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Publisher's Summary

Nevil Shute was a power and a pioneer in the world of flying long before he began to write the stories that made him a best-selling novelist. This autobiography charts Shute's path from childhood to his career as a gifted aeronautical engineer, working at the forefront of the technological experimentation of the 1920s and ‘30s. The inspiration for many of the themes and concerns of Shute's novels can be identified in this enjoyable and enlightening memoir.

©2012 Nevil Shute (P)2012 Audible Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Any book by Nevil Shute is a delight." ( Punch)

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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I love Shute's novels but found this to be dull.

I am a huge fan of Shute's novels and have enjoyed over a dozen. I was eager to listen to this given the good reviews but was disappointed. This is a fairly straightforward recounting of Shute's business career, focusing on his work launching an aeroship in the UK in the 1920's and then his experience helping launch and run an airplane manufacturer in the 1930's and beyond. There is little detail on his personal life. There are some enjoyable tidbits but they weren't nearly enough to carry the book.

2 people found this helpful

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Nothing like his books

I have really enjoyed Nevil Shute's novels over the years, so I thought his biography would be an interesting read as well as informing of his life. Boy was I wrong. This is more like a dissection of projects he was involved in. There were several chapters about his involvement in the development of an airship for the British government. And much complaining and speculating about how and why things went drastically wrong.

Then he started a period when he tried to start an airplane manufacturing company. I couldn't take anymore and quit. I am returning the book after slogging through a little more than half the book. Especially after I realized that I was not even listening, but treating it as background noise.

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  • Lisa kelly
  • 03-13-21

I’ve listened to this book 3 times already and am about to embark on a fourth .

This book is full of the most surprising information from his teenage witnessing of the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 to the production of the R100 Airship. His ability to vividly bring to life the history and Engineering projects of his time is masterful and keeps the reader interested at all times..

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  • David
  • 04-16-15

Fascinating insight...

... Into early years of aircraft development. I was hoping to find out more about the man Nevil Shute Norway and though much of this book is about the business of aircraft manufacture, perhaps I do now know some of the personality of the man that I could not glean from his novels. I was surprised to learn that his dedication to his work as an engineer made his writing a secondary pursuit and that he was at the centre of the aircraft industry during what were arguably its most interesting years.

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  • JamesDevon
  • 03-01-15

Fascinating insight

I've enjoyed Neville Shute for years so it was good to hear of the man's life. Gives a helpful context to enjoy his books even more

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mark H
  • 12-27-21

Excellent biography as described in the title

This is an excellent biography of a talented and interesting individual. It covers his early years that includes: his schooling, being a stretcher bearer in the Easter Sunday uprising in Ireland and his time in the army and university. It gives a detailed account of his role in creating and testing the R101 airship and his subsequent creation of the aircraft manufacturer Airspeed Ltd. He came over as an intelligent, hardworking, thoughtful, caring and moral individual. As might be expected, it was very well written and easy to listen to. It was also very well nead by the narrator However, be aware that it barely mentioned his life as a best selling author.

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  • Julian
  • 11-20-21

Fascinating autobiography of the novelist

This book was very well read. The accent seemed just right for 1920s and 30s. Very clearly enunciated.

The story was interesting of Shute's development of Air Speed Ltd in early aeronautical engineering as well as the development of airships.

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  • Seamus Flynn
  • 08-14-20

starting a business

enjoyed the narrator. suited this story of a life journey in a new technology, could even be of today.

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  • Seayeaitch
  • 02-02-20

An interesting view of Aviation History.

An inside view of history from a very accomplished novelist, that helps one to understand not just the time frame but a personal perspective of the start of the Aviation industry, well read with the narration by James Faulkner.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-22-19

Nevil Shute's classic autobiography

An interesting recollection of an engineer working in the early days of the aero industry and the development of the R 100 airship.

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  • Andy
  • 10-26-16

The engineers engineers

If you have more than a passing interest in engineering and aviation, this is a must.
Excellently written and excellent narrated.

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  • Colin
  • 03-14-15

Interesting account of early UK aviation

Interesting first hand account of the early days of UK aviation, from the construction of the R100 airship and development of aircraft manufacture to the outbreak of the Second World War.