Friday, March 15, 2013

Nevil Shute: The Course and the Book Group

The ILEAD study group Engineering Adventures with Nevil Shute finished on Monday February 4, with the movie No Highway in the Sky.

We had a lot of fun in that study group.  I'm not just saying that because I led it.  First, the group participants decided to hold a luncheon. We had a great time. Then some of the participants determined that The Class Shall Go On...well, not the class itself, but reading and discussing Nevil Shute's novels shall go on.

We have now founded the Dartmouth Chapter of the Nevil Shute Norway Foundation, and we will have our first meeting on Saturday April 6 at the local library. We will discuss Trustee from the Toolroom.  (Like most Wikipedia articles, this one is a complete spoiler, so I recommend that you read the book instead.)

If you live in the area, please come to our meeting.  Also, Laura Schneider, the Nevil Shute Foundation U.S. Librarian, has copies of Trustee that she can loan to people.  My advice, however, is to buy a copy of Trustee.  You will want to re-read it.  Over the years, I think I have read it three times.

The future for the Nevil Shute group in this area includes the Dartmouth Chapter forming this spring, and Laura Schneider giving an ILEAD course about Shute in the fall.

I am SO glad I decided to give this course.  It has truly enriched my life.

The Lure of Nevil Shute

Too many people think of Shute as the author of On the Beach, which indeed, most of us have read...once.  That book is not like No Highway or Trustee from the Toolroom or Slide Rule.  On the Beach is  an extraordinarily dark book (everybody dies) and not really about problem-solving.  I don't know anybody who enjoys re-reading it.

Most of the rest of Shute's books celebrate a modest person (engineer, model-maker, retiree) who steps up to a hard job and shows extraordinary courage.  These heroes and heroines are not attacked by multi-national conspiracies or anything like that. They have problems to solve, and they must be both smart and brave to solve their problems.  They are models for all of us.

 During WWII, Shute was in a group that developed weapons against submarines.  After the war, the heroes and heroines in his books come from England, Australia, and yes... Germany.  He was a  man of great breadth of vision.  Not a perfect man, but a wonderful author.

Links From My Course

I have more downloads from the Nevil Shute Course at my personal website now. If I have to recommend only one of the downloads, I guess I would recommend he comparison of the airship disaster with the Challenger disaster by Beall Fowler.  Enjoy!  I also enclose a film trailer for No Highway, just for fun.

It's all...just for fun.  And for inspiration.


Travelogue for the Universe said...

Thanks for the tip! mary

Anonymous said...

Bravo! I'm glad some folks have rediscovered Nevil Shute. It's tough to find print copies of his books but they are worth it.