Book Review

2003-1/January 2003


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Happy New Year!

It is traditional at this time of year to review the past year, look at our accomplishments, and plan for the future. First, a look at what transpired in 2002.


This year, and this issue, mark the completion of the first full year of the publication of the newsletter. We began publication in June 2001, and issued seven monthly editions that year. This issue makes 12 for 2002. Circulation remains between 500 and 600, with recipients living all over the world.


The web site has grown by leaps and bounds this year, even changing our Home Page picture from the "Mature Author" photograph we started with to a very interesting charcoal sketch of Nevil done by long time friend Flora Twort. We also switched our web host to UltraFast Communications, with hosting donated to the Foundation by the generous staff of that organization. A number of articles have been added to the Book Review pages of the Bibliography Section; new analyses have been added to the Characters Section, and the Favorite Book Page of the Bibliography Section has grown to 80 opinionated voters. Foundation Historian Richard Michalak has added two outstanding new pages to the Biography Section - the Time Line and the Photo Album. Jim and Jerre Schermerhorn have completely redone the Aviation section in a similarly outstanding manner. A Nevil Shute Norway signature page has been added to the Etcetera Section - just in case anyone wants to compare and see if the autograph on his or her Cassel Marazan is genuine. This month, a "Where is Uncle Nevil" section has also been added to the Etcetera Section. We continue to receive high praise from our dedicated members as well as those new comers who stumble across the web site (See this month's Letters to the Editor Section below).


The Nevil Shute Norway Foundation Lending Library changed hands this year with Shutist Ed Yess taking over the reins (and the inventory). Ed has continued to provide the free lending service that is so popular, particularly with beginning Shutists (before they start their own collections).


The Foundation has also accomplished a great deal this year. We donated a complete set of hard bound Nevil Shute editions to a US Forces library in Hanau, Germany, and two complete sets, one hard bound and one of the new Stratus soft bound sets, to the Nevil Shute Memorial Library in Alice Springs, Australia. We have also funded a scholarship for a young pilot working on his/her commercial license in Melbourne, Australia.

One of the Foundation's crowning achievements of 2002 was the publication of "The Seafarers" the first Nevil Shute book to be newly published in 43 years! A number of dedicated Shutists teamed with publisher Paper Tiger to make this dream come true. Responses to the new book to date have been very positive.

It has been quite a year!

And to close it out:


Gerard and Rosemary Martin, Shutists from Portsmouth who will be joining us and assisting with UK2003, were the first to identify Uncle Nevil in the Balliol College class photo contest held last month. An autographed copy of "The Seafarers" is now winging its way to Gerard and Rosemary as their prize for the timely identification. Other Shutists wishing to try their hand and eye at picking Uncle Nevil from among his class mates (without the prize, of course) may check out the contest in the Etcetera Section of the web site.


has agreed to take on the responsibility for our envisioned Glossary Section, which was described in the December Newsletter. Chris, who resides in Rome, will be ably assisted by who lives in the UK, and a resident of Hong Kong! Chris will man the helm, and John and Julian will assist with esoteric terms as well as taking responsibility for developing individual glossaries for one or more books each. Additional help is needed in reviewing individual NSN books and winnowing out the more esoteric terms. To volunteer to assist, and to find out which books have not yet been spoken for, please contact Chris at the above e-address. The sooner we get a good start on this, the sooner we can launch the glossary on the web site.


No takers or new listings to date for the Book Swap. If this section of the newsletter does not generate a bit more interest, we will likely omit it in the future. I still have an extra Cassel first edition of So Disdained that I would like to trade for a Cassell first edition of either Lonely Road or Ruined City. Anyone interested?



The Colorado Chapter of the NSN Foundation is hosting the first meeting of the new year in Littleton, Colorado. This from

This message is to announce the next meeting of the Colorado Chapter of the Nevil Shute Society. The meeting will be held at Art and Joan Cornell's townhouse at 9131 W. Phillips Drive, Littleton, CO on Saturday, January 11, 2003 at 6:00 p.m.

The book we will talk about is An Old Captivity. Please be prepared for a test on the characters and substance of the novel. We will have a surprise showing.

Please call Joan about what you can bring or let us know if you cannot attend.

Directions on how to get here: We are just off Chatfield between Wadsworth and Kipling. On Chatfield turn north on Garrison. About one block on right is W. Phillips. Turn right on W. Phillips and then turn at the second left. We are in there but park out on W. Phillips.

Hope to see you on January 11. Have a wonderful holiday!


From HREM (Her Royal Event Manageress) Steph Gallagher:

Dear Friends:

Happy New Year! 2003 is upon us and before we know it June, and the UK 2003 NSN Gathering, will be here. Between now and then there is much to do. Booking details for the UK 2003 gathering have been posted on the NSN website and registrations have already started to arrive. The website also contains details of prices, the venue and an outline agenda. When you complete a copy of the registration form on-line, please press the "Send" button as this will instantly register you for the event.

I am currently working on a transport links page, which will tell you everything you need to know about getting to the venue by Plane, Train, Car, Taxi, Coach, Bicycle or Foot! I am also planning on adding a page full of details about the area and other places of interest you might like to visit whilst you are in the UK.

If you are a UK based NSN enthusiast and would like to get more involved in planning aspects, please do let me know. Willing volunteers are always welcome and there are several organisational tasks that need to be sorted for the event.

