Book Review

2002-7/July 1, 2002


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The subject this month is:


A few weeks ago, I was bemoaning the state of Foundation finances versus projects with Webmeister Jack Calaway. It seems that there is always more to do and less to do it with.

When we first incorporated the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation, I had visions of grandeur including awarding scholarships to worthy young Shutists pursuing aviation careers, financing a really good Nevil Shute biography, etc. However, I have never liked fund raising and to date, our income has been limited to small profits from the Centennial, OZ2001, and the Foundation Lending Library. Now, the Centennial and OZ2001 are far behind us, UK2003 responsibility has been transferred to the capable hands of Steph Gallagher, and the Library has been transferred to Ed Yess, thus putting an end to those sources of operating funds. We have also received unsolicited donations from time to time from a few dedicated Shutists who have generously supported our efforts. As time marches on, and operating expenses and projects continue, our funding well is growing dry.

Jack pointed out that I had pretty much been making all the operating and project expenditure decisions myself, without ever keeping the membership apprised of what was going on, much less asking for assistance. Good point! I do not even know that the majority of our members are in favor some of the projects we have taken on.

With an eye toward rectifying the current situation, what follows is a brief summary of our accomplishments and expenditures to date, and a list of potential projects for the future. Before we get around to asking for help, we really need to know what the members are interested in supporting.

Our recurring operating expenses include the annual cost of web site hosting through Dellhost ($233) and our annual web site address registration with Network Solutions $35. Added to this is a modest annual requirement for non-reimbursed postage - around $100 -$150 per year.

I think it goes without saying that no one associated with the Foundation is paid for their work. To date, no one has ever been reimbursed for travel, long distance telephone calls, or other personal expenses associated with Foundation activities.

Our project expenses include startup funds for gatherings (which so far have been recouped with a profit); the purchase of books, audio books and video tapes for the Foundation Library (around $2,500 to date); transfer of assets to the new Librarian (around $150 total postage); expenses related to the production and enhancement of an audio recording of Vinland the Good, produced by Penny Morton and soon to be available in the Foundation Library (Around $200); Commission of the cover art for The Seafarers ($500). The original of this art is the property of the NSN Foundation. However, Paper Tiger was granted gratis permission to use it on the cover of The Seafarers. (This is likely one of the unilateral decisions to which Jack correctly referred.) We have also donated a complete set of Nevil Shute audio books to the Nevil Shute Memorial Library in Alice Springs (around $1,500), financed the acquisition and duplication of two previously unavailable Nevil Shute films: Lonely Road and Landfall (around $500), and numerous smaller projects.

Taken together, we have brought in around $7,000 over the past three years including profits from the Centennial, OZ2001, and the Library, plus donations, and we have spent somewhat more than $6,000, leaving a current balance of slightly more than $800. An exact accounting is available, if anyone is interested. Remaining funds are enough to cover minimum operating expenses for the next year or two, but it does not leave any room for additional projects.

Potential projects for the next year include additional funding for the Nevil Shute Memorial Library in Alice Springs for a fresh supply of Nevil Shute printed editions to replenish their inadequate supply, and funds to help with a Nevil Shute memorial there. Currently, there is not even a sign announcing that it is the Nevil Shute Memorial Library.

Additionally, we would like to have Penny Morton record The Seafarers, and potentially Stephen Morris and Pilotage as well. Penny recorded Vinland the Good gratis, and hopefully she will agree to continue to support this project as a labor of love. However we really need to pay to have it done in a professional recording studio. If this project goes forward, there will be recorded books available through the Foundation Library of every Nevil Shute book ever published!

A third potential requirement is to provide video tapes of all films and television dramatizations based on Nevil Shute books to the Foundation Branch Library in Australia. The branch there was started with donated books and volunteer labor, and to date, has not been assisted in any way by the Foundation. Now, they need our help. The acquisition and transfer to PAL format of the video tapes required would cost somewhere around $400-$500, if we decide to do it.

I also have dreams of one day having Nevil Shute Norway Foundation scholarships funded, but that is for the future. Toward that end, Zia and I are leaving small legacies to the Foundation in our wills. Anyone inclined to do the same thing would be very welcome to contact us to discuss possible arrangements.

There you have it. We can continue for the foreseeable future, but only insofar as maintaining the web site and newsletter. Any additional projects will require funding of some sort from the membership.

Please let us hear form you. We would welcome your comments and ideas.


Those of you who read every word of the newsletters will remember that last month, I asked for assistance in putting together an award justification. My thanks to all who have responded - most especially to Andy Burgess, David Dawson Taylor, Ken England, and Bryan Holmes. Now all I have to do is get off my duff and put it all together.


Last month, we asked readers to identify the exact location of Swamp Lake, the site of the photo of Nevil Shute on horseback during his Oregon trip, and offered a copy of The Seafarers as an inducement. It took less than 24 hours for Oregon Shutist Cleve Parker to identify the site and claim the prize. An excerpt from Cleve's letter:

--Swamp Lake is a high altitude lake (7840 feet above sea level) in Oregon's Wallowa Mountains. It is part of the Eagle Cap Wilderness area and the map coordinates are 45.21694 Latitude and -117.42028 Longitude. It is located in Wallowa County.--
Those interested in checking Cleve's claim may do so at:


Jack Calaway, our Webmeister, has been away on sabbatical for most of the month. Nevertheless, there have been several additions and changes to the web site, most notable of which is a new portrait of Nevil Shute for the home page. It is a previously unknown charcoal sketch of Nevil as a young man, drawn by family friend Flora Twort in 1937, brought to our attention by David Dawson Taylor, and used with the permission of the Hampshire County Council Museums. There is also a new book review by Andy Burgess, and an updated Favorite Books score card.


