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kindling

When Henry Warren, director of an English bank, lands by chance in a hospital in a bleak Northern town that has been ruined by the closure of its shipyard, he discovers nothing less than a new purpose for his life. Moved by the fate of the town's inhabitants, Warren risks his fortune and reputation to save the shipyard and restore the town to its former prosperity. In seekWhen Henry Warren, director of an English bank, lands by chance in a hospital in a bleak Northern town that has been ruined by the closure of its shipyard, he discovers nothing less than a new purpose for his life. Moved by the fate of the town's inhabitants, Warren risks his fortune and reputation to save the shipyard and restore the town to its former prosperity. In seeking to change the fate of the town, he radically changes his own....

Title : Kindling
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 23148207
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 299 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Kindling Reviews

  • Algernon
    2019-02-01 17:50

    Few writers could turn a book about investment banking, unemployment and governemnt corruption into a beautiful romance about second chances and the triumph of the human spirit, of cooperation and common sense.Ruined Citycan be resumed as a cross between Frank Capra'sMr Deeds Goes to Townand Akira Kurosawa'sIkiru. Capra provides the well intended man who uses his money and power to help those struck down in the depression and is brought to trial for his efforts, Kurosawa provides the civil servant questioning his priorities in life when he comes face to face with his own mortality. Nevil Shute's protagonist, Henry Warren, is one of the biggest bankers in the City at the time England was suffering from the effects of the Great Depression. He is a workaholic, not so much obsessed as passionate and dedicated to his job. In one of the opening scenes, he refuses to grant a loan to a suffering city council, as he considers the risks to high: We take in money on deposit, and it is my business to keep that money safe. We lend it out again at small interest on good security. It is no part of our business to take risks, or to make speculations with the money deposited with us. That is not our understanding with our depositors, and that is not our policy. Dry, analytical, cold hearted, Warren is dealing with facts, not with emotions. Or so he believed at that moment of his banking career.His 14 hours workdays, his endless journeys to unblock difficult contracts in the country and on the Continent, the stress of finding out his wife is carrying out an affair, all lead Warren to physical collapse in a remote spot of Northern England. Sharples is the ghost town from the title, whose single shipbuilding industry folded down in the recession. There's no work, no food, nothing to look forward to. Almost half of the patients in the hospital die after an operation, from complications resulted from anemy and despair.Warren finds a new scope in life in his effort to bring the city of Sharples back to life. It is a daunting task, as the Depression is extended to all industrial sectors and to most of the countries in the world. For all the melodrama of the subject, Nevil Shute proves once again that he has the delicate touch and the understated strength of character to carry it to its conclusion.Warren is ready to sacrifice his wealth, his good name in the business circles and his long held moral principles for a cause that he considers noble and just : One can't just give up working, and do nothing. And so one's got to find a motive, an excuse for going on doing the job one knows. I had time to think about all this when I was here in the hospital. I was right away from it then, able to see my job from the outside. And it seemed to me, as it does now, that there's only one thing really worth working for in the City. That's to create work. [...] I believe that that's the thing most worth doing in this modern world. To create jobs that men can work at, and be proud of, and make money by their work. There's no dignity. no decency, or health today for men that haven't got a job. All other things depend on work today: without work men are utterly undone. The book was written in 1938, and it may not be as polished and well plotted as his latter books, but the fundamental themes of respect for the professional man, faith in the basic goodness of his fellows and self sacrifice will be constant companions in all of his later books. I believe the second part ofA Town Like Aliceis revisiting this subject of putting money to work for helping the less fortunate and is a good companion to the present book.There's even time for a bit of romance and a touch of humor to relieve the serious themes of the book. Warren is tentatively getting his heart open to a girl in the hospital, and a running joke has every inhabitant of Sharples explain to Warren : "There was seven Barlow destroyers at the Battle of Jutland. Did ye ever hear that?" Some of the humor didn't sit as well in my stomach, and is the reason I cut down one star. Shute is quite vicious in his portrayal of an imaginary Balkan state where every official is corrupted and greedy and uneducated. My view of corruption, coming from a native of the Balkans, would make the giver just as guilty as the asker in the matter of bribes in the race to obtain unfair advantages in contracts. In Nevile Shute's defense, he probably had some direct experience of the difficulties in starting a new business venture. His biography says something about a couple of his companies that failed.I will close my review with the observation that this book is of painful actuality to us in 2013 : We are just coming out of a severe economic depression, unemployment is at record levels in Europe and elsewhere, 'banker' has become a dirty word and the right to work, to a decent salary and a decent life has become an unattainable dream for far too many people. (view spoiler)[ It is refreshing to read about a generation that considered it right and proper for a banker to go to jail for misleading his investors and making false declarations(hide spoiler)].

