Book Review

2002-1/January 1, 2002

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The NSN Foundation does not send e-mail with attachments. Any e-mail purported to be from The Nevil Shute Norway Foundation or from that contains an attachment, should be immediately discarded without opening the attachment. To avoid sending attachments, newsletters are sent as e-mail text. Because of the limitations of some servers, the newsletter may be truncated. Should that occur, the entire text of all newsletters may be found on the NSN Foundation web site.

A note on membership: We have had several inquiries regarding how one goes about becoming a member of the Foundation. To date, our approach has been that anyone on the newsletter mailing list, and anyone else who may not be on the list but who has written by snail mail, attended gatherings, or otherwise indicated his or her interest in Nevil Shute and his work, is automatically a member. Since there are no special costs or priviledges of membership, we will probably keep it that way for the time being. If anyone thinks a more formal approach to membership is warranted, please let us hear from you.


Happy New Year!

To sum up our activities for 2001 in a few paragraphs would be difficult.

It has been a banner year for the Foundation, beginning with the very successful OZ2001 celebration held in March this year in Frankston, Victoria. About 70 Shutists and guests attended the celebration, and a grand time was had by all. A complete report on OZ2001 is available on the web site at under the Gatherings page.

Shortly after OZ2001, Jack Calaway came forward and volunteered to take over as Webmeister of the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation web site. John Henry graciously agreed to transfer all files from the previous site, which he had run for almost three years. Jack began adding his own innovations, and the new web site was born. Over the past seven months, it has grown into a very professional, interactive site that receives an average of over 1,000 visits per day.

John Henry also turned over the dormant Nevil Shute Newsletter to the Foundation, and provided his mailing list of previous subscribers. We melded that list with our Centennial and OZ2001 mailing lists, and began publication in July. Our subscription list now exceeds 600 members, and grows each month. We are also receiving an average 30 to 40 letters to the editor per month. Between the web site and the newsletter, more and more Shute related information is being gathered, shared, and archived.

The Library has continued to grow both in quantity and quality of holdings and in number of borrowers. During 2001, our patrons went over the 100 mark, reprtesenting over a dozen countries. We now have multiple copies of all of Nevil's books, most in both hardbound and paperback, all of the films based on his books, 22 of his 25 books in recorded book format (all that have been recorded to date), copies of all his unpublished manuscripts, and an assortment of related books, audio and video tapes. The only item in the library inventory that is not available for loan is the video of the film Lonely Road. That is available for private showings. As always, there is never any charge other than postage for borrowing anything from the library.

In addition to servicing our Nevil Shute community at large, the Foundation opened a branch in Australia which may be found on the Library page of the web site, and donated a complete set of Nevil Shute books on audio tape to the Nevil Shute Memorial Library in Alice Springs.

The only area in which we have failed to progress as promised is in pursuing federal tax exempt status for the Foundation. I will take full responsibility for that, since it was up to me to get it done. Hopefully, I will be able to get that process underway in the coming months. Any CPAs and/or Attorneys out there who would like to help?


A Thumbnail section has been added to the Bibliography page of the web site. There have been repeated requests for a list of titles with one paragraph descriptions to help those of us with failing memories recall what we have and have not read. A short time ago, Mike Weum submitted a thumbnail list that, with a very few minor corrections, was incorporated into our Bibliography section. Mike tells me he believes that the list was originally on John Henry's site and was developed by a lady Shutist whose identity is lost to history. In any event, if the lady in question is reading this, please accept my apologies for not giving credit where credit is due.

Also on the web site, we have updated information on the Resource, Bibliography, and Library pages. Please check out the What's New section for the latest progress.


Andy Burgess, has submitted another review of a nevil Shute related book - this time of Airspeed. Zia is still working on Flight of Fancy but won't tell me when to expect the finished product.


One new character analyses this month - Jack Dorman from The Far Country, also submitted by Andy Burgess. (Isn't he making some of you feel just a little guilty?) I am staking claim to Keith Stewart, The Trustee from the Toolroom, but haven't made any progress so far (OK, now I feel guilty).


Favorite (favourite) book votes come dribbling in - mostly from the UK. So far, A Town Like Alice, Round the Bend, and Trustee have firm hold of the top three slots. Check out the latest results at Favorite Books Score Card at What's New or under the Bibliography page on the web site.


There have been no new Nevil Shute book releases of which we are aware during the past month. However, I was overjoyed to find that Chivers has released an unabridged recording of Marazan. I just received my copy in time to listen to the opening chapters on my annual New Year's Day run. That brings to 22 of 25 the number of Nevil Shute books that have been recorded. All 22 are available on loan through the library (or will be, as soon as I finish listening to Marazan).


This from HREM (Her Royal Event Manageress) Steph Gallagher

UK 2003 Planning Update

Dear Friends:

As you may have read, I have taken on the task of organising the NSN Gathering "UK 2003".

Two of the first decisions we need to make are "when" and "where". My first thought is that the gathering should be held in a place of significance to NSN himself, with a timing that is most convenient to as many perspective attendees as possible. However before any decisions are made, your input is sought. To this end, a survey has been designed to capture your thoughts. It can be located on the Internet site under " Gatherings".

