Higgins, Jack: The Eagle Has Landed
(researched by Michael Mitchell)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description

1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)

The Eagle has Landed, by Jack Higgins Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, New York, 1975 The first edition was printed and published by Collins in London, 1975. Unable to locate a copy of the edition which was printed in London. The copy located is believed to be the first edition printed in the United States by Holt. Holt, in 1976, made standard stating "First Edition" on copyright page. Prior it was customary to state "First Edition" but not standard.
*First Editions: A Guide to Identification, Edited by Edward N. Zempel and Linda A. Verkler; Spoon River Press; Peoria, Illnois; 1984 *Bibliofind Worldcat *Guide to Contemporary Authors

2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?

First edition published in hardback - black cloth over stiff cardboard.
Viewing copy of The Eagle has Landed

3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available

4 Pagination

179 leaves (16 pages not numbered), 9-352 numbered pagination at bottom center of each page
Viewing copy of The Eagle has Landed

5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?

Neither edited or introduced.
Viewing Copy of the Eagle has Landed

6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?

No illustrations.

7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available

8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)

Physical presentation of the text is very attractive. Large typeface makes it easy to read. The book is well printed, text is clean.
Viewing copy of The Eagle has Landed

9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available

10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)

Paper is of thick grain and cut at straight edge on all sides. The paper in all copies found dating to 1975 seem to be holding up well. No tearing or rolling of corners is seen.
Viewing copy of The Eagle has Landed

11 Description of binding(s)

Book binding is black, hard-bound. The glue holding the paper to the cloth spine is gone. This would suggest heavy use and the book was often read.
Viewing copy of The Eagle has Landed

12 Transcription of title page

The/Eagle/has/Landed/ Jack/Higgins/ Holt/Rhinehart/and/Winston/New York
Viewing copy of The Eagle has Landed

13 JPEG image of title page, if available

14 Manuscript Holdings

Unable to locate manuscript holdings. Waiting to hear from source in the Jack Higgins fan club.

15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)

Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History

1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A

The only other edition put out by Holt, Rhinehart and Winston is a book club edition. This edition has the same cover art as the original edition. It is very similar to the the original - except for the typography and pagination. The type is smaller and as a result, there are fewer pages. There are no subsequent editions published by Holt.
*Viewing copy of Book Club edition of The Eagle has Landed Worldcat Books in Print: Infotrac Searchbank

2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available

3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available

4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?

There were several printings of the first edition. Found no information on the exact number of printings. Book first published in June, 1975 and by August, 1975 had already gone back for third printing with 75,000 copies in print.
*Publishers Weekly: August 4, 1975 Directory of American book Publishing Books in Print: Infotrac Searchbank Worldcat

5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A

G.K. Hall & Company, 1975 Bantam Books, 1976, 1982 Ulverscroft Large Print Books, 1983 Pocketbooks, 1989 Simon and Schuster Trade, 1991 Macmillan Library Reference, 1992 Bucaneer Books, Incorporated, 1995 Pocketbooks, 1997
*Books in Print: Infotrac Searchbank *Publishers Weekly

6 Last date in print?

Last printed in October 1997, Pocketbooks
*Amazon.com *Books in Print: Infotrac Searchbank *www.scintilla.utwente.nl/users/gert/higgins (The Unofficial Jack Higgins Homepage)

7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)

The Eagle has Landed is Jack Higgins most popular and successful book, having sold nearly 26 million copies since it was first published in 1975.
*The Unofficial Jack Higgins Homepage (interview #5)

8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)

Unable to find any information regarding annual sales. In the first year it was published, from June 1975 to June 1976, during its stint on the Bestseller lists, it sold approximately 4,000 copies per week.
*Publishers Weekly: September 1, 1975 Bowker Annual

9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)

Full-page advertisement found in March 19, 1975 issue of Publishers Weekly. A large picture of Winston Churchill which takes up 3/4 of the page with large bold letters on bottom: "TARGET FOR TONIGHT." excerpt: "destined to be international bestseller..."
*Publishers Weekly: March 19, 1975

10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available

11 Other promotion

None found.

12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A

Paramount Pictures released The Eagle has Landed as a major motion picture in 1976 starring Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, and Donald Sutherland.
Dove Books Audio in March 1996 produced audio casettes of The Eagle has Landed, read by Christopher Cazenove.

