The story behind the legend of ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare

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Chris Hoare with his legendary dad, Mike Hoare.

Remember the wild stories that made newspaper headlines back in the early 80s and even before that in the mid-60s about adventurer and rogue ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare?

Now, for the first time, a biography on the famous Mike Hoare has been published. Titled  ‘Mad Mike’ Hoare: The Legend, the book has attracted favourable comment from the likes of Kingsley Holgate, Eeben Barlow, and Al J Venter who commented, “I found The Legend to be written exceptionally well and with remarkable clarity and insight.”

The 320-page book is by Mike’s son, Chris Hoare, a journalist who had unique access to his father’s life story. It is the result of 12 years of research and writing between times, has 200 references, 89 photographs, seven maps, a bibliography and an index.

‘Mad Mike’ Hoare became world famous in 1964-1965 when he led 300 ‘Wild Geese’ across the Congo to crush a communist rebellion, rescue 2000 nuns and priests from barbarity, beat Che Guevara … and become a legend.

Of Irish blood, Mike was schooled in England and, during World War 2 was the ‘best bloody soldier in the British Army’. He demobbed as major, qualified in London as a chartered accountant and emigrated to South Africa.

Going rogue, he started living dangerously to get more out of life, including trans-Africa motorbike trips, bluewater sailing, exploring remote areas and leading safaris in the Kalahari Desert. Here Mike got to know the CIA agent who was to change his life … and Nelson Mandela’s. Later Mike was technical advisor to the film The Wild Geese, which starred Richard Burton playing the Mike Hoare character.

In 1981 Mike led 50 ‘Frothblowers’ in a bid to depose the socialist government of the Seychelles. Things went wrong and soon Mike was to spend three years in jail for hijacking a Boeing 707.

Says Chris, “My father, who is 99-and-a-half now and lives in Durban, was essentially a gentleman adventurer, probably the last of that breed. I like to think he was an officer and a gentleman with a bit of pirate thrown in.”

The book was published by Partners in Publishing and is available in bookshops at a recommended retail price of R395,00 including VAT. The ISBN number is 9780620798617.

Chris Hoare is Mike’s eldest son. He went to school at Michaelhouse, has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Natal, and has spent most of his working life in journalism of different kinds.

Chris Hoare at the booksigning at Adams Musgrave.

 

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