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God is an Englishman [Kindle Edition]

R. F. Delderfield
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Book Description

From master author R. F. Delderfield, the first in the beloved classic God Is an Englishman series.


The first novel in the epic God Is an Englishman series, this book is a stirring saga of England in the 19th century, as the Industrial Revolution takes hold, forever changing the landscape of England and her people.


Adam Swann, scion of an army family, returns home in 1858 after service with Her Majesty's army in the Crimea and India, determined to build his fortune in the dog-eat-dog world of Victorian commerce. Swann is soon captivated by Henrietta, the high-spirited daughter of a local mill owner. As Swann works to build his name, he and Henrietta share adventures, reversal, and fortune.


A beloved novel by a beloved author, God Is an Englishman is a treasure both for Delderfield fans and the growing legion of fans of historical fiction.


"R. F. Delderfield is a born storyteller."

Sunday Mirror


"A book to get lost in... An epic historical novel artfully contructed."

New York Times Book Review


"A novel in the grand tradition of Thackery and Dickens."

Milwaukee Journal


"A delightful bounty of characters fairly jumps from the pages of God Is an Englishman."

Columbus Dispatch



Editorial Reviews

Review

R.F. Delderfield is a born storyteller Sunday Mirror His narratives belong in a tradition that goes back to John Galsworthy Life Magazine

About the Author

R.F. Delderfield was born in South London in 1912. On leaving school he joined the Exmouth Chronicle newspaper as a junior reporter, where he went on to become Editor. From there he began to write stage plays and then became a highly successful novelist, renowned for brilliantly portraying slices of English life. With the publication of his first saga, A HORSEMAN RIDING BY, he became one of Britain's most popular authors. Many of his bestselling novels were later adapted for television. He died in 1972.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1994 KB
  • Print Length: 659 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1402218214
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (June 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003H29CLG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,476 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
88 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best family sagas April 20, 2008
Format:Paperback
Adam Swann has followed his family's tradition of military service for long enough to turn 30. He's seen a lot during those years, including a horrific massacre of civilians. When chance places a fortune in rubies in his hands, he's more than ready to make drastic changes. Back to England he goes, the England of a world just prior to the American Civil War, looking for a better way to spend his life. He finds it in two places. First, in a revolutionary business idea sparked by an encounter with a railway official; and second, in a runaway young woman. He marries the woman, factory heiress Henrietta Rawlinson (who's swiftly disinherited by her infuriated father), and he turns the idea into a hauling firm that deliberately fits itself into all the gaps the railway system cannot fill.

That's the bare outline. What makes this novel remarkable, though, isn't its plot. It's the characters, and the way author Delderfield lets them grow naturally out of the time and place in which he sets them. Adam Swann is in many ways a man ahead of that time, disgusted by what he's seen in war and determined to make his way in the world without committing outrages against basic human decency. In fact, he's determined to make a difference for the better while succeeding as a businessman. Henrietta, blessed with her enterpreneur father's sharp mind and quick wits for commerce, grows from a willful, uneducated and thoroughly spoiled girl into a worthy and even challenging partner for Adam in the course of the book's 800-some pages. Nothing seems forced, and none of the details of Victorian England ring false, in all of those pages. Some of the best reading comes from secondary characters who weave in and out of the main story, because each is well drawn and interesting - no matter how brief the appearance.

A tour-de-force, all in all. One of the best "family sagas" around, still, nearly 40 years after its publication.
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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A perfect novel for "saga junkies" October 8, 2009
Format:Paperback
God Is an Englishman is the first book in this wonderful saga about the Swann family. Adam Swann, a 31-year-old cavalryman in the service of Queen Victoria's army, decides to break off with his family's military tradition and gives up his soldierly life in lieu of starting anew in England as a businessman. The road ahead of him will not be easy, as old sentiments still prevail where people making a living in a new, industrial England are looked down on and someone like Adam, giving up his army career is thought foolish. Adam Swann persists in his desire to be his own boss and not spent his life serving somebody else, even if it's the Crown of England. In his struggles to become a respectable and successful owner of a horse-carriage business, he has a few supporters, including his young wife, Henrietta and, surprisingly, his own father. The readers follow Adam and his personal and business lives for nine years. These are very tumultuous years for England as well. It is the 19th century, the country changes from an agricultural one into an industrial empire, with railroads ruling the transportation, mills, mines and factories replacing the farms and Adam Swann takes on a daring project of using horses as his road to success.