  • Tom Mathews
    2019-01-31 19:49

    This is my first Nevil Shute book other than On the Beach and an intriguing book it is. It's a rare book that succeeds in telling its story without resorting to violence on one side or an overabundance of sentimentality on the other. Ruined City manages to do just that with this story of sacrifice and redemption set in during the worst years of the Great Depression.Henry Warren is a successful and well regarded London banker who heads up to the north of England for a walkabout when his marriage falls apart. Felled by acute peritonitis during his rambles, he wakes up in hospital in a Northumberland town that has been severely hit by the depression. Mistaken for an itinerant laborer, Warren sees life from a new perspective and vows to do what he can to help. But turning around the economy of a town that is already circling the drain is no easy task, as well he knows, and Warren put his financial expertise to work on a risky plan that, if it fails, could ruin not only the town of Sharples, but Warren himself. The plot threatens to get a bit thick at times when Shute takes his readers into the world of international trade and finance but it redeems itself with its well-developed characters.3.5 starsFYI: On a 5-point scale I assign stars based on my assessment of what the book needs in the way of improvements:*5 Stars – Nothing at all. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.*4 Stars – It could stand for a few tweaks here and there but it’s pretty good as it is.*3 Stars – A solid C grade. Some serious rewriting would be needed in order for this book to be considered great or memorable.*2 Stars – This book needs a lot of work. A good start would be to change the plot, the character development, the writing style and the ending. *1 Star - The only thing that would improve this book is a good bonfire.

  • Lucy
    2019-02-08 18:38

    Warren frowned. 'Surely the public assistance rates aren't so bad as that? They're revised from time to time, aren't they? You don't just have to starve?'She shook her head. 'No, you don't have to starve. The rates are all right--in theory, Mr. Warren. You can keep alive and fit on P.A.C. relief--if you happen to have been born an archangel.''What do you mean?'She stopped and faced him. 'It's like this. There's really nothing wrong with the rates of relief. If you are careful, and wise, and prudent, you can live on that amount of money fairly well. And you've got to be intelligent, and well educated, too, and rather selfish. If you were like that you'd get along all right--but you wouldn't have a penny to spare.'She paused. 'But if you were human--well, you'd be for it. If you got bored stiff with doing nothing so that you went and blued fourpence on going to the pictures--you just wouldn't have enough to eat that week. Or if you couldn't cook very well, and spoiled the food a bit, you'd go hungry. You'd go hungry if your wife had a birthday and you wanted to give her a little present costing a bob--you'd only get eighty percent of your food that week. And of course, if your wife gets ill and you want to buy her little fancy bits of things...' (72-3).'I had time to think about all this when I was here in hospital. I was right away from it then, able to see my job from the outside. And it seemed to me then, as it does now, that there's only one thing really worth working for in the City. That's to create work.'I don't know if you've ever thought about machines,' he said. 'Every machine that's put into a factory displaces labour. That's a very old story, of course. The man who's put to work the machine isn't any better off than he was before; the three men that are thrown out of a job are very much worse off....The cure is for somebody to buckle to and make a job for the three men.'I believe that that's the thing most worth doing in this modern world,' he said quietly. 'To create jobs that men can work at, and be proud of, and make money by their work. There's no dignity, no decency, or health today for men that haven't got a job. All other things depend on work today: without work men are utterly undone' (167).

