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Old 11-05-2013, 08:30   #1
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George Millar

Hello. I have recently discovered George Millars sailing books and have really enjoyed reading them. Apart from his sailing adventures (Isabel and the Sea amongst others) he had a very interesting life.

I have been trying to research his post-war sailing life and travels with his wife Isabel and photos but there is scant information. Does anyone know where I can learn more?

Thank you.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:56   #2
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Re: George Millar

Frankly, I never heard of him before, but he sounds like an interesting character from his Wikipedia write up. You can read one of his books here.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:18   #3
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Re: George Millar

I am a huge Millar fan, I have mentioned him on book threads here before. I posess every book he ever wrote. It took me many years to acquire them all, as some are incredibly rare. I spent a small fortune to obtain "My Past was an Evil River", his earliest autobiographical work.

While "Isabel and the Sea" and "Orellana Discovers the Amazon" are truly riveting reads by one of the greatest authors of the last century, I have to mention his autobiographical works, as the man lead a truly fascinating life, start to finish. If you haven't read "Horned Pigeon" or "Maquis", rush out and get them now! Of course, these are not books about sailing. Millar was one of WWII's most accomplished escape artists, no cage could hold him. Only the Baron Cram made more escapes from concentration camps and prisons than Millar. He also held the MC, the Legion of Honor, the Croix de Guerre with palms, etc, etc. This man was a serious first rate hero of the intelligence war, and a legend in the French Resistance. And since he also happened to be a first rate journalist and author before the war, he was well equipped to write about it. If you have any interest in military or world history, particularly SOE and the Resistance, his work is a must read.


I believe that one should really read first "Horned Pigeon", then "Maquis", before attempting "Isabel and the Sea". It gives a great deal of insight as to why Millar went to France and the Med after the war, who he really was, and in particular his relationship with Isabel, his second wife. He was a very modest man, and discovering the truth about his life is difficult even though he wrote so much about it. Of course this wasn't all just modesty, as many of SOE's activities continue to be classified today.


As to your request, the best you can do is frequent all the usual Internet sites for rare military history books. Millar was a very private man, you won't find much out there. If you search for and begin to collect his newspaper articles, you will gain a lot of info and insight on the period. "Road to Resistance" is a bit of a rehash of "Maquis", but also contains a wonderful synopsis of his childhood, which is fascinating. Good luck, feel free to ask more precise questions, and good reading! And don't forget his close friend, Alan Moorehead, who was also a stellar author who wrote on many subjects.
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Old 19-05-2013, 07:45   #4
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Re: George Millar

Thank you Minaret.

I am presently reading Maquis after discovering Millar's 'Isabel and the Sea' which was excellent - as you say. I then read 'Oyster River' and have his other sailing book waiting to be read.

I was very impressed with his military and SOE history most of which is quite easy to research through his wartime books and the internet. What I am particularly interested in is his later life and his second wife Isabel who shared his sailing adventures with him. Apart from the fact that she was half-Spanish, the daughter of a Diplomat and died after an accident in 1990 I have found nothing further of her life. She sounds a fascinating woman and I would like to know more about her.

I can only find two photpgraphs of Millar - one in uniform on the internet and another in the book 'Oyster River'.
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Old 19-05-2013, 08:10   #5
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Re: George Millar

The hard cover older editions of "Road to Resistance" have quite a few photos, including pictures from his childhood. You will not find much on Isabel. For a journalist and author he was an intensely private person. Read much else on SOE? Try Leo Marks "Between Silk and Cyanide". Or perhaps "A Life in Secrets:Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE". Good places to start. Marks is particularly enlightening. The truth about Atkins is fascinating as well.
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Old 30-05-2013, 05:42   #6
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Re: George Millar

Finally received my copy of 'A White Boat from England' (1951) and there are quite a few photos including some of Isabel. Looking forward to reading it.
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Old 30-05-2013, 07:53   #7
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Re: George Millar

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Originally Posted by peter24 View Post
Finally received my copy of 'A White Boat from England' (1951) and there are quite a few photos including some of Isabel. Looking forward to reading it.



Enjoy. You know they are all excellent reads. Nice to run into a fellow fan, it's very rare that I meet anyone who is familiar with Millar. He is one of my favorite authors.


Same era, similar vein, different theater; try "The Jungle is Neutral" by F. Spencer Chapman. Mind blowing. Still studied today by those on both sides of insurgencies. Chapman makes Millars personal odyssey seem like a walk in the park.
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