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rendellers

Buchan

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Dolphin
The public even then would be unaware of the Dragon engine scandal.

The [hoped for] 320 hp ABC Dragonfly?

Gareth

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centurion

Yes I was thinking of the Sopwith Dragon which was effectively a Snipe with a Dragonfly radial engine, perhaps I should have said the A.B.C engine scandal as the Mosquito and the Gnat were also engines from the same stable upon which large sums and effort were spent and which proved effectively useless, all containing similar design faults. Not sure what you mean by hoped for as quite a number were built and used in the prototype Dragon, the AW Ara and Siskin, Bristol Badger, Bat Balisk, Sopwith Snark etc etc. (to name but a few)

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rendellers

Just back from Waterstones where I got 'The Complete Richard Hannay' all six books in paperback anthology for £14.99. ISBN 978-0-14-017059-7

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centurion
Just back from Waterstones where I got 'The Complete Richard Hannay' all six books in paperback anthology for £14.99. ISBN 978-0-14-017059-7

39 Steps

Greenmantle

Mr Standfast

3 Hostages

Island of Sheep

That's five - what's the sixth?

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rendellers

Sorry my mistake-no new undiscovered manuscript!

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jeremym

As well as writing the twenty-four volume History of the War, Buchan played an active part, serving on HQ staff until 1917, when he was apponted Prime Minister Lloyd George's Director of Information. He knew Haig well, as just after the turn of the century he had been Private Secretary to Lord Milner, High Commissioner to South Africa, when Haig was on active service there. Haig and Buchan shared a common bond, in that they had both been undergraduates at Brasenose College, Oxford, though at different times. Haig entered Brasenose in 1880, though he was already determined to go on to Sandhurst and a professional Army career. He spent a lot of hiis time riding and playing polo, though he did pass the examinations for a Pass (ie not Honours) degree. He was never actually awarded a degree as he did not meet the residence qualification. Buchan arrived at Brasenose some eleven years later, after first going to Glasgow University. He overcame a background of some poverty - a major disadvantage at Oxford in those days - to forge a brilliant student career. As well as getting a First Class Honours degree in Greats (Classics), he was President of the Union and won the Bridgeman, Stanhope and Newdigate literary prizes. He wrote a history of Brasenose while he was still an undergraduate and maintained a lifelong affection for the College. It is said to have been a matter of great sorrow to him that the College never appointed him as an Honorary Fellow.

jeremym

(Jeremy Mitchell)

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Moonraker

Here is an article in today's Daily Telegraph about the anachronisms in the recent TV version of "The Thirty-Nine Steps".

Moonraker

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MichaelBully

Treated myself to Wordsworth Classics edition of 'The Complete Richard Hannnay Stories' for £2.50 as I wanted to read 'Greenmantle'.

Waterstones are selling the same edition on their website for £1.99

http://www.waterston...tories/7775767/

Didn't take to 'Greenmantle' but enjoying reading 'Mr. Standfast' at present.

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MichaelBully

A further GWF discussion has touched on 'Mr. Standfast'

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=167022&st=0&p=1625271&fromsearch=1entry1625271

I am very impressed by the novel so far. It has made me consider the social and political unrest in Glasgow, the restrictions in travel in the Highlands and Islands, the air raids on London, and the espionage going on in neutral Switzerland, all Great War topics I want to read up on.

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MichaelBully

I have finally finished 'Mr. Standfast' and was genuinely sorry that I came to the end. Another particularly interesting theme of the book is how the character 'Wake' , a non-combatant, is portrayed so sympathetically, even commiting acts of heroism and being in the midst of the fighting during the 'Operation Michael ' German break though on the Western Front in the Spring of 1918.

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seaJane

I like them both for different reasons, Michael, but Mr Standfast is the one that can reduce me to tears at the end... - and I agree about Wake. Even the Kaiser gets a fairly sympathetic treatment in his brief appearance in Greenmantle.