  • Natalie
    2019-02-13 17:32

    Wow, a book for our time too! Nevil Shute's story is about whether companies should put workers first or investors first. This is a timeless story about an effort to put the people of a city back to work in manufacturing when the economy of the place has all but dried up and social assistance and debt are the only things keeping the place and its people alive at all. The protagonist,a banker and financier, realizes that "There's only only one thing really worth working for in the City. That's to create work. . . . the thing most worth doing in this modern world [is to] create jobs that men can work at, and be proud of, and make money by their work. There's no dignity, no decency, or health today for men that haven't got a job. All other things depend on work today; without work men are utterly undone". (view spoiler)[Not a straightforward feel-good, redemption story of the typical sort. The protagonist admits that though his intentions are good his methods (if they are to succeed) can not be because of the tension between serving investors and creating work where industry has failed once before . . . he says "Nobody's going to get that Yard working again and keep his hands clean" and that's what the story's about -who takes the risk, and why in a capitalist system sometimes somebody has to take a fall when you turn a place and the lives of its people around.(hide spoiler)].

  • Peter
    2019-02-10 22:33

    When is it right to do wrong? Can a crime be justified if the results help others and not oneself? It's the Robin Hood question and Shute sets his own morality play in the depression of the 1930s to pose the question....What is the greater good, to play by the rules or to bend them to help those who can't help themselves? Financier Henry Warren unexpectedly confronts life in the industrial desert of Northern England and comes up with his own maverick solution to the woes of a jobless ship-building town. The voice of this novel might jar a little in the PC Britain of the 21st century, but the economic setting and the moral dilemma are surprisingly current.

  • Gerald
    2019-02-01 22:32

    Nevil Shute is one of my favorite authors. Ruined City began a little slow but picked up quickly. A fairly young and very successful, workaholic financier Henry Warren realizes that his failing marriage is about to come to an end. The latter issue disturbs him very little, but he grows very concerned about his poor physical condition which is the result of his having driven himself extremely hard to reach the level of success that he has. He knows that he gets very little exercise and vows to make radical changes in his lifestyle. He has his chauffeur drive him from his London home about 300 miles north and drop him off for an undetermined period of time near the vicinity of Newcastle near the northeast coast, not far from the border with Scotland. It is from there that he begins his new routine of walking 20 miles per day. Following a week or so of this, when he is beginning to feel like a changed man, he experiences a severe intestinal attack. He is taken to a local hospital in the small town of Sharples in a delirious condition. He must have an immediate operation to relieve the obstruction. Unshaven for the week he has been walking, with little money on him, and having lost his identification, he is taken for an unemployed, homeless man. When he realizes this following his successful operation, he decides not to disabuse them right away of this extremely incorrect assumption and instead welcomes the anonymity that such circumstances provide him. During his six weeks of post-operative recovery, he learns much about the town and people of his once-prosperous town. The local shipyard has been closed for more than five years along with the rolling mills and mine. After these primary employers closed their doors, the majority of the small businesses that existed in prosperous times had no choice but to close also with the vast majority of the local workforce being unemployed. He learns a great deal by just observing the “gaunt and listless” fellow patients, hearing them talk as if there is nothing worth living for, and noting that there seems to be a rather high mortality rate. He talks with the hospital almoner, i.e., social worker, Miss McMahon and learns that so much of this is due simply to lack of proper nutrition because they have so very little money. She tells him of what Sharples was like prior to the widespread unemployment. When he asked her why she doesn’t leave, she said because it is her home and because she firmly believes that prosperity will return in some manner.As he reaching this end of his recovery period, he asks Miss McMahon if she can arrange for him look at the closed shipyard, rolling mills, and mine. She does arrange this, although she is quite puzzled as to why he, as an unemployed clerk (so she thinks), wants to do such a thing. He is finally discharged so he can continue his supposed search for employment. He promises Miss McMahon in writing to begin paying off his hospital bill as soon as he is employed again. On his way back to London he realizes that he has found his new reason to continuing working instead of retiring. He vows that he will do everything in his power to become the catalyst that will result in prosperity returning to the economically dead city of Sharples. He immediately begins this “heroic gamble” at very substantial risk to his extensive fortune and impeccable reputation.Nevil Shute is a wonderful storyteller and this tale is no exception. While not among my top favorites of his novels, Ruined City is quite good, and I do give it a very favorable recommendation.[Book 62 of revised 2012 target 70 (Jan-10; Feb-11; Mar-9; Apr-8; May-7; Jun-8; Jul-7; Aug-2)]