I thoroughly enjoyed God Is an Englishman, so much so that even before I finished it, I went and got part two (Theirs Was the Kingdom). It's not an easy read by any means, but very captivating and really a requirement for anyone who wants to read more about one of the most important periods in England's history. Some might say that it's reminiscent of Dickens's books but I should say that probably only in the time set. Through Delderfield's book I got a hopeful outlook, not a grim one.
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43 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Great Read! September 29, 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I can think of few better authors to take along on a long plane ride than Delderfield. God Is an Englishman is the first of a trilogy that runs a little out of gas by the end of the third book, but not in the first. To Serve Them All My Days got me hooked on Delderfield, and this series continued it. I can also recommend his book Diana. Alot of his works are out of print, although you can find them at liabraries, or Amazon's auction site -- or bookfinder.com
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars PAGETURNER GREAT WINTR NITE BOOK ALL ALONE December 25, 1998
Format:Paperback
MY WIFE KEPT TELLING ME WHAT A GOOD "READ" THIS BOOK IS.I FINALLY FOUND ALL 3 SWANN SAGA BOOKS AT A USED SALE & I HAVENT LOOKED BACK.THIS AUTHOR HAS THE KNACK TO RELATE TO THE READER EVERY BIT OF WHAT ADAM 'N HETTY WERE EXPERIENCING IN VICTORIAN ENGLAND.I HAVE BEEN IN WHEELED TRANSPORTATION 40 YEARS AND I FELT LIKE I WAS WALKING STEP FOR STEP WITH ADAM SWANN FROM THE TIME HE FOUND THE RUBY NECKLACE TO THE 1ST MAXIE 10 TRK ORDER.I LAUGHED N CRIED THRU OUT EACH VOLUME.I AM NOW IN A SEARCH MODE FOR ANY N ALL OF DELDERFIELD BOOKS I HAVENT READ.I'D LIKE TO SEE A FAN CLUB....
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very engrossing read! March 9, 2002
Format:Paperback
This book is a must read for any Anglophile. The story traces the development of a haulage firm that serves all of Enland and Wales and part of Scotland. While that is the major focus, the family life of the founder of "Swan on Wheels" is very much a part of it. In fact, all the characters involved are well presented with divergent and believable personalities.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to Delderfield's books March 7, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I picked up a paperback copy of 'God is an Englishman' many years ago and was hooked. I read all this series and then found 'The Avenue' series. 'To Serve Them All My Days' was a Masterpiece Theatre special on PBS and is a superb story of a boys' boarding school in England. A little known masterpiece of Delderfield's is 'Mr. Parson' a heart warming story of a meek school teacher and his adventures when he leaves his bossy wife and unfulfilling job. Get Delderfield's books wherever you can find them and settle in for weeks of very satisfactory reading.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fall Into It Book
I got this book from the library because it was the biggest book there. After 100 pages I was there. I've read all 3 and highly recommend them.
Published 22 days ago by Mimi
4.0 out of 5 stars The other part of the English 19th century
This saga presents a view of England in the industrial nineteenth century far different than the kind you get in Jane Austen. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Gretchen
1.0 out of 5 stars This is so dumb I thought a teenage girl wrote it.
This book was popular in my youth and I decided to try it. It turns out it's drivel and reeks of youthful fantasies. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Moominmama58
5.0 out of 5 stars Escape into a past world
An old-fashioned novel: a saga about well-limned people and a time we do not know a lot about. You will feel as though you have stepped into their world. Read more
Published 2 months ago by MissFay
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
I have read this book several times over the years and have enjoyed it each time. I find it interesting to experience life as people in nineteenth century England.
Published 2 months ago by Norma F Benton
5.0 out of 5 stars Very satisfied
The book was replacement for the original copy which disintegrated. The other items were gifts and they were much appreciated.
Published 3 months ago by Patricia Arnott
5.0 out of 5 stars One of my all time favorite sets.
This was the first ihn the series. Follows the lifes of the Swan family and how they started a transpportation system to deliver goods in England. Fabulous historical reading.
Published 4 months ago by Snowflake
5.0 out of 5 stars Worthy of a comparison to Dickens
This is the first of a trilogy spanning many years of 19th (and early 20th) century Britain. Gripping story, lots of plot threads. Well written and readable. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Dean S. Maclaughlin
5.0 out of 5 stars The lost has been found - viva Delderfield
I am so delighted to see this book on your list. I read it decades ago but it never left me. My granddaughter read it for her 10th grade English class and she and her classmates... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Jean F. Mooney
5.0 out of 5 stars Delderfield is an excellent read. Most enjoyable!
Delderfield provides a snap shot and taste of the English culture during the industrial revolution! If you enjoy this as much as I did, you might want to also try Delderfields'... Read more
Published 6 months ago by John Ward
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