HREM Steph Gallagher has also been on sabbatical for the month so that there is no new information on UK2003. Stay tuned for next months edition.


From in the UK:

Having just watched the Channel 4 documentary on the Comet crashes due to metal fatigue in 1952/3 I was amazed by the similarities to the technical details underpinning the plot of No Highway.

The book however was published in 1948 at least four years before the crashes started to raise suspicions.

Does anyone have any information about this connection?? It must have been the subject of much analysis over the years.

Many thanks in advance

Charlie Zeitlin

From on the NSL:
Nursing a bad back, in a real grumpy mood, and along comes a package from Fred Weiss. I settled down to Seafarers and the pain soon went away as I lived again a story of two nice people getting together and doing good works. Such a typical theme of Nevil's.

God bless all who went into the production of this new book. Think how many people all over the world you've made happy once again. Must be a good feeling.

CT Bud

From on the NSL:
Good morning, all,

I just finished the Seafarers for the second time last evening and for those of you who haven't got it, you should. It's a much happier story line than Requium for a Wren, but very much classic Shute.

Thank you, Fred, for making it available.

Best regards,

Curt Lofgren

From in Sweden:

Are you aware of the edited EASY READER version of PASTORAL, for students of English as a foreign language?

And of the fact that a revised version of that EASY READER was planned in 1992? This new version was completed, by the undersigned, with several new pictures drawn by a Polish student of architecture, but the book was withdrawn before publication by the publishers, Aschehoug Dansk Forlag A/S, on the grounds that it would not sell well enough.

I have the preparatory work for the book, including the new drawings (mainly in photocopy), some of these based on material from the Imperial War Museum, Milton Keynes Library, and the RAF Museum Workshops at Cardington, which I visited for one or two details of the Wellington bomber.

I am an Englishman living in Sweden. I teach and write and translate. You can find bits about me on Google.

Just thought that someone there might be interested.

Best wishes from the Scandinavian springtime.

Robert George Dewsnap

From in the UK:

I am delighted to have found your website recently, and would be grateful to receive the monthly newsletter. I decided to re-read In The Wet while on holiday - coincidentally in Jubilee week.

I found some of the themes of the book to be eerily prescient, especially the debate about the monarchy's role in the UK. In the same week, a group of MPs visited some royal apartments in the light of 'public concern' over the cost of the royal family. In 'In The Wet', the Queen is reported as having given up Sandringham and Balmoral following exactly the same kind of pressure.

Good luck with the site, and I look forward to receiving the newsletter.



From in the Netherlands:
Dear NS admirer,

Not so long ago I got a copy of "The Airman who Would Not Die" by John G Fuller, published 1972?.... In my opinion it should be mentioned too and at least referenced. In Holland, only one copy in the Aircraft building University Delft is available, so I made a complete scan in PDF format, perhaps you are interested? with sharp photographs.

Also Dutch (dust)covers are available/scanned, perhaps it is a good idea to develop an international site out of yours, with french, german, spanish, d utch etc. branches.

If you need help we (more fans!) can assist. My most favourite book is Round the Bend followed by The Trustee in the Toolroom. My original profession is metallurgy, and at present parttime PC helpdesk fellow, but I work as freelance translator of technical english into Dutch too.

Almost all Nevil's work was published by the same Dutch press: South Holland Publishers, now controlled by Elsevier, and several books also do contain lots of pictures from the old movies, also scanned very fine in jpg and/or PDF.

Perhaps more contact should be a good idea, a Dutch translation of 'The Seafarers' could be a good start, are there already ideas in this field or contacts with publishers here?


Gerald J. Snoek

From in the UK:
Dear Sirs,
I should like to draw your attention to the superb (but unsettling) "Secret History" documentary on Channel 4 last Thursday - "Comet Cover Up". Very obviously Neville Shute Norway, as revealed in "No Highway", was fully conversant with the facts relating to the inadequate design of the Comet and the lamentable lack of testing, some time before the aircraft went into service. It seems even more tragic, therefore, that this catastrophe should have happened in spite of his prophetic book. This all seems to cry out for a programme featuring a reapraisal of Neville Shute's aviation connections. I propose to suggest as much to Channel 4. The revellations of this programme are too far-reaching to end with a single documentary.

Just to explain that I am a retired British Airways Captain and a life-long admirer of Nevil Shute, both as an author and for his involvement in the aircraft industry. Regards,

Paul Wolstenholme

That's it for this month. Please do let me hear from you - particularly regarding the question of projects vs. funding. I hate fund raising and am quite willing to sail along without much in the way of member contributions. Still, there are some good things to be done in the memory of Uncle Nevil. All ideas are welcome.

Regards from TLOE,


Nevil Shute Norway