|The son of a minister, Alistair MacLean grew up in the Scottish Highlands and attended Hillhead High School in Glasgow. He joined the Royal Navy at the age of 18 and spent two years during World War II as a torpedo man on a cruiser. He returned to Scotland after the war to attend Glasgow University, where he graduated in 1953 with an honors degree in English. After finding work as a secondary-school teacher, MacLean began writing short stories, and when his first novel, "H. M. S. Ulysses" appeared in 1955 and became an instant success, he attained immediate notoriety. He went on to write many more bestsellers, such as "The Guns of Navarone" and "Where Eagles Dare", based on his experiences during World War II. An alcoholic in later years, MacLean died in Munich and was buried in Celigny, Switzerland. He left behind several unfinished works.