13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A

March 19, 1975 issue of Publishers Weekly advertisement by Holt, Rhinehart and Winston of The Eagle has Landed proclaiming foreign rights sold to France, Germany and every other major country. Translations found in Dutch, German(Scherz, Munich, 1976), and Chinese.
*Books in Print: Infotrac Searchbank *Publishers Weekly: March 19, 1975

14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A


15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A

The main character of The Eagle has Landed, Liam Devlin, is a major character in many of Jack Higgins' books. He is the protagonist in only two: The Confessional: Collins, London, 1985 Touch of the Devil: Stein and Day, New York, 1982
*Books in Print: Infotrac Searchbank *The Unofficial Jack Higins Homepage

Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author

1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)

The Master: Jack Higgins and the Eagle has Landed
Jack Higgins, like James Graham, Martin Fallon and Hugh Marlowe, is a pseudonym for the author's real name: Harry Patterson. Higgins has written 59 novels and many, including The Eagle has Landed, have spent time on the bestseller lists. Today Higgins is a multi-millionaire and is probably the most successful British author in his genre of adventure thrillers. Higgins was born in 1929 and raised in Belfast, Ireland. While a young boy, Higgins had several close calls from bombs and gunfire as a result of his family having a political back- ground. His parents divorced when he was thirteen and he moved with his mother to Leeds, an industrial city in northern England. His mother remarried and because he did not get along with his stepfather, was an outcast in his own home. By the age of fourteen, Higgins dropped out of school and had a succession of jobs. He managed to get his high school degree by attending night school. He spent three years as a corporal in the Royal House of Guards serving on the East German border during the Cold War. At 27, Higgins was accepted as an external student at London University and with an IQ of 147, earned degrees in Sociology, Social Pyschology, and Economics. He paid for his education by working a night as a circus hand, waiter, and other odd jobs. He then went into teaching and taught for ten years before becoming a full-time author. During his teaching years he began to write adventure stories and at the age of 30, had his first novel published by John Long. For the next decade he wrote many more novels by several different publishers, none of which did tremendously well. In August of 1971, Higgins saw the publication of his first book under his sixth publisher, William Collins. With Collins, Higgins published atotal of 14 titles and began his road to super-stardom. In 1975, The Eagle has Landed made Higgins world famous. With a detailed and complex plot which required months of reserach, The Eagle has Landed attracted a much wider audience. A very successful film of he book was made in 1977, starring Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, and Donald Sutherland. Since then, Higgins has had 17 bestsellers translated into 42 languages and selling 50,000 copies a month in paperback. The international bestselling author currently lives with his second wife, who is 25 years younger than he, on Jersey in the Channel Islands. Higgins moved from England to escape the high taxes. He is the father of three girls and a boy and is an expert scuba diver and marksman. With his trademark tinted glasses, he still works at night - whipping up novels in just two months. Still writing in longhand, Higgins professes that "there is a connection between him and the pages" (Compulsion, 2)
Lee, Luaine. "Writing is Higgins' Compulsion." New Standard. 1996. http://www.s-t.com/daily/05-96/05-05-96/3showt.htm
Sale, Jonathan. Passed/Failed: Jack Higgins. 1998. http://www.independent.co.uk/edu/971023ed/passfail. html
Stephenson-Payne, Phil. "An Annotated Checklist." Million. July-August, 1991. http://www.scintilla.utwente.nl/users/gert/higgins/html/ interview4.html
Jack Higgins Biography. The Unofficial Jack Higgins Homepage. http://www.scintiall/utwente.nl/users/gert/ higgins/html/bio.html
Jack Higgins Interview. The Yorkshire Evening Post. May, 1994. http://www.scintilla.utwente.nl/users/gert/higgins/ html/interview1.html
Jack Higgins Profile. The Sunday Telegraph. June, 1993. http://www.scintilla.utwente.nl/users/gert/higgins/html/ interview3.html
Higgins, Jack. BookWire. http://www.bookwire.com/ BookInfo.Author$70

