andrew O’Hagan: E.S. Turner

15 October 1998
... could be the author of a book such as Taking the Cure, a history of spa-going? Or Amazing Grace, a cool look at dukes? Before there was Dava Sobel, or Nick Hornby, or Fermat’s Last Theorem or AndyMcNab, there was Mr Turner, and his series of second-hand typewriters. ‘I remember a van arriving out of the blue with a fine stock of near-prehistoric machines,’ he says. ‘My father very decently ...

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett: A Story

8 March 2007
... and sometimes panic-stricken) but, nothing daunted, the equerries came up with a list of suggestions. Though this meant that the Queen came away with a disproportionate notion of the popularity of AndyMcNab and the near universal affection for Joanna Trollope, no matter; at least embarrassment had been avoided. And once the answers had been supplied the audiences were back on track and finished on ...

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