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Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan (Paperback)
  • Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan (Paperback)
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Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan (Paperback)

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£10.99
Paperback 496 Pages / Published: 05/03/2020
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John Buchan's name is known across the world for The Thirty-Nine Steps. In the past one hundred years the classic thriller has never been out of print and has inspired numerous adaptations for film, television, radio and stage, beginning with the celebrated version by Alfred Hitchcock. Yet there was vastly more to 'JB'. He wrote more than a hundred books - fiction and non-fiction - and a thousand articles for newspapers and magazines. He was a scholar, antiquarian, barrister, colonial administrator, journal editor, literary critic, publisher, war correspondent, director of wartime propaganda, member of parliament and imperial proconsul - given a state funeral when he died, a deeply admired and loved Governor-General of Canada. His teenage years in Glasgow's Gorbals, where his father was the Free Church minister, contributed to his ease with shepherds and ambassadors, fur-trappers and prime ministers. His improbable marriage to a member of the aristocratic Grosvenor family means that this account of his life contains, at its heart, an enduring love story. Ursula Buchan, his granddaughter, has drawn on recently discovered family documents to write this comprehensive and illuminating biography. With perception, style, wit and a penetratingly clear eye, she brings vividly to life this remarkable man and his times.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408870822
Number of pages: 496
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
[An] outstanding biography ... Though factual, it reads like a big, rambling Victorian novel, and takes you, as novels do, into other people's lives -- John Cary * Sunday Times *
Page-turning, buccaneering stuff -- Laura Freeman * The Times *
Apart from Buchan's relentless work ethic, what shines forth from these pages is his generosity of spirit ... Ursula Buchan shows a similar generosity of spirit in this wonderfully fluent biography -- Justin Marozzi * Financial Times *
Excellent ... [Ursula Buchan] gives us a strong sense of both the man and his milieu -- Allan Massie * Spectator *
John Buchan was a writer of considerable significance but he was also a man who led a remarkable public life. This magnificent biography leads us through that life with great style and understanding -- Alexander McCall Smith
Drawing on recently discovered family documents, this fascinating biography grants us the fullest picture of Buchan and his public and private life that we have ever had. Perhaps it will inspire some overdue screen adaptations of the 'rollicking adventure stories' of this most visual of novelists * Country Life *
The great strength of this book is to make Buchan not just the writer of "shockers", but a man whose influence helped change government policy ... Ursula Buchan has done an admirable piece of work ... She rightly puts his faith at the centre of the book and this lays a line towards a reimagination of Buchan -- Stuart Kelly * i *
Buchan's thrillers exploited contemporary events (and anxieties) which made them extensions of his political life. Both are integral to this excellent book in which Ursula Buchan has balanced her grandfather's public and literary achievements with his family life and internal tensions. He emerges as a thoroughly decent man and she as a brilliant biographer * Standpoint *
[An] exemplary, diligent biography -- William Boyd * New Statesman *

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What Cathy Read Next

“Fascinating, very readable biography of a man who packed a massive amount into a relatively short life”

Ursula Buchan’s biography of her grandfather does exactly what its title suggests. It looks beyond the author of the well-known novel to the man whose career encompassed politics, the law, publishing, journalism and... More

Hardback edition
5 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 10

“John Buchan-The man”

Though most famous for his Hannay adventure stories John Buchan was a an accomplished author of histories, biographies and more. He excelled in the world of literature and equally in the world of public affairs.... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 5
Elizabeth at Waterstones - Leamington Spa

“Tales of Religion, Loyalty, Kings, and Politics,”

A wonderful biography jam-packed with all of Buchan’s achievements. The fact that this book appears to have left other readers similarly in awe at the author’s dizzying list of achievements proves to me that the... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 4

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