Times Online
March 8, 2010

The shadowy world of Andy McNab

He’s the SAS soldier turned bestselling author, and hero to every boy in Britain: but he has never revealed his identity

Next time you’re sitting on a London bus or a Tube train, take a good look at the man sitting next to you because it might just be Andy McNab, one of Britain’s biggest selling authors. His Boy Soldier series has teenagers hanging off his every word — but readers don’t know what he looks like.

Andy McNab isn’t even his real name — it’s a pseudonym.

“I like it because you get the best of both worlds,” says McNab. “I love my Oyster card and go everywhere by Tube. I’ve met people in the limelight and they can’t go shopping or go anywhere by public transport. I can get on with life.”

McNab worked on intelligence-gathering missions as a soldier in Northern Ireland years ago, so if his identity were revealed he and others could be in danger. Writing under a false name can have its funny side. “I once met myself,” says McNab with a laugh. “My wife and I were in a pub and we met a man who said he was Andy McNab. I didn’t let on, of course, and he even bought me a drink!”

McNab’s new book for younger readers is Drop Zone (Doubleday, £10.99 in hardback), a thriller about a teenage boy who gets hooked on the adrenaline rush of skydiving. It’s a subject close to McNab’s heart: he has done about 1,400 skydives as a soldier and skydiving is one of his favourite sports.

The book is filled with nailbiting drama and hard-hitting action, but the author has no doubt that his readers can handle it. “Young people are switched on and you can’t patronise them. Twelve-year-olds are watching the news and programmes such as EastEnders that have their fair share of violence,” he says.

But for McNab, Drop Zone is about more than thrills and spills. When he joined the infantry at 16, he discovered that he had a reading age of 11 — and now he hopes to get every boy in Britain into books, so they don’t find themselves in the same position.

“For me, getting into education was an uphill struggle,” says McNab, who was found abandoned on the steps of a hospital as a baby and adopted. “But once I got it, I realised how important numeracy and literacy are. You need to be able to read, no matter what you’re going to do. Even if you want to be a fantastic footballer like David Beckham, you’ll be given these contracts that are three or four hundred pages long. And if you can’t understand them, you’ll end up opening a Tesco’s every Saturday.”

And with that, Andy McNab slips off into the crowds, anonymous and free as a bird.

Source: Times Online


The Sun
Published: 04 Mar 2010

“Celebrities have come clean and confessed the books they love to read behind closed doors.
Their admissions, released for World Book Day today, reveal surprising choices – ex-SAS hero Andy McNab enjoys Jordan and boy band star JB of JLS is a fan of Jeffrey Archer.

Here is what celebs told us about their reading habits.”


Currently reading: Agent Zigzag (Ben Macintyre).

Guilty pleasure: “Sadly, I read the novel Crystal by Katie Price (Jordan) – my niece bought it.”

Favourite book: Holy Blood, Holy Grail (Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln). “I love history and read this ten years before Dan Brown’s book.”

Childhood favourite. “I couldn’t read. The first book I finished was in the Army, Janet And John book ten for primary kids.”

Go here to read the full article and – if you must –  find out about the other celebrities


Sent in by Ali, thanks!

BBC Radio – Discovery

“At the end of a dinner party, Winston Churchill spots a fellow guest surreptitiously pocketing an expensive silver salt-cellar. To avoid an undignified contretemps, Churchill has to think quickly. He picks up a silver pepperpot and places it in his own coat pocket. Then, approaching the gentleman in question, takes the pepperpot out of his pocket and sets it down in front of him. “I think they’ve seen us,” he says. “We had better put them back.” Dumbfounded, the would-be thief returns the stolen salt-cellar to its rightful place.

That’s a small example of the creative, split-second negotiating skill that characterises extreme persuasion. On the larger stage of international conflict, industrial relations, business deals and even fraud, it’s a technique that can transform the world. Some show great talent for it. These are the extreme persuaders.

In this programme, we look at the evolutionary and psychological roots of extreme persuasion.”

You can (still) listen to the programme here

Andy’s contributions are at 15.57 min and at 21.18 min.


A new Quick Read title from the author of Bravo Two Zero, published on World Book Day, 4 March.

Afghanistan, 2009. A Rifle section is halfway through their six-month tour of duty in Helmand Province. Sixteen men from their Battalion have already been killed. Forty-seven others have been wounded and flown back home.

The last three months have been tough and it shows. Their kit is in a bad way. They are in a bad way. Young men with tans, scruffy beards, peeling noses and lips burnt raw by the Afghan sun. Despite the hardships they are enjoying their time out here learning how to fight the Taliban. The lads are on their way to becoming the best soldiers in the Army.

Last Night Another Soldier… is the story of four of the young men in this Rifle section, partly told from the point of view of eighteen-year-old squaddie, David ‘Briggsy’ Briggs.

Go here for more information and the first chapter

This book is also available for iPhones, go here for more information.


To mark the publication of his new book ‘Spoken from the Front 2’, ex-SAS man Andy McNab will be giving a talk at the National Army Museum about “modern-day heroes fighting modern-day wars”, on 15 September 2010.

During the talk he will recount the courage and hardship of British servicemen as they face the difficulties posed by the Afghanistan war.

National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, London
Tel:+44 (0) 207 881 2455
Buses:170 171 360
Trains:Sloane Square
Date:15th Sepember 2010 — 7 PM