Frederick McCarthy Forsyth was born in Ashford, Kent, England, on August 25, 1938, the son of Frederick William Forsyth and Phyllis Green Forsyth. While at the Tonbridge School in Kent, he was a voracious reader, reading “anything I could get my hands on that had to do with adventure.” He also developed a keen interest in foreign languages, learning French, German, and Spanish as well as some Russian and Italian. He frequently vacationed on the Continent, where he polished his language proficiency. He was also an avoid motorcyclist, bullfighter, and airplane pilot. His formal schooling ended when he was seventeen. Only a few days after his seventeenth birthday, Forsyth had qualified for a pilot’s license, and he joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in May of 1956. He soon became the youngest fighter pilot in the RAF.
Forsyth left the military in 1958 to become a journalist, claiming that “it was the only job I could think of that might enable me to write, travel and keep more or less my own hours.” He worked for the Eastern Daily Press in Norfolk, England, for three years. He then joined Reuters, the international news service, as a reporter and was posted to Paris, where he covered the Secret Army Organization (OAS) campaign against French president Charles de Gaulle.
At the age of twenty-five, Forsyth was appointed chief reporter of the Reuters East Berlin bureau, where he was Reuters’s sole representative covering events in...
(The entire section is 567 words.)
Frederick McCarthy Forsyth, the son of Frederick William Forsyth and Phyllis Green Forsyth, was born in Ashford, Kent, England, on August 25, 1938. His father taught him to love maps and to find the world’s trouble spots on those maps, and he told him exciting stories about Borneo headhunters and tiger shoots. Forsyth attended the Tonbridge School in Kent and loves language (he speaks French, German, Spanish, and some Russian and Italian). He quit school at the age of seventeen.
Having qualified for his pilot’s license in a Tiger Moth biplane, Forsyth joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in 1956 and learned to fly a Vampire jet, becoming at the age of nineteen the youngest fighter pilot in the RAF. Two years later, he left the military to work as a journalist for the Eastern Daily Press in Norfolk before joining the international news service Reuters and being posted to Paris. There he covered the campaign against French president Charles de Gaulle, the inspiration for his first novel, The Day of the Jackal. Forsyth became chief reporter of the Reuters East Berlin bureau, covering East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. In 1965, he joined the British Broadcasting Corporation as a radio reporter and then was assistant diplomatic correspondent for BBC television and assigned to cover the Nigerian civil war. The conflict between the official British stance on the war (motivated by Nigeria’s rich oil fields) and his personal sympathy...
(The entire section is 412 words.)