  • Peter
    2019-02-08 16:44

    Nevil Shute wrote this on the back of his own experiences in floating and running a company. He succeeds (as usual) in involving the reader in a story that in lesser hands would have been dry and dull. Builds to quite an emotional ending.Shute was visionary in several of the books he wrote, accurately foretelling, or bleakly warning, of events in the near future. It is ironic that the ship building industry in Britain at the time of this novel was about to collapse due to the superiority of welding over riveting.

  • Leftbanker
    2019-01-30 18:26

    Like the only other novel I have read by Nevil Shute, Trustee from the Toolroom, , Ruined City, is nothing less than a modern fairy tale, and a really good one. In this happy tale Shute seems to conger the ghosts of Robin Hood and John Maynard Keynes and heavily emphasizes the importance of deficit spending in times of crisis, a lesson American Republicans forgot altogether when the President Obama was attempting to pull the U.S. economy out of the toilet their party had throw us into.The novel celebrates the triumph of decency, something which would be corny in the hands of a less skillful storyteller. After just two of his books I have become a follower of his brand of optimism.

  • Karen
    2019-02-14 21:36

    After reading On the Beach, I thought I would try to read more of Nevil Shute, and I was very glad I picked up Ruined City (which has been re-titled Kindling) in a second hand shop. Both of these books have universal themes and are quite relevant. Main character Henry Warren, a wealthy banker sees closeup what the Depression has done to a Northern England coastal town. A once thriving shipbuilding town is now filled with unemployed men, half-starving children, and a shipyard that is slowly disintegrating. Warren sees the potential of what this town could be again, and decides to do something about it.

  • Ayesha
    2019-02-03 21:25

    Similar to a Town Like Alice, without the romantic intrigue. This novel also explores the effects of a poor economy on the psychology of its people. In this case it was a once booming town hit by the depression, rather than, as was the case in a Town Like Alice, a dust bowl. Both explore methodical inspiration and what one person, with means, can do for an entire town. Well worth the read, short and insightful.

  • Vikas Datta
    2019-01-24 15:26

    A powerful tale of redemption, and how a determined man can make a difference, regardless of the costs - Mr Shute so effortlessly depicts the world of high finance (and all the hijinks it entails) that you can be forgiven for thinking he was born to it..

  • James
    2019-02-17 15:42

    a great sailing journey

  • Sivasubramanian Sivasuriyanarayanan
    2019-02-03 16:45

    another lovable book by Nevil Shute. Readd it for the first time many years back. Read it for the second time when my daughter did her M Phil.

  • Andrée
    2019-01-25 17:32

    I used to adore Nevil Shute so was thrilled to pick up a dozen hardbacks in good nick at a local charity shop. I'd completely forgotten that I'd read this previously, which says as much about me as about the story. However, it was all a bit sad, dated and humourless which left me feeling rather disappointed even though the 'hero' was a good man who did wrong to achieve right

  • CarlPalmateer
    2019-02-02 15:46

    A quick little book, set in and written during the depression, its a rather standard morality play. Interesting is its reflexive rejection of socialism during the low point of capitalism. It flows well and the details are interesting but there are no real surprises or suspense in the book.

  • Anne
    2019-01-30 21:25

    Great story. Great characters.

  • Reflector
    2019-01-24 16:51

    Very inspiring book. Really wasn't sure what to expect when a friend lent this to me. Really a good story about someone doing good.