Assignment 4: Reception History

1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

The Eagle has Landed was first published in 1975 under some, but certainly not a lot of fanfare. It was this title which put Jack Higgins on the map and vaulted him to super-stardom. Because of this, The Ea
gle has Landed did not have any expectations to live up to. Thus, reviews of the novel were not extensive or very common. However, due to the advertsiements and hype released by the publisher, The Eagle has Landed did draw some attention considering the
author was relatively unknown at the time. The genre of the novel would also explain why reviews of the novel are scarce. The Eagle has Landed is an espionage adventure thriller written to entertain. Unlike some other bestsellers of the time, the nove
l does not tackle contemporary social issues or involve the reader with the emotions of the characters. For this reason the novel did not face the sharp eyes of the academic and literary critics. Most reviews of The Eagle has Landed are synopses of the plot and perhaps a short opinion of the reviewer on whether or not the book is worth reading. Fortunately for Higgins, most reviewers did find The Eagle has Landed was worth the time. The Chr
istian Science Monitor praised the novel for it's "movie-like" excitement and the "elements of heroism, duplicity, and heavy irony." In The Library Journal, Robert Stenzel claims the "suspense is enhanced by a cleverly devised plot, superb chracterizati
on and good dialogue." A number of critics likened The Eagle has Landed to another adventure classic, The Dirty Dozen - certainly a positive gesture. Not all of the reviews in the first years of the novel were so positive. Edmund Crispin, a reviewer for The London Times, thought the novel's plot too fantastic to believe. Higgins was adamant about the novel being based on historical facts - fact
s that took years of dangerous research to uncover. Crispin's response to Higgin's research is that if the author had a better imagination, his time could be better spent. Martin Levin of The New York Times, also thought the story too unbelievable and
communicates this view in the sarcastic tone of his review. Despite these influential sources criticizing the novel, many millions of people found the story very enjoyable, if not realistic. They found it so enjoyable that in 1975 and 1976, it spent ma
ny weeks on the bestseller lists.

*Book Review Digest, 1976 *The Library Journal, May 15, 1975 *Times Literary Supplement, December 19, 1975 *The New York Times Book Review, August 17, 1975 *The London Times, September 14, 1975 Readers Guide to Periodical Literature Twentieth Century Literature Criticism Contemporary Literary Criticism

2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)

Despite some of the negative reviews The Eagle has Landed received in the first few years of its publication, it is still selling thousands of copies and still being reviewed. The basis of past criticism was the
novel's unrealistic plot, but it was never denied an exciting story. The book came to life in a 1976 movie which was a hit at the box office. The film brought the book to many more people's attention and its fast paced action made it hard to put down
. Reviewers today are bold enough to claim that The Eagle has Landed is the single greatest World War II espionage thriller of all time. One reviewer claims that no one, not even Higgins, has ever come close to equal this masterpiece. Again, reviewers
liken the novel to the classic, The Dirty Dozen. The Eagle has Landed is certainly not a literary masterpiece one will find on academic reading lists, but as for sheer entertainment and adventure, people seem to agree that it is one of the best. Joyce Park, a reviewer on an internet site which solely reviews mystery novels, praises the novel for its cleverly thought-out plot. She also says, "Higgins provides his characters with just enough psychological complexity to add depth to the plot."
The historical credibility which previous reviewers complained about, disappears in more recent reviews. Ironically, reviewers today find Higgins' claim to historical fact and his role in the story very believable. The belief of the reviewers is prob
ably the same as the views of the millions of readers of The Eagle has Landed - that plots much stranger than the one Higgins creates did exist in the dark world of World War II. These readers can therfore easily buy into the premise of the novel. What makes The Eagle has Landed so popular is clearly the sheer excitement given to the reader. A reviewer in The San Francisco Chronicle exclaims that the novel is, "First rate...a fascinating adventure story." All of the readers reviews on variou
s web pages are entirley positive and enthusiastic. A reviewer for The Library Journal highly recommended The Eagle has Landed. There is no doubt Higgins achieved something special and despite some preliminary negative attitudes, The Eagle has Landed st
ill is attracting new readers.
*Publishers Weekly, May 3, 1993 *The Library Journal, June 15, 1993 *The Unofficial Jack Higgins Homepage *amazon.com *http://www.mysteryguide.com Readers Guide to Periodical Literature Twentieth Century Literature Crticism Contemporary Literary Criticism

Assignment 5: Critical Analysis

1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)