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MichaelBully

Hello Jane, I appreciated 'Mr. Standfast' because it made me think of so many aspects of the Great War I hadn't considered before as well as being a romping good story.. 'Greenmantle' didn't have such an impact on me, even though I am not particular knowledgeable about the specific campaign featured in the novel. Also I thought that 'Mr. Standfast' was going to be predictable, with its initial theme of German spies working with the UK based political movements opposed to Conscription or even to the War itself, but this is far from the case was we have seen with Wake being a non-combatant war hero.

I can see why John Buchan's featuring of racial stereotypes can make some modern readers uneasy, yet I will probably be reading some of his work in the near future. Do you have a personal favourite novel of his' with a Great War theme?

Regards , Michael

I like them both for different reasons, Michael, but Mr Standfast is the one that can reduce me to tears at the end... - and I agree about Wake. Even the Kaiser gets a fairly sympathetic treatment in his brief appearance in Greenmantle.

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seaJane

Hi Michael,

No I don't have any favourites as it happens, & indeed I'm struggling to think of another of his novels with a Great War theme - A Prince of the Captivity begins there, but wasn't published till 1933 and is rather oddly plotted - it's probably the late work of his that I've read least. The Three Hostages has some things to say about shifts in society after the war, and several of the stories in The Runagates Club have Great War references. (Don't be deceived if you come across a story of his, No Man's Land; it was published in 1899).

I noticed too late (it's full) that Gladstone's Library (formerly St Deiniol's) is running a weekend course on JB on Remembrance weekend http://www.st-deiniols.com/courses/, and while JB's work isn't due to be discussed specifically, one of the papers is Gone but not Forgotten (O. Douglas and the Great War) - just in case you don't know, O. Douglas was the pen-name of JB's sister Anna, and the paper discusses the way "the Great War overshadows [her] early novels in particular".

I've just been looking at the John Buchan Society's website http://www.johnbuchansociety.co.uk/ which seems to have nothing specific on the Great War; but something may have been published in their print Journal. I'm sure they would be happy to send details if you're interested.

sJ

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MichaelBully

Hello Jane

Thanks for the information. I had never heard of the Gladstone Library before.

Other John Buchan work has been discussed on this thread here, which I started after reading 'Mr. Standfast'.

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=167022&st=0&p=1625271&fromsearch=1entry1625271

With best wishes

Michal Bully

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George Armstrong Custer

Buchan also wrote the Foreword to John Charteris' 1929 biography, 'Field Marshal Earl Haig.' Buchan had known Haig during the war and had had the opportunity to observe him at close quarters at GHQ. In his diary Haig records their first meeting on 27 September 1916:

"Mr Buchan and Gen. Charteris came to dinner. B[uchan] was Lord Milner's Secretary in South Africa and writes well. He is to help in writing the "communiques" and reports on the operations. He was at B[rasenose] C[ollege] Oxford, and is a Scot, and so seems friendly disposed to me."

And on 24 April 1917, Haig recorded:

"Lieut.-Colonel Buchan (now in charge of Information Office under Prime Minister) came to dinner. He is anxious that Milner, Lloyd George and I should work in the closest touch possible. I told him I am trying to work in harmony with Lloyd George, but he has such strange ideas on warfare!"

In his Foreward to Charteris' book, written in the year after Haig's death, Buchan wrote, inter alia, that:

"Lord Haig was so rich in character and talents that many books will be written about him, for in the words of the German philosopher, 'the compulsion which a great man lays upon the world is to try to understand him.' Future historians will discuss every detail of his campaigns, and every aspect of his genius. But in the meantime the world has cause to be grateful, I think, to General Charteris for providing these memoires pour sevir - a personal narrative of how Lord Haig appeared to a colleague and a friend."

George

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MichaelBully

Thanks George, interesting to see how high up in the ranks that John Buchan reached. Also see post #32 in this thread. regards, Michael Bully

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George Armstrong Custer

I hadn't noticed Jeremy's post, I'm afraid, and see that he had already highlighted some of the points about Buchan and Haig which I covered in mine!