Kindest regards and all the best for 2003,



Donations to the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation, either through the PayPal button on the web site home page, or through are always appreciated. Also, anyone interested in leaving a bequest to the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation is encouraged to contact the Foundation Secretary at


Note: Letters to the Editor are published, complete with the name and e-address of the sender, unless the sender specifically asks that his or her name and/or e-address not be published. Also, we like to list letter writers' full names and locations, just to give our readers some idea of the areas of the world that the web site and newsletter cover. When writing, please include full name and country/state/region.

From in California:

The quotation below is from a letter from C. S. Forester, 1066 Park Hills Road, Berkeley 8, California (of whom you have probably heard) to his close friend, Frances Phillips, in New York. She, some of you may remember, was Nevil Shute's New York editor at William Morrow & Co., in which firm CSF had an interest. As a very young man, I seem to remember meeting NSN in her office, probably about 1950. CSF's letter is dated 13 January 1960.

Frances had suffered some family or associate deaths or similar troubles, and CSF commiserates with her. Then he wrote:

"And today there's the news about Nevil Shute, which must have been a shock to you as well, dear, and I'm very sorry. I feel an acute sense of loss myself - I'll miss those books coming out each year."

I found this when browsing about for some other information in this correspondence. The originals are at the Harry Ransome Humanities Research Center of the University of Texas at Austin.

John Forester MS, PE

From in Melbourne:

(Note: This was in response to Lloyd being given a second chance to guess Nevil's identity in the Balliol class photo. Unfortunately, both of his choices were wrong.)

Dear Dan

Your forgiving nature is much appreciated! I have this inner feeling that all we of the "Greater Clan" Shute are genuinely pretty good blokes ~ at least, we aspire to be. After-all, we've had a good "teacher" to guide in the decent values in life and I don't doubt that giving a second chance was one of his basic principals too.

I knew Nevil or, probably more accurately, remember him. He was an acquaintance of my Grandfather's and they shared many quiet hours together in the late 50's at my Pop's holiday house on the Mornington Peninsula. I know, because as a five or six year old, I was often there too ~ just the three of us. From time to time I've intended to write to the Shute List and recount my memories of that time, but I've never quite gotten around to it. Perhaps I could submit something to the Newsletter sometime; there is more to the tale but I'm not sure if this kind of reminiscence is what folk would like to hear. What do you think?

Thank you again for allowing the second guess; I wait on bated breath to see how I went when the contest closes. I'll have a while to wait, however, as my link to the Internet, and thus the List and Newsletter, is from work and I'm about to start a rather long six week Leave on December 11. No doubt I'll catch up late in January when I return.

May I also take the opportunity to thank and compliment you, and all the helpers, on the fine job you do on the Newsletter and all the work in the Foundation. He would be touched and proud to see the legacy of his work and philosophy on life.

Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a safe and peaceful New Year!

Regards, Lloyd

From in Hong Kong:

(In response to the "Atap" question. Some of these Shutists are really thorough!)

Dear Fellow Shutists:

Warmest Seasons' Greetings from wintry Hong Kong ! Well about as wintry as a tropical place gets.

Apropos the meaning of the word "Atap", it means "thatch" as in thatched roof. As I understand it and use the word, "Atap" is a type of thatch made from woven Nipa palm fronds, providing water proof roofing... similar to "Nipa" in the Philippines.

Here is a fascinating extract from the Hobson Johnson Anglo-Indian Dictionary:

"ATAP, ADAP, s. Applied in the Malayo-Javanese regions to any palmfronds used in thatching, commonly to those of the Nipa (Nipa fruticans, Thunb.). [Atap, according to Mr Skeat, is also applied to any roofing; thus tiles are called atap batu, 'stone ataps.'] The Nipa, "although a wild plant, for it is so abundant that its culture is not necessary, it is remarkable that its name should be the same in all the languages from Sumatra to the Philippines." (Crawfurd, Dict. Ind. Arch. 301). Atep is Javanese for 'thatch.'

[Actually it is not so "remarkable" that the same word is used throughout the islands and Malaysia because most of the Philippine Indonesian & Malay languages are closely related and to at least some extent mutually intelligible - JMS]

[The following are dated references to the use of "Atap" in English:]

1672. "Atap or leaves of Palm-trees..." Baldaeus, Ceylon, 164.

1690. "Adapol (quae folia sunt sicca et vetusta..." Rumphius, Herb. Amb. i. 14.

1817. "In the maritime districts, atap or thatch is made ...from the leaves of the nipa." Raffles, Java, i. 166; [2nd ed. i. 186].

1878 "The universal roofing of a Perak house is Attap stretched over bamboo rafters and ridge-poles. This attap is the dried leaf of the nipah palm, doubled over a small stick of bamboo, or nibong. "McNair, Perak, &c., 164."

Source: Sir Henry Yule C.B., K.C.S.I. and A. C. Burnell
Hobson Jobson: The Anglo-Indian Dictionary pages 39-40

Hope this is helpful to the proposed Glossar. I'd gladly volunteer to provide formal & accurate definitions of any words sent to me but I don't think I could spare the time to coordinate an effort.

With very best wishes,

Julian Stargardt

From in Boulder, Colorado:
Nevil Shute Norway Foundation:

Your web site has just come to my attention and I am delighted to learn of your organization. Shute is a very special author, filling a need met by no one else.

Your web site is very good indeed, well designed, easy to use, with detailed useful information, without annoying clutter or flash or cute features. I have made web sites and know how hard it is to make a really good one.

My personal interests are history, and design and construction of sailing vessels.

I would like to join the Foundation. Please let me know how.

Stuart Wier

That's it for this month folks. Please keep those e-cards and e-letters coming.

Regards from The Land Of Enchantment,


Nevil Shute Norway