The Eagle has Landed was Jack Higgins' breakthrough work. Before its publication, Higgins was an unknown novelist trying hard to make it in the very competitive genre of adventure thrillers. Since The Eagle has Landed, Higgins has written dozens of novels and many have been bestsellers. Today, his books can be found in airport terminals throughout the world. A testament to its popularity, The Eagle has Landed can still be found in these stands along with the more current titles of the Grisham's, Clancy's, and Crichton's of the literary world. What makes Higgins work so popular is not their beautiful description, extensive character development, or the wonderful prose, but his exciting and clever plots. In The Eagle has Landed, Higgins has created a story that is so riveting, that the book is nearly impossible to put down. What sets this book apart from all of the others he has written, as well as those of his colleagues, is that the author claims that it is based on historical facts. Higgins claims that the plot of The Eagle has Landed is not just a whim of his imagination, but a story of historical credibility. The plot, which can be simply described as a German Nazi plot to kidnap Winston Churchill, supposedly originates from years of painstaking research and a multitude of interviews. While some find it believable, Higgins plot is far too fantastic to be taken as serious history and his claims add little to a story which is exciting enough on its own.
Unlike many bestsellers, The Eagle has Landed does not attempt to tackle any prevalent social issues of its time. It does not make a commentary on contemporary society. Instead, the book exists for the sole purpose of entertainment. Within the plot, there are many twists and turns that make it hard to put down. The characters of The Eagle has Landed also have enough psychological complexity to draw the reader into their every action. The story begins with Higgins stumbling on the story while doing some research for another topic in the small coastal village of Studley Constable, England. In the village church cemetery, Higgins claims to reveal a small hidden memorial to a group of German paratroopers who died there while "in action" in November, 1943. Immediately, Higgins is filled with curiosity as to how and why these German paratroopers died. What could they have been doing there fighting in England and it never be mentioned in any history book? With this question, Higgins has stirred up the reader's curiosity and sucked them into his story. The first chapter follows Higgins around the small village trying to get some answers. To heighten the interest, Higgins is met with much hostility and unfriendly silence. This does not deter him and after two years of research, Higgins claims to have arrived at the truth - supported only by the interviews of relatives of eyewitnesses, sources which can hardly be categorized as historically reliable. Nevertheless, Higgins story is attractive enough that we keep reading and it doesn't take long to realize that it was the right decision.
Higgins ends his role after the first chapter and gets into the "facts" of his discovery. Apparently, on the coattails of Mussolini's successful extraction from imprisonment in the Italian Alps, Hitler was confident that even greater things could be accomplished with his highly skilled commando units. His bold new idea was to capture Winston Churchill and thus, the officials of the German High Command sprung into action. Put in command of the operation was Colonel Max Radl. Initially, Radl hoped the idea would fade away - just like all of the other fantasies of their Fuhrer. Ready to dismiss the impossible mission, German intelligence receives a transmission from a spy vaulting the plan back into motion. The spy's name is Joanna Grey, a woman living in Studley Constable, who reports that on the weekend of November 6, 1943, the Prime Minister would be spending a long weekend in their quaint little village. The German command realizes that this is the perfect opportunity for them to attempt the mission and that a commando unit must be organized immediately.
By this time in the book, Higgins has begun something that is entirely new to World War II adventure thrillers. The main characters of the novel, the one's whose lives the reader will follow, are on the side that is normally the enemy, the side that we normally love to hate. It is very unusual that the reader be enticed by members of the Nazi army, but in The Eagle has Landed, this is what takes place. Higgins' portrayal of the Nazi soldiers is very favorable and one cannot help but be attracted to them. The are not presented as evil racists responsible for the Holocaust, but as honorable and heroic men. The first character like this is Radl. While loyal to the desires of the Fuhrer, Radl realizes that the Nazi cause is wandering in focus and losing the war. He realizes that Hitler is a lunatic and one cannot help but feel pity for the man in his situation. He is asked to pull off the impossible and if he fails, such a daring plan will look like an act of treason, resulting certainly in his death.
Another of Higgins characters, who would normally not be made into a hero, is the German paratrooper Radl selects to lead the mission, Kurt Steiner. When Higgins first introduces Steiner, he realizes that first impressions mean everything when judging a character. He describes Steiner being court-martialed from the German army for attempting to save a Jewish girl from going to the concentration camp. This disloyal act gets him suspended until he is presented with Radl's plan to drop into England. He does not turn this chance down, for he knows that success could mean the reinstatement of his rank and the rank of his loyal men. He accepts the offer to lead the mission on the condition that if they die, they must be allowed to fight with their former distinction - an example of Steiner's great honor.