Buchan, in fact, only narrowly missed out on being Haig's official biographer. Duff Cooper, who eventually was appointed to the task, certainly did justice to his subject and produced a beautifully written two-volume biography which has stood the test of time incredibly well. One does wonder, though, what gem Buchan - the biographer of Montrose amongst others, and who actually knew Haig during the war - might not have produced. Unfortunately, the period during which Haig's trustees were seeking to commission a biographer coincided with some of the worst phases of grief-induced hysteria and paranoia on the part of Haig's widow. Duff Cooper takes up the story of how the project came to bypass Buchan:

"On Thursday morning, March 23rd [1933], I was told that General Fisher, Director of Recruiting, wished to speak to me. I imagined it was some small matter of routine. He seemed nervous and began by telling me he was one of Lord Haig's executors. I thought it had to do with the long dispute that had been going on about his equestrian statue. He then told me that he wanted me to write Haig's life. I was astonished and immediately thought of all my disqualifications - not being a soldier, not being interested really in military matters, having read very little on such subjects and comparatively little about the war - and, above all, not having known the man. I mentioned them. He said that he and his co-executor had thought of them all. They had offered the job first to John Buchan, who had accepted but Lady Haig had taken strong exception and had written him an insulting letter. [......] Then, having over-persuaded Lady Haig, they had gone back to Buchan but he refused to reconsider it."

As things turned out even Duff Cooper's elegantly written biography, which established Haig's achievement in a measured and unarguable way, fell foul of Lady Haig's somewhat unhinged belief that no-one but herself could do proper justice to her husband's memory. John Buchan, however, was generous in his praise of Duff Cooper's completion in late 1935 of a project which had originally been offered to him. As Duff Cooper recalled:

"John Buchan, who, as has been shown, might [...] have written the book himself, and who was now Lord Tweedsmuir and Governor General of Canada, wrote from Ottawa:

"My warmest thanks for the second volume of Haig. I have just finished it. I must send you at once my very warmest congratulations. Good as the first volume was, this is far better, for the story has become more dramatic, and you managed the drama perfectly. I like especially your "falling close." You have handled the controversial parts brilliantly and with the most perfect good manners. Your answer to Lloyd George is shattering - more shattering because of its quietness, for you never raise your voice. As for your estimate of Haig's achievement and of his character, I do not think that could be praised too highly. I agree with every word; and it is done with a sober dignity which Haig would have loved. I really think you have achieved one of the two or three first-class military biographies in our history, and I cannot tell you how rejoiced I am to feel that a man who was not easy to understand has been perfectly comprehended and made wholly intelligible to the world. I finished the book not only with admiration, but with a strong feeling of personal gratitude to you."

George

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seaJane

George,

That's very interesting: thank you for posting it.

On a minor note after yours, it's fairly clear from the story 'A Lucid Interval' in The Moon Endureth that Buchan did not much care for Lloyd George: the character of Abinger Vennard is generally regarded as having been inspired by him.

sJ

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WilliamRev

Another book that the prolific Buchan wrote is The History of The Royal Scots Fusiliers 1678-1918, written as a tribute to his brother (Lt. Alistair Buchan, 6th/7th Royal Scots Fusiliers, 15th Div., killed at Arras in April 1917), and published in 1925.

William

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MichaelBully

Radio Four Extra are starting to broadcast 'Mr. Standfast' tomorrow 4th November 2011, 10 am GMT with a repeat at 15.00

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MichaelBully

Don't know if anyone else caught 'Mr'. Standfast' on Radio Four Extra. Seemed to be very abridged which was a pity.

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seaJane

Didn't unfortunately - but if it was abridged (why?? *grr*) I'm almost glad I didn't.

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MichaelBully

Hello Sea Jane, 'Mr. Standfast' was reduced to two one hour programmes, then one has to deduct some time for introduction etc. I noticed that 'Greenmantle' had been reduced on Radio 4 extra. But 'Mr. Standfast' being cut down meant that some very significant parts of the story seemed to be missing, which was a shame. The story came over as quite disjointed. I am not sure that someone listening, who had not read the book before hand, would have followed it.

Didn't unfortunately - but if it was abridged (why?? *grr*) I'm almost glad I didn't.

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