Please feel free to answer as many, or few, questions as you feel appropriate. All responses received by the end of February 2002 will be used to help us make a decision on time and location.

For those of you who answered the survey during the summer of 2001, your responses have been collated and will contribute towards helping us make a decisions on all aspects of the gathering. However, please note, there are two extra questions on the internet site which you might like to answer as well.

By March 2002, I hope to be in a position to make a proposal on time & location.

Over the next few months I will be asking for volunteers to help with the planning for UK 2003, but more about that in the next update.

All the best for 2002.
Kind Regards, Steph Gallagher


In the past, we have tried to include the majority of the letters sent to the newsletter in this section. However, success has caught up with us. The current volume of correspondence, although very welcome, precludes publishing more than a fraction of the letters received. Our policy will be to include those letters of the most general interest, and those in which the writer has asked for opinions or information from the membership at large.

This from in Cape Cod

My wife, Joan, and I moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts two years ago. It is unique with respect to Nevil Shute because he wrote two books, An Old Captivity and Vinland the Good, where the setting, in part, was Cape Cod. We did not realize until recently that the setting was only about two miles from our house.

In September we went on a vacation to Newfoundland and visited an authentic Viking site. While there we picked up a Viking saga book that told about the Scottish runners, Haki and Hekja-a couple Nevil Shute had read about in the sagas and then wrote about in his stories.

I became intrigued with how Shute had described this area of Cape Cod and became convinced he had visited here. Julian Smith's book on Nevil Shute says that Shute visited the United States to tout his book Ordeal published in 1939. Smith said that Shute wanted to visit Cape Cod but gave no evidence that he did.

I skimmed the local newspapers in May, June and July 1939 but found nothing about a visit by Shute. However, at one library I found a letter written in 1983 from a man by the name of D. J. Clarke asking the same question. He was building a house near the site described by Shute and he was wondering if the library had any information on Shute's visit. My wife and I met Mr. Clarke; he built the house and has been living in it for 15 years. He found nothing more about Shute.

Several weeks after that, Joan and I went to a talk by Neil Good entitled, "Did the Vikings visit Cape Cod?" Neil has been researching the question for the last 20 years and is convinced the Vikings were here. He believes the likely spot is about 10 miles from Shute's site. I asked him if he knew about Nevil Shute's books on the subject and he said yes, particularly Vinland the Good where Shute gives filming suggestions for the region. It's interesting, he said, that you mention Shute because I was just at the library a few days ago and the librarian showed me a letter from a man who was building a house near the site that Shute wrote about in his books. What a coincidence, she said. Someone else came in just a week ago interested in the same letter.

I started a Nevil Shute Society in New Jersey in 1992 where we would meet four times a year and discuss his books. We have since moved and now spend six months of the year on Cape Cod and six months in Colorado. After the Nevil Shute Convention in Australia, I started a Chapter in Colorado with the six people from Colorado that attended the convention. However, on Cape Cod I am having a difficult time finding Shutists. I put up flyers at libraries and used bookstores and wear a Nevil Shute pin when I go to a library. I found one eager person plus Neil Good and David Clarke and just before leaving Cape Cod for Colorado, I invited them for lunch. One hour after making the arrangements, I received a call from a man who had seen my flyer at a bookstore. He and a friend came to lunch also. Looks like we have the beginnings of a Cape Cod Chapter.

Now my questions are: Are there any other Shutists on or near Cape Cod and does anyone know more about Shute's visit in 1939? Also, is there anyone else in the world starting a Nevil Shute Society Chapter?

From the in the UK
As a Shutist since the age of nine, I must say great site. I live in Portsmouth UK and would like to know where NS lived in the Airspeed days.


Gerard and Rosemary

From in Canada

How nice to stumble across your site. I am particularly appreciative of the well-researched resource page. Just a question: other than the Stratus paperbacks, are there no other available "collected works" of Nevil Shute available. I recall running across various Australian editions on ebay and elsewhere from time to time. Is nothing like that available in the states or (in my case) Canada? Or for that matter Australia?

Thank you for your attention.
Gary Levine

From in Argentina

I liked Shute's "A town like Alice" a lot. It is my favorite book but I was wondering if the town that they were building throughout the book really exists. Thanks a lot.

Agustin from Buenos Aires, Argentina

From in Australia
G'day Dan
We saw the request for information about Shute harbour in Queensland in the Newsletter, so we got in touch with the Airlie Beach Rotary Club and
asked them, and this is their reply

From: "Rotary Club of Airlie Beach"

No, unfortunately Nevile Shute's authorship had nothing to do with the naming of Shute Harbour. It was in fact named after a listing on one of the original survey charts conducted by the vessel Alert who surveyed the area in 1881. We don't know why the name Shute came to be used but all we know is that the captain's name was Roper.


Tim Lamberton
Rotary Club of Airlie Beach

Best wishes
Eunice and Ron

P.S. We have been out to see Penny and Chris Morton on their boat "An Old Captivity" here in Queensland

That is it for now folks. Keep those cards and letters coming.

Regards from TLOE&E (The Land of Enchantment and Extraterrestrials),

Nevil Shute Norway