Book Review

2003-3/March 2003


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The March newsletter is out a few days early so that Zia and I can clear the decks for our pending takeoff for OZ. We depart March 2 and arrive March 4, having lost a day en route. Coming back, we leave in the late morning of April 1, and arrive back a bit earlier the same day, having traversed the Pacific in several hours less than no time at all. Those of you who are accustomed to crossing the International Date Line on a regular basis may not find this as difficult to understand as I do. In any event, assuming that we are not caught up in any cosmic vortices as a result of the date mumbo jumbo, we will be back in time to get the April Newsletter out more or less on schedule.

The primary aims of our trip are to conduct interviews with surviving friends and associates of Uncle Nevil, and to accomplish related research. The purpose behind all this effort will be explained at UK2003, for those of you who attend. For the remainder, we will publish an explanation in the July Newsletter, immediately following UK2003.

While in Australia, we will visit the Nevil Shute Memorial Library in Alice Springs. There, we will present a Foundation check for $1,500 USD to go toward a memorial for Uncle Nevil in the Library's Nevil Shute Memorial Gardens. Those of you who have kept up along the way may remember that the Foundation has already donated two complete sets of Nevil Shute editions, plus a complete set of Nevil Shute audio books to the Library.

We will also be visiting the Royal Victorian Aero Club, the organization that is hosting the Nevil Shute Norway Excellence in Aviation Scholarship this year. We will present them with a Foundation check for $1,500 USD to cover the scholarship grant.


We have received several inquiries along the way concerning how to determine if a particular Nevil Shute copy is a first edition. As no one on the Foundation staff has credentials as a rare book expert, we hesitate to give advice. However, it seems that if we had a section on the web site that showed first edition dust jackets, both inside and out, hard cover scans, and other points for determining the authenticity of alleged first editions, it might be of use to collectors. Right off hand, I would say that we could come up with that sort of thing for one half or two-thirds of Nevil's books. To cover the field though, we would need help from readers. Also, it would be nice if someone would volunteer to take this on as a project. What do you think? Would it be a valuable addition to the web site? Are there any volunteers either to head up the project or to provide authoritative information on rare (Cassell and other) first editions? As an aside, we already have examples of Nevil's signature on the web site, with which to compare to signatures in alleged autographed editions.


It has been some time since we added any new book reviews to the Bibliography Section. Would anyone be interested in doing a review of Nevil's Flight Log that he kept during his Flight of Fancy from England to Australia, around the Outback, and back to England? A copy of the Flight Log may be obtained on loan from the NSN Foundation Library for this purpose.


When we first took over the web site from John Henry, we incorporated all the book reviews from his site. In reviewing the reviews, several errors were noted and corrected. One of these had to do with Pat Tidwell's review of In The Wet. In her review, Pat wrote that the old, drunken, drug-ridden ex-ringer's name was Georgie, rather than Stevie, and she also said that he was part Aboriginal, as was his next incarnation, Nigger Anderson. These same two errors were repeated in the Stratus edition thumbnail description of In The Wet. That brings up an interesting question. Did Pat and Stratus get their misinformation from the same source, or did Stratus perhaps copy their thumbnails from our book reviews?!? The e-address we have for Pat is no longer valid, and we are not sure what sort of answer we might get from Stratus. Anyone out there got any ideas where this misinformation originated? Has anyone run into these same errors elsewhere?


Choosebooks was recently brought to our attention by another book dealer who has apparently had some success in finding Nevil Shute books through their web site. When last checked (2/20/03), there were over 500 Nevil Shute titles listed. All of these appeared to be reading copies without much to interest collectors - pretty much the same thing to be found on ABE and similar book search sites. Their prices are also comparable. However, it may be that they have sources that ABE and others do not have. In any event, it never hurts to have another source for Nevil Shute books. Please check them out the next time you are searching for a Nevil Shute edition.


From HREM (Her Royal Event Manageress) Steph Gallagher:

Dear Friends:

Registration for the gathering is growing steadily. At the moment we have 35 confirmed registrations, hailing from Australia, France, India, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, UK and the USA. So, this will truly be an International meeting. I look forward to seeing this number grow further over the next couple of months. Just in case you have not decided yet, or are not sure of what to expect, I have updated the "AGENDA" page on the website. Go to: and click on the Agenda page. It now contains a full list of timings, speakers, presentation titles and other activities on offer. All there to whet your appetite.