  • Derek Collett
    2019-02-01 17:48

    Henry Warren is a City banker in his late thirties who is living a high-pressure lifestyle: early starts, late nights, endless meetings, frequent overseas business trips, too much drink, too much bad food, not enough exercise. After beginning divorce proceedings against his two-timing wife, Warren experiences something of an epiphany: he decides to change his way of life, beginning with a week-long walking tour of northern Britain. He gets his chauffeur to drive him into the hills near Carlisle and then sets off on foot. But after a few days of walking he collapses with agonizing stomach pains and has to be taken to a hospital in Northumberland for an operation.As he recovers from his surgery, Warren learns from ‘the Almoner’, Miss MacMahon, that the mortality rate in the hospital is extremely high, mainly owing to the poor nutritional status of the population of Sharples. The town has suffered badly during the Depression: the shipbuilding yard has closed down and unemployment is rife. Warren determines to use his professional expertise to bring prosperity back to Sharples in order to repay the town for having taken care of him in his hour of greatest need. He begins by purchasing the disused, rusting shipyard for a song and sets about trying to find some ships for it to build.After a very long period spent brokering a deal in the Balkan state of ‘Laevatia’, Warren persuades the Laevatian government to place an order for ships to be built in his new yard. But before Warren can bask in glory, he is imprisoned for 3 years having “pleaded guilty to the charge of issuing a prospectus statement of the Hawside Ship and Engineering Company, well knowing that statement to be false in its material particulars, with the intention of defrauding the public”. In essence, Warren had said that his company would make a profit for its shareholders in its early years, even though he knew it was far more likely to make a loss. The novel ends with Warren, now a free man again, returning to Sharples, being greeted as a hero and with the strong likelihood that Miss MacMahon will consent to marry him.I read the first 40 pages or so of this novel in one sitting during a train journey and was utterly captivated. As is often the case with Shute, there are echoes in this work of that of his contemporary Nigel Balchin. In Ruined City, the theme of a stressed city-dweller attempting to change his life through the medium of fresh air and exercise evokes Balchin’s Simple Life, written 3 years before Ruined City. Once Warren has recovered from his operation, the novel shears off into very different territory. It becomes a story about the business world, specifically high finance, and the theme of the early pages is subsumed beneath this new plot thread. The account of the formation of the shipping company and the restoration of the shipyard’s fortunes is interesting enough but didn’t stimulate me as much as the opening chapters. Also, the romantic theme is pretty feeble in all honesty. Ruined City is consistently and compulsively readable though and constitutes one of the best Shute novels I have encountered thus far.

  • Larry Piper
    2019-02-12 18:53

    Another gem by Nevil Shute. This time, we're dealing with an investment banker, Henry Warren. He's rather a workaholic, and his lively, entitled spouse is carrying on an affair with a "black man", which in this instance is an Arabian prince, or perhaps a Pakastani one. At any rate, not a "black man" by modern reckoning, by which we mean someone whose origins trace to sub-Sahara Africa (Yup, the Brits were pretty racist 75 or so years ago). When, on a business trip to Paris, he sees his spouse dining with the "black man", he resolves to divorce her, unless she agrees to give up her "gay" life and retire to boredom in the country. She, of course, is unwilling to do that. Shortly thereafter, Warren, feeling run down and depressed, heads north for a bit of walking. He has an attack of something in his gut (twisted intestine I believe) and ends up in the hospital of a small city. He poses as another of their charity cases, an out-of-work itinerant clerk. The time is 1934, and everyone is out of work. This particular town was once a thriving center of ship building. "Did you know that seven destroyers from the shipyard fought in the Battle of Jutland?" is a common refrain. But the shipyard, local rolling mill, and mine have all shut down some five years previously. The town and all its inhabitants are run down, both physically and emotionally. Mortality is exceptionally high at the hospital, and it is despair, rather than poor medical attention that is killing the patients off. Warren befriends the "Almoner" at the hospital, which I think is likely the social worker who deals with the charity patients. Through her, he learns about the town and its troubles and resolves to do something about it, but quietly if possible. Along the way, we are introduced to some international corruption and intrigue, things that always seems to be a part of high finance. We also have a budding romance between the "Almoner" and Warren, but done in the Shute style of two people developing a strong friendship. None of this jumping ino bed stuff like modern literature. Personally, I think the Shute style is more appropriate for building lasting relationships. Anyway, it's a good book. Perhaps a bit calm for those whose taste lies more with warriors, plagues and gore. But it is an apt commentary on the lives of real people in 1934, but the book's concerns also still mostly true today.