Steiner and Radl are not the only examples of Higgins sympathetic portrayal of the German soldiers. He paints them as good, humane men and loyal soldiers, overwhelmed in a cause that they don't understand or represent. What Higgins seems to be trying to say is that not every German soldier was involved or supported the atrocities for which they are so well remembered. There are several examples of this German chivalry when the plot unfolds. The German paratroopers successfully drop into England and disguised in Polish uniforms, pretend to be training. The plan is working to perfection, especially since Steiner is half-English and can speak the language without an accent. The plan begins to unravel however, when one of the German soldiers jumps into an aqueduct to save a little girl's life. The brave soldier manages to save the girl's life, but gets killed in the process. To the shock of the bystanders, the soldier's German uniform is uncovered when his training uniform is torn off his body. Thus, the plan is no longer a secret and the German paratroopers must take the entire village hostage. Higgins cleverly constructed this example of the German's heroic deed to be the beginning of their plan's demise.
Higgins use of making characters, which are usually the enemy, into heroes, isn't limited to Nazis. One of Higgins' most famous characters is first introduced in The Eagle has Landed and is a product of his own life experience. This character is Liam Devlin, an IRA hitman determined to fight England so that there may be a "unified Ireland." Higgins was no stranger to the IRA and its activities while growing up in Ireland. His father and uncle were both involved in the cause and grew up taking shelter from gunfire and bombs. Devlin is portrayed as a very likable fellow blessed with an easy sense of humor, a swift intellect, fighting skills, and knack for reciting poetry at the oddest of times. It is Devlin, hiding in Berlin, who is recruited by Radl to sneak into England and scope things out before the arrival of the paratroopers. Fueled with revenge, Devlin is excited to be a part of the plan - plan he admits only seems feasible when he is drunk. Despite the fact that he is highly skilled killer, Devlin is portrayed as a good old Irish gentleman, a guy one might see wearing a "kiss me, I'm Irish" tee-shirt.
Devlin successfully paves the way for the Germans until, of course, the previously mentioned incident involving the little girl. Steiner still thinks he is in control when he takes the villager's hostage, but the reality is that the doom of he and his plan is imminent. One villager manages to escape and notify some United States Army Rangers, who are training just miles down the road, of the German plan to assassinate Churchill. With that, Churchill is intercepted and brought to safety by the Rangers. The Americans then go after the Germans and the result is a heart-throbbing scene of commando action. Due to Higgins' ingenious portrayal of the Germans, it is interesting to find that the reader is actually rooting for the Nazis. This is perhaps the most serious issue addressed in the entire book. The reality of the battle between the Americans and the Germans is that killing each other is senseless. There is neither a good side nor a bad side. The German paratroopers are not the barbaric culprits of genocide as they are normally viewed, but a band of loyal soldiers fighting for their pride and their leader, Steiner. This is evident when they urge Steiner to escape when he can and that they will remain behind to cover his escape. It is a moving scene in the book when these young soldiers choose a certain death for the success of their mission and the life of their leader. The Americans certainly aren't the enemy either because, after all, they are Americans. What Higgins achieves in this scene is masterful for it is painful to read the slaughter of the Germans.
The story is far from over because Devlin and Steiner escape. At this point, Devlin abandons the hope of getting Churchill and concentrates on his own safety. The brave Steiner doesn't give up so easily and is adamant about achieving his objective. Under the cover of night, he eludes the Rangers and manages to find Churchill in a nearby residence. Again, Higgins builds the suspense and in the climactic scene, just as Steiner is to shoot Churchill, the German is assaulted by heavy gunfire from one of the Rangers. Steiner is killed and the Prime Minister saved - a scene that is truly amazing when remembering that Higgins is claiming his story to be of historical fact. One cannot help but be overcome with the thought of the possible repercussions had Churchill been shot. The mind is sent racing with a multitude of "what-ifs" and the heart pounding with the utter suspense.
Higgins, however, is still not done. His plot has more surprises that need to be revealed. In his last chapter, Higgins returns to Studley Constable to meet with an old priest who lived during the event. Higgins claims that the priest can verify his research for everything except for the fact that the man Steiner had in his sights was actually Churchill. Higgins learns from the priest that Churchill was in Tehran at the time and that the man in Studley Constable was a Churchill impersonator. By having Churchill in two places, Higgins explains, it would make it very difficult to coordinate an assassination attempt. Thus, Radl and Steiner's entire mission was a wash - a wild goose chase, which cost the lives of many good men, for the wrong man.
Higgins' plot is astoundingly intricate and complex, filled with twists and turns that make the novel hard to put down. It is hard to imagine a story that could be more riveting with characters more heroic and likeable. What makes Higgins' novel special is its angle from the opposite side. It is intriguing to read about Higgins characters, people that we are normally trained to despise. Perhaps the only fault within the novel is Higgins claim to historical fact. While some find the story believable, its plot is far too intricate with too many coincidental turns to even be considered as history. Despite the flaw, The Eagle has Landed is by far Higgins' best work and has not yet met its match either from Higgins or any other author in its genre. As Tom Clancy exclaims, "Higgins is the master."
*The New York Times Book Review, August 17, 1975 *The London Times, September 14, 1975 *http://www.mysteryguide.com *http://www.amazon.com *The Unofficial Jack Higgins Homepage

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