Last month I mentioned filling our NSN Exhibition Hall. If you have any NSN related materials you would be prepared to lend for display (even if you will not be personally attending the gathering), please do let me know. Within the exhibition hall, I would also like to have a bookswap/booksale. However, this is really dependent on finding a willing volunteer to coordinate it. If this interests you, please do contact me and I will let you know what is involved. Lastly, the gathering has been publicised in UK media. If you are interested in helping to promote the event in your own neck of the woods, please let me know.

If you have any questions about the gathering, please also feel free to contact me directly at

Kindest regards,



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 Fort Lauderdale:

(Larry is the prototypical Nevil Shute fan - pilot, engineer/architect, designer and sailor)

Greetings Dan:

Thanks for the marvelous newsletters and all the effort you and others put into the web site.

I've been a life long avid reader, and since 1943, when I was a 19 year old Army Air Corps pilot, an avid Shute fan for all the reasons cited by others. Also, my father and an uncle were WW1 pilots, and two other uncles were career navy pilots. One was Captain Miles Browning, Admiral Halsey's chief of staff (once described by historian S. E. Morrison as having a slide-rule mind), who was on loan to Adm. Spruance during the battle of Midway. Thus, my interest in aviation.

In Florida, when 10, I started sailing and still sail when possible. My best friends are sailors from our offshore racing/crusing days, and all of them have been delighted with the many Nevil Shute books I loaned them.

About 1958 as a young architect, I teamed up with another architect, a structural engineer and a naval architect to build the first ferrocement sailboat to follow the original from a description by it's designer, the famous structural engineer Piere Lugi Nervi. Our 24 foot yawl FEATHERSTONE was a success, but won no races. It did win an award from the Hot Dip Galvanizers Assn, a cover story on Mechanics Illustrated, and set off a world wide fad that quickly died as fiberglass sailboats took over.

Yes, Trustee From The Toolroom should be my favorite, but I think A Town Like Alice is Nevil's best and maybe the best book I have ever read.

Keep up the great work, Larry Browning

From in the UK:
Greetings fellow Shutists:

I was happy as Larry on Saturday, when I visited a regular haunt which so far has supplied me with all but one of my Nevil Shute books, and found two more to add to my collection - I must be pretty close now to the full set!!

I bought Trustee in the Toolroom and Pastoral for the mighty sum of 80 pence each!! If anyone would like me to look for paperbacks for them, I go to this bookshop about once a month, then let me know. It is the Penn Bookshop in Penn, Buckinghamshire, near Beaconsfield and High Wycombe. The only ones which I have left to get are The Seafarers and Vinland the Good!

That's all for now.

Gail Field

From in California:

I have just been introduced to your website and now know what I will be doing with my spare time - and maybe not so spare. Thank you so much for the efforts you expend in making greater knowledge available of this writer who has brought pleasure to many more. I am just sorry I was not aware when you had the meeting in NM in '99 - I would have been there. I note that at present there's no group on the west coast (I have made contact with the Colorado group) and am interested to learn if there is any potential in forming a west coast group. I would be happy to be very much involved in forming one. We are located about midway between southern CA and Seattle in a gated community with a good 3000' x 75' runway and 7 house/hangers and more abuilding - a great meeting place. I'm sure our Lake California Airport Committee or Aero Club would be happy to host a formation meeting and I bet we could house attendees.


Dr. Bob King
(530)347-9666, 515-0741 cell.

From in Sydney:
I have just heard that G-EMLF which was Brenda's (The Rainbow and the Rose) Tiger Moth registration letters are available. She called it Morgan Le Fay after the (G-E) MLF. Maybe some English Shute fan and aviator would like to use the letters? On the other hand as Brenda suicided in the plane maybe they wouldn't it.

All the best,
Richard Michalak

Note: The GEMLF registration letters were also used on a biplane in Richard Bach's Out of My Mind. For anyone interested, the letters should also be legal in the US, if preceded by an N. Thus N-GEMLF should be an acceptable US registration.

From in Holland:

Dear Sir:

I would like to subscribe to the newsletter. It is nice to know Mr.Shute is still well known in other parts of the world. Not many people in Holland know him, I believe. It is very special reading though.

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