  • Gerald
    2019-02-17 20:31

    I have read this novel under it earlier published title RUINED CITY. This seems to me to be a MUCH MORE apt title than KINDLING.Henry Warren is a highly successful and well respected London banker and financier. He becomes extremely ill and, totally by chance, ends up in a hospital in Sharples, England, where he has an operation and faces several weeks recuperative time. Because of his unkempt appearance and the fact that his wallet had been stolen, he is assumed to be among the many out-of-work men of the area. While he is, in fact, quite wealthy, he initially maintains the fiction that he is unemployed, so that he can quietly observe the status of this very economically depressed town and get an insight into how the local citizens are faring following the closing of the local shipyard, rolling mills, and mine five years previous.Henry is a workaholic whose marriage is failing. He has all the economic success he needs and with no interest in being at home, since his wife is always off somewhere else, he is searching for other interests to occupy his endless energies and to which he can apply his financial talents. He feels that he may have found it and soon sets as his goal revitalizing the town of Sharples and putting it back on its economic feet by re-opening the shipyard and perhaps the other closed up industries in order to get the local people back to work. Re-opening the shipyard is a monumental but not insurmountable task which involves, first of all, obtaining an initial order for the construction of several ships and the associated financing involved. Henry's solution to this is to get this order as an integral part of some other business with which he is involved from the fictional Balkan county of Laetevia. The very involved negotiations begin among diverse parties all based on Henry's very strong desire to see the Sharples economic well being is restored to where it once was.This book is another offering from one of my very favorite authors - Nevil Shute. I very much enjoyed my re-reading of this most interesting book and highly recommend it.

  • Al
    2019-01-25 15:26

    Mr. Shute's standard M.O. in his novels was to take an ordinary, competent, decent man of modest means, and follow him through a series of personal trials, highlighting his integrity and culminating in a successful and heartwarming conclusion. The particular appeal of his books is the simplicity and readability of the prose.In Kindling, Mr. Shute went a different direction. His protagonist, Henry Warren, is a driven, conservative, very successful banker in mid-1930s depression-era London. As the story opens, he is working long hours to protect his business, and neglecting his shallow, unfaithful wife and his own ill health. Through a series of events, Warren winds up devoted to rescuing a small town in the North of England whose lifeblood shipyard has failed, leaving the town and its populace financially devastated. To effect this salvation, Warren must violate his long and deeply held business standards and ethics, while maintaining his self-respect and confidence.Shute's descriptions of various banking negotiations and transactions are competent and still valid today, and his ability to present Warren as a credible, yet flawed and still appealing, character is compelling. I particularly liked this, from Warren: "I believe that that's the thing most worth doing in this modern world... To create jobs that men can work at, and be proud of, and make money by their work. There's no dignity, no decency or health to-day for men that haven't got a job. All other things depend on work to-day: without work men are utterly undone." Shute constantly surprises and pleases; I'll be sorry when I have no more of his books to read.

  • Lisa Bywell
    2019-01-26 21:29

    You have to be a very serious Nevil Shute fan to like this one (guilty). So serious in fact that you were delighted to purchase this copy, only to discover an original Pan copy in the depths your bookshelves that was brought back from Australia.

  • Curtiss
    2019-01-27 18:46

    In the US, this book was released under the title, "Kindling" and describes how British banker Henry Warren resuscitated the small ship-building community of Sharples, after learning about the town's distressed condition when the town's fincancialy-strapped hospital took him in as a vagrant following his own emotional and physical collapse in the aftermath of a bitter divorce.Warren looked into the background and facilities of the town's shipyard, named Barlows, and learned that despite its previous reocord of building fine ships, including 3 destroyers which served at the Battle of Jutland (an oft recurring comment), it had sunk into decay and had beeen sucked dry by the previous owners. He concluded there was no possible way to honestly procure funding or contracts to enable Barlows to put the men of Sharples back to work. So, Warren went ahead and did it dishonestly using falsified financial statments, international bribery, and dummy holdings; and got sent to prison for his efforts.Not that the people of Sharples condemned Warren for what he'd done to get them work, no way!

  • Linda
    2019-02-12 18:47

    Not one of Shute’s more memorable efforts, I believe I had read this at one time because I think I read all of his books, but as I re-read it, it was without an inkling of recognition. Henry Warren, a London banker and workaholic, is being divorced by his wife and feels the need to get away; he goes on a hiking trip in the north of England, with no one knowing where he will be. Taken ill by the side of the road and robbed of his identification and checkbook before he is taken to a hospital for surgery, he lets the hospital personnel believe he is homeless and destitute. Set in the midst of the depression, the small town of Sharples where the hospital is located has had its shipyard closed and the people in the town have become hopeless in their attitudes. Warren decides to finance the re-opening of the shipyard as a return for the care and attention he received in the hospital. Some of his methods involve shady business deals, which catch up with him in the end. However, the people of Sharples maintain their gratitude.

  • Scilla
    2019-02-13 15:47

    A very wealthy, investment banker in London is working too much and his wife is sleeping with someone else. After a pain in the office, he decides to walk 20 miles a day and has his chauffeur drop him in the country. He gets the terrible pain again while walking. He makes it to an inn and goes walking again the next day. He fell in pain again, and was picked up by a lorry and taken to the hospital in Sharples. He has an operation, and let them continue to believe he was out of work and indigent. He found the others with him were out of work and in bad condition from not eating enough. He gradually makes friends with the Assistant, and soon began walking around the town. The ship yard, the mine, and most of the stores were closed. When he finally leaves to go back to London, he decides that he must do something for the hospital and the town. He buys the ship yard, but then has to figure out how to get someone to order ships built. He uses his underwriting talents to make a somewhat shady deal. The rest you'll have to read for yourself!

  • Steve
    2019-02-03 21:45

    I would have rated the book higher, but the random racism was kinda off putting. It contributed nothing the the plot, and existed only to be racist. Luckily, it's mostly gone by the first half, but it peeks out every once in a while. The book has interesting ideas of work, and promotes a balance. A person needs work in order to be happy, but too much work can kill. However, it was only by working himself almost to death, that Warren was able to accomplish so much. The antagonist, who steals a letter, is a plot devise, and a largely unneeded one. A random death near the beginning of the book was only used to shock and contributed nothing to the plot or its message. Reminds me of Ikiru by Kurosawa, however, I thought that film was a bit better than the book. Fairly normal book, nothing too outstanding. The idea of revitalizing a town is good, however, it can be done better than this.

  • Jim Puskas
    2019-02-02 22:27

    Published in USA under the title "Kindling"One of Nevil Shutes most compelling stories, about a man who gives up everything, his wealth, status, even his reputation in pursuit of a dream to rehabilitate an economically devastated industrial town.Readers who are unfamiliar with the business world may find it hard to believe the decisions that Warren takes and the length he's willing to go to achieve his ends. But the reality is that men of that type do in fact take such personal risks in their determination to achieve their objectives. It's not just some sort of misplaced nobility or self-sacrifice or compelling need to "give back"; doing such things is in their genes and that's why such men sometimes achieve great thigs and sometimes they self-destruct.

  • Andrew McClarnon
    2019-01-27 21:48

    Did NS dash this sort of book off to get rid of some of his frustrations with business? It's very tempting to see some parallels between trying to set up and sell ships, with his experience with Airspeed. There may also be a touch of bitterness with some of the city procedures and personalities (perhaps the share dealing Dean in Shoreham). I enjoyed the straightforward way in which the story is told, with that terse mid century style, all clipped and stiff upper lipped. Best of all were the scenes in Leavetia, where we have some colourful people and colourful business practices to go with them. An unusual book, probably more fun these days for its old fashioned outlook.

  • Maura
    2019-02-16 17:42

    Neville Shute is a great story-teller, but this one spends much of the time dealing with the banking and business world as Henry Warren does some fancy financing to bring work back to an economically depressed city in the north of England. If you're into that sort of thing, it's probably an interesting book; I found myself skimming through it all. Not one of his better ones.

  • Neville
    2019-01-24 19:52

    A pleasant read. No blood and guts or shooting. Based in a dead ship building town in the early 30's and how this one man had the desire to get it working again.A book that is well worth a